SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 10.00
ECTS Credit Points 5.00
Module Code M3M221651
Module Leader Andrew Tickell
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Passing first two years of study on LLB.

Summary of Content

This module provides an introduction to the philosophy of law. It will deal with theories of justice, legitimacy, and the rule of law as they pertain to human society.


1) Introduction to jurisprudence; 2) Law in Antiquity; Plato and Socrates on law 3) Aristotle on society, ethics and justice 4) Cicero on natural law; St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and Scholasticism 5) Secualrisation of natural law and social contractarian theories 6) Descartes and modern philosophy, Kant, Hume, late 19 th and 20th century philosophy, 7) Finnis and neo-Thomism 8) Bentham, Austin and classical positivism; 9) Fuller and procedural naturalism; Bingham and the rule of law 10) Modern positivism - the meta- legal: Kelsen's grundnorm; Agamben and The State of Exception; Arendt 11) Hart's Concept of Law 12) Raz's Authority thesis; Dworkin's interpretivist thesis 13) Dworkin on Law and Ethics 14) Freedom and Anarchy - Adam Smith, Nozick, anarchist theory. 15) Egalitarian justice: Rawls, Sen, Cohen. 16) Rights theory 17) Law and moral theory 18) Dialectical social theories: Hegel and Marx; Critical Legal Studies; Economic Analysis of Law 19) Sociological pioneers (Weber, Durkheim) 20) The American Legal Realists 22) The Scandinavian Legal Realist 23) Feminist and Post Modern Legal Theories

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should:1) Be able to identify, distinguish and compare the theoretical philosophical arguments surrounding the question 'What is law?2) Be able to develop and compose arguments based on 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.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This will be the traditional one of lectures using visual aids as appropriate, supported by handouts and directed reading. Weekly seminars will reinforce lecture material by engendering class discussion on preset questions related to lecture materials. There can be audio visual materials played in seminars.

Indicative Reading

ESSENTIAL: 1. Wacks, Understanding Jurisprudence , (2 nd ed.) Oxford, 2009. 2. Riddall, Jurisprudence , 2nd edition, Butterworths, 1999 3. McCoubrey and White, Textbook on Jurisprudence , (4th ed), Oxford, 2008. 4. McLeod, Legal Theory, 3 rd . ed. Palgrave, 2005 OTHER READING: Bix, Jurisprudence: Theory and Context , Thomson/Sweet & Maxwell, 3 rd ed, 2003. Cotterrell, The Politics of Jurisprudence , 2 nd ed. LexisNexis 2003 Davies & Holdcroft, Jurisprudence Texts and Commentaries, Butterworths, 1991 (not in print anymore) Freeman, Lloyd's Introduction to Jurisprudence , 8 th ed. Sweet & Maxwell, 2008. 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. Myerson, Denise Understanding Jurisprudence, Routledge, 2007 Penner and ors. Jurisprudence & Legal Theory: Commentary and Materials , Butterworths/ Lexis Nexis, 2002. Simmonds, Central Issues in Jurisprudence , Thomson/Sweet and Maxwell, 2 nd ed., 2002 Solomon and Murphy, What is Justice? 2 nd ed. Oxford 2000 Ward, An Introduction to Critical Legal Theory , Cavendish Publishing,1998.

Transferrable Skills

-108 Analysis, Synthesis, Critical Judgement 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: participating actively in seminars and on line, and in submission of a coursework essay based on theoretical problems in law. 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: participating actively and preparing for seminars on a weekly basis, and in submission of a substantial coursework essay on time towards the end of the semester. 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: participating actively in and preparing for seminars on a weekly basis and in submission of a substantial coursework essay on time. Numeracy, Information, Technology 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: collectively preparing for seminars on a weekly basis and individually submitting a substantial coursework essay on time.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (PT) 30.00
Independent Learning (FT) 35.00
Independent Learning (PT) 49.00
Assessment (FT) 30.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Seminars (FT) 11.00
Lectures (PT) 21.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 60.00 35% Unseen Exam
Coursework 0.00 40.00 35% 2000 word essay