INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL SYSTEMS AND STUDY (DIRECT ENTRY)

SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2M125716
Module Leader Nicholas McKerrell
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
Trimester
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

An Introduction to the Scottish Legal Environment - Legal Systems: UK Legal Institutions; EU Institutions; Council of Europe/European Convention of Human Rights Scottish Courts & Procedure; Legal Personnel, Legal Aid Tribunals; ADR including arbitration; Introduction to Legal Study and how to think about Law -Sourcing Legal Materials: Statutes & Statutory Instruments, Precedent; Law Reports; Journals; Paper and Online databases; Legal Skills - identifying legal issues; research skills - finding relevant law; legal reading; legal writing; citation and referencing and how they relate to ethics and plagiarism Advocacy and speech literacy legal argument - mooting The role of lawyers in society is changing - lawyers are increasingly expected to be pro-active in the prediction and prevention of unethical as well as unlawful behaviour across all areas of society. The delivery of the module will embed PRME principles including: developing graduates who care about social responsibility; developing learning and teaching which enables graduates to become responsible leaders and practitioners; and developing graduates who will advise businesses and other stakeholders to explore mutually beneficial responses to social and legal challenges.

Syllabus

The legal systems part of the syllabus will cover Civil and Criminal Courts; the Court of Session; The High Court; the Supreme Court; The Sheriff Courts: Tribunals; The legal profession and personnel in Scotland; English Courts and personnel; European Court of Justice and Human Rights; International Fora. Alternative Dispute Resolution including arbitration. The Parliamentary process in Scotland and Westminster for creating legislation. The legal study part of the syllabus will cover finding, using and analysing Scottish legal authorities in hard copy and in electronic versions (Westlaw &Lexis); text books and institutional writings, case law, statute, statutory instruments, legal dictionaries and encyclopaedias. Specialist law reports, legal journals, English sources; official publications, online gateways for example Europa. The legal skills part of the syllabus will cover interpreting case law - the ratio decidendi, obiter dicta, precedent, scan reading headnotes and summaries. It will also explore the rules of statutory interpretation; reading statutes; reading parliamentary debates; reading official reports. Further using legal styles; academic referencing and citation; speech literacy; advocacy and mooting; courtroom ethics; research ethics and plagiarism.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Distinguish civilian, common law, religious, hybrid and other major legal systems;2. Explain the respective functions of the legal institutions within Scotland, the UK, Europe and relevant international institutions;3. Distinguish civil and criminal law, courts and alternatives to court, and basic procedures;4. Identify the respective roles of legal personnel and elements of how they operate;5. Accurately identify, source and apply relevant legal principles and rules applying to practical problems;6. Effectively interpret statutory provisions, judicial and academic opinions;7. Develop and deliver appropriate legal argument orally and in writing;8. Identify and retrieve up to date legal information using paper and electronic repositories; use primary and secondary legal sources which are relevant to the topic under study and current at the point of assessment; present knowledge and information using sources to support arguments and conclusions; provide recognised methods of citation and reference.9. Identify accurately and formulate clearly the legal issues to be researched; undertake independent research (both paper-based and electronic) in areas of law which have not been previously studied, using paper and electronic repositories to research new topics without reference to a reading list.10. PRME Learning Outcome: demonstrate an ability to explore ethical and socially responsible responses to issues arising within the context of legal systems and study.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

There will be allotted one hour lectures per week and one two hour workshop every two weeks. Delivery will be partly by traditional lectures and also use of written and audio-visual materials which can be accessed in class and also independently by using GCU Learn The students will be exposed at the earliest stage to a wide variety of teaching methods and range of different staff styles as the module is team taught. Practical workshops will be carried out every two weeks supervised by law staff. Some will involve library staff and use electronic and paper resources. Students will require to work independently and in groups with others so as to develop significant skills for the academic study of law and the presentation of legal points, orally and in writing. This will be achieved by requiring students to act in groups to analyse complex legal opinions from the highest courts in Scotland, statutory materials and prepare reports on the learning process. Students will also require to compete in teams in short moot trials and to prepare a written skeleton argument in advance. There will be an online threshold assessment of factual information on legal systems by means of a MCQ. Completion will be required (at 70% accuracy) but no substantive mark will contribute to overall result. Internationalisation: The delivery of this module will set Scots, UK and EU law as appropriate in an international context. Feedback will be provided to students as follows: 1. Students will normally be provided with feedback within three weeks of submission of all summative assessments providing information on strengths, weaknesses and suggestions for corrective action to be applied in future submissions. The tutor will also provide generic feedback at the seminars where coursework will be handed back. Students may also discuss any points with their lecturer or tutor. 2. The virtual learning environment site will be used to feedback overall performance by students on all summative assessments highlighting overall strengths and weaknesses. Student feedback on teaching, learning and assessment will be sought at the end of the semester through a module evaluation questionnaire. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is normally provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

