SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3M125812
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, the 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 its development from ancient times to the present day. In the second part, the 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 and unlawful behaviour across society. The module shall teach PRME principles including: developing graduates that care about social responsibility; developing learning and teaching which lets graduates become responsible leaders and practitioners; and developing graduates that will advise businesses and other stakeholders to explore mutually beneficial responses to social and 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 in law, justice and ethics. In any given year, the module may consider a combination of the following themes and sources, including: -360 1) Law in antiquity, including Socrates on law and justice, Plato's Republic , Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Stoic understandings of law and justice; -360 2) Classical natural law theory, including Thomas Aquinas and scholasticism 3) Social contract theorists, including Hobbes and Locke 4) Descartes and modern philosophy, 5) Kant, Hume, late 19th and 20th century philosophy, 6) Finnis and neo-Thomism; Fuller and procedural naturalism; Bingham and the rule of law 7) Bentham, Austin and classical positivism; 8) Agamben and The State of Exception; 9) Hart's Concept of Law; Raz's Authority thesis; 10) Dworkin on Law and Ethics 11) Freedom and Anarchy - Adam Smith, Nozick, anarchist theory. 12) Modern justice theories, including: Rawls, Sen, Cohen 13) Theories of rights, and the liberal legal person 14) Tensions between justice and mercy 15) Dialectical social theories: Hegel and Marx; sociological pioneers and modern socio-legal studies 16) The American Legal Realists and Critical Legal Studies; 17) Feminist, queer and 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 theoretical, philosophical arguments2) 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 PowerPoint slides, handouts and directed reading, augmented with audio visual materials via GCULearn. Weekly seminars reinforce lecture material by engendering class discussion on pre-set questions and readings related to lecture material. 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.

Indicative Reading

-566 Recommended. 1. Riddall, Jurisprudence , 2nd edition, Butterworths, 1999 2. McCoubrey, Textbook on Jurisprudence , (4th ed), Oxford, 2008. 3. Banakar, Law and Social Theory, (2nd ed.) Oxford, 2013. 4. Travers, Understanding Law and Society, Routledge, 2010. Other recommended: Brooke, Q & A Jurisprudence, Routledge, 2011, 5th ed. Cotterrell, The Politics of Jurisprudence , 2nd ed. LexisNexis 2003 Davies & Holdcroft, Jurisprudence Texts and Commentaries, Butterworths, 1991 (not in print anymore) Harris, Legal Philosophies , 2nd edition, Butterworths, 1997 Kelly, A Short History of Western Legal Theory, Oxford, 1991. Letwin, Shirley On the History of the Idea of Law, Cambridge, 2008. Twining, How to Do Things With Rules. Butterworths, 1999, 4th Ed. Twining, Globalisation and Legal Theory, Butterworths, 2000. Veitch, Christodoulidis, Farmer, Jurisprudence- Themes and Concepts (2nd ed) Routledge, 2012. Ward, An Introduction to Critical Legal Theory , Cavendish Publishing,1998. Journals Ratio Juris, Legal Theory, Journal of Law and Society, American Journal of Jurisprudence, Feminist Legal Studies, Journal of Legal Studies, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Jurisprudence.

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
Seminars (FT) 11.00
Independent Learning (FT) 103.00
Assessment (FT) 50.00
Lectures (FT) 36.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% Exam Unseen. (Trimester A - Exam period).
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% Critical Essay (2000 words).