SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3M125699
Module Leader James Connolly
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

The module is two parts. Firstly, student is introduced to jurisprudence as a branch of philosophy generally, tracing the history of the philosophy of law paying particular attention to key figures in the development from ancient times to the present day. In the second part, student is introduced to economic and social theories of law and justice in a modern and postmodern perspective. Lawyers are increasingly expected to be pro-active in the prediction and prevention of unethical | unlawful behaviour across society. The module shall teach PRME principle including: developing graduate that cares about social responsibility; developing learning and teaching which lets graduates become responsible leaders and practitioners; and developing graduate that will advise businesses and other stakeholders to explore mutually beneficial responses to social | legal challenges.


This module is taught with reference to a range of jurisprudential and social theorists, whose arguments and ideas are contextualised alongside contemporary social, political and cultural developments law, justice and ethics. In any given year, the module may consider a combination of the following themes and sources, including: Law in antiquity, including Socrates on law and justice, Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Stoic and post-Socratic understandings of law and justice; Classical natural law theory, including St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas and scholasticism Social contract theorists, including Hobbes and Locke Descartes and modern philosophy, Kant, Hume, late 19th and 20th century philosophy, Finnis and neo-Thomism; Fuller and procedural naturalism; Bingham and the rule of law Bentham, Austin, utilitarian ethics and classical positivism; Kelsen and the Grundnorm; Agamben and The State of Exception; Hart's Concept of Law; Raz's Authority thesis; Dworkin on Law and Ethics Freedom and Anarchy - Adam Smith, Nozick, anarchist theory. Modern justice theories, including: Rawls, Sen, Cohen Theories of rights, and the liberal legal person Law and moral theory Dialectical social theories: Hegel and Marx; sociological pioneers and modern socio-legal studies Scandinavian Legal Realism; Authoritarian psychologies and law The American Legal Realists and Critical Legal Studies; Feminist and other post-modern understandings of law and justice.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of module, the student should: 1) Be able to identify, distinguish and compare the theoretical philosophical type arguments 2) Be able to develop and compose arguments based upon the various theories presented with respect to current and hypothetical issues. 3) Be able to appraise and assess the meaning and significance of law in society with reference to existing theories. PRME Learning Outcome: 4) Be aware of research and theoretical underpinnings that advances their understanding about the role, dynamics, and impact of institutions of law in the creation of values of social justice, including multi-national legal practices.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Traditional strategy of lectures supported by handouts and directed reading, augmented with audio visual materials via GCU-Learn. Weekly seminars reinforce lecture material by engendering class discussion on preset questions related to lecture material. In order to encourage contribution by student in seminars there shall be a max of 10% to be gained in 1% increments per seminar, which counts towards the summative module mark. Internationalisation: Teaching of the module shall set Scots, UK and EU law in an appropriate structure in an international context. Feedback for coursework will be carried out by on-line marking and personalised comments through the Turnitin facility. Feedback will be given contemporaneously as regards seminar contribution, recognising such facets as preparedness, relevant engagement with seminar leader and students, intelligent and critical legal thought as regards conceptual issues.

Indicative Reading

1. R Wacks Understanding Jurisprudence, any edition, 4th ed (Oxford, Oxford University Press) 2017. 2. J E Penner and E Melissaris McCoubrey and White's Textbook on Jurisprudence, 5th ed. (Oxford, Oxford University Press) 2012. 3. McBride and Steel, Palgrave Great Debates in Law - Jurisprudence, Palgrave 2014. 4. Ratnapala, Jurisprudence, 3rd ed. Cambridge 2017. VALUABLE GENERAL READING: Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy <http://plato.stanford.edu>/ The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy <http://www.iep.utm.edu/law-phil>/ OTHER READING: Banaker and Travers (eds), Law and Social Theory 2nd edn. Hart, 2013. Bix, Jurisprudence: Theory and Context 3rd edn. Thomson/Sweet & Maxwell, 2003. Brooke, Q & A Jurisprudence 5th edn. Routledge, 2011. Cotterrell, The Politics of Jurisprudence, 2nd edn 2003 Freeman, Lloyd's Introduction to Jurisprudence, 8th ed. Sweet & Maxwell, 2008. Harris, Legal Philosophies, 2nd edition, Butterworths, 1997 Kelly, A Short History of Western Legal Theory, Oxford, 1991. Lacey, Unspeakable Subjects: Feminist Essays in Legal and Social Theory. Hart, 1998. Letwin, Shirley On the History of the Idea of Law, Cambridge, 2008. MacIntyre, After Virtue, 2nd ed. Duckworth, McLeod, Legal Theory, 3rd ed. Palgrave, 2005 Morrison, Jurisprudence: from the Greeks to Post Modernism, Cavendish, 1997 (reprinted 2005). Myerson, Understanding Jurisprudence. Routledge, 2007 Paterson, Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory: An Anthology, Blackwell, 2003. Penner and ors. Jurisprudence & Legal Theory: Commentary and Materials, Butterworths/ Lexis Nexis, 2002. Riddall, Jurisprudence, 2nd edn, Oxford, 1999. Simmonds, Central Issues in Jurisprudence, Thomson/Sweet and Maxwell, 4th ed., 2013. Solomon and Murphy, What is Justice? 2nd edn, Oxford, 2000 Travers, Understanding Law and Society, Routledge, 2010. Twining, How to Do Things With Rules, 4th edn, Butterworths, 1999. Twining, Globalisation and Legal Theory, Butterworths, 2000. Veitch, Christodoulidis, Farmer, Jurisprudence Themes and Concepts 2nd edn Routledge, 2012. Ward, An Introduction to Critical Legal Theory, Cavendish Publishing,1998.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of the module students should have gained competence in the following key areas: Analysis, Synthesis, Critical Judgement and Evaluation The ability to identify issues, 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. Communication and Literacy The ability to communicate information, ideas, advice and choices via an effective and succinct manner and in plain English without losing focus upon key issues. The ability to listen and question effectively, to give and receive feedback and to make presentations addressing an allocated topic in 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. Numeracy, Information, and Technology Where relevant and as the basis for an argument, the ability to then present and evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form. The ability to then produce and present in an appropriate form a word-processed essay or other appropriate format.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 114.00
Assessment (FT) 50.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Essay n/a 50.00 35% Coursework. Essay 2000 words.
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% Trimester A exam.