-566 System Paterson & Bates, The Legal System of Scotland ( W. Green, 3rd Edition 1999) White & Willock, Scottish Legal System,( Tottel, 5th Edition 2013) Walker, Scottish Legal System,( W Green, 8th Edition 2001) Shiels, Scottish Legal System, (W Green,4th Edition 2015) Clark, Scottish Legal System, (Dundee University Press, 2nd Edition 2009) Manson-Smith, The Legal System of Scotland (HMSO, 4th Edition 2008) Legal Study MacQueen, Studying Scots Law, (Tottel, 2006) Fullerton & MacGregor, Legal Research Skills for Scots Lawyers, (W Green, 3rd Edition 2014) Colquhoun, Finding the Law - A Handbook for Scots Lawyers,( T & T Clark, 2000) O'Rourke & Duncan, Glossary of Scottish Legal Terms, (W Green, 5th Edition 2009) Riley et al, Unlocking Legal Learning, (Hodder, 2005) Hill & Pope, Mooting Handbook - From Mooting to Advocacy, (Sweet & Maxwell,2nd Edition 2011) McKerrell "Legal Skills" in Understanding Scots Law,( W.Green,3rd Edition 2018) -567 Online sources: Legislation: www.legislation.gov.uk <http://www.legislation.gov.uk> Scottish Courts: <http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/> GCU Study Guide for Law Students: <http://www.gcu.ac.uk/library/subjecthelp/subjectguides/law/>

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Subject specific: Sources and Research Differentiate between and use appropriately primary and secondary sources, and identify and retrieve up-to-date legal information using paper and electronic sources by: b7 Using sources that are up-to-date from paper and electronic repositories b7 Using sources (primary and secondary) that are appropriate to the context b7 Using recognised methods of citation and reference b7 Using sources that are current at the point of assessment b7 Using sources to support arguments and conclusions Undertake independent research (both paper-based and electronic) in areas of law which he or she has not previously studied by: Identify accurately the issue(s) which require researching and formulate them clearly. Sourcing and research skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 preparation for, presentation at and participation in researched seminar activity b7 preparation for and participation in workshop activity; b7 preparation for, presentation at and participation in researched assessment activity; b7 carrying out directed learning tasks; b7 solving well defined ( typically hypothetical) problems through essays, seminars and group work Communication and Literacy The ability to communicate information, ideas, advice and choices in an effective and succinct manner and in plain English without losing focus on key issues. The ability to listen and question effectively, to give and receive feedback and to make presentations addressing an allocated topic within the prescribed time frame. The ability to communicate both orally and in writing (and, where appropriate, by the use of electronic means) using the English language accurately by creating work which is comprehensible to the intended audience. The ability to create documents which are analytical, descriptive and inquisitive using appropriate terminology and recognised methods of citation and reference. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 creating work in a permanent format which is understandable by the intended audience b7 create documents which are analytical, descriptive and inquisitive. b7 using appropriate legal terminology in all work. b7 using recognised methods of citation and reference Communication and literacy skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 Preparing for seminars b7 Engaging in group work in seminars b7 Undertaking an assessed group presentation in front of class b7 Lectures and Workshops on Legal Referencing and Citations. b7 Lectures and Workshops on Presentation skills and Mooting. b7 Preparing group project on specified legal case b7 Preparing a fully referenced skeleton legal argument with partner b7 Participate in assessed Moot (Mock legal argument) with partner in mock court room Analysis, Synthesis, Critical Judgment and Evaluation The ability to identify issues, assimilate, evaluate and analyse information to construct written or oral solutions to a problem by bringing together and integrating relevant information, and selecting key material, from a variety of different sources. The ability to present arguments for and against propositions, acknowledging ranking of sources and relative impact in context. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 Lectures and Workshops on Problem solving b7 Managing, analysing and rating a large volume of legal sources in written and oral form b7 Acknowledging ranking of sources and relative impact in context. b7 Application of the law and problem-solving in a legal context. Personal Management, Independence and Ability to Learn The ability to organise and prioritise effectively the expenditure of time and effort in the performance of all aspects of student work. The ability to learn effectively and be aware of their own learning strategies; to manage their own learning development and to reflect upon their learning, seeking and making use of feedback. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 Meeting deadlines for assessments b7 Completion of preparatory work for seminars which will require students to identify and access primary and secondary source materials. b7 Complete on-line test independently in own time b7 Completion of tasks during the workshop time overseen by tutor Numeracy, IT Skills and Teamwork Where relevant and as the basis for an argument, the ability to present and evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form. The ability to produce and present in an appropriate form a word-processed essay or other appropriate format. The ability to conduct efficient searches of websites to locate relevant information; and exchange documents by E-mail. The ability to work productively and cooperatively in different kinds of groups; to establish working relations with others, defining, sharing and delegating responsibilities within the group. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: b7 Word processed group project and skeleton argument b7 Workshop tasks requiring retrieval of information using electronic databases eg Westlaw and Library resources b7 Communication with module team via e-mail. b7 Send skeleton argument electronically b7 Complete and pass online assessment on the Legal System b7 Accessing materials on GCU Learn b7 Participation in seminar discussions and role play. b7 Undertake Group Project from Week 2 with 3 colleagues - to prepare a written project and group presentation a7 Prepare a skeleton legal argument with partner Undertake a Speed Moot (Mock Legal Argument) with partner

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 22.00
Lectures (FT) 26.00
Assessment (FT) 32.00
Independent Learning (FT) 120.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 40.00 35% ?Group Presentation/Project on Case
Course Work 02 n/a 20.00 35% Moot Skeleton Written Argument
Course Work 04 n/a 0.00 35% Online MCQ on Scottish Legal System
Course Work 03 n/a 30.00 35% Moot
Course Work 05 n/a 10.00 35% Online MCQ on Scottish Legal System