LAW AND CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL ISSUES - 2019/0
Module code: LAW2096
Societies, just like individuals, routinely face hard decisions about what kind of life they want to live. What form of government should they have? How much say should people have in particular government decisions? What is the best balance between freedom and equality? What parts of people’s lives should they govern? How should they punish people who break the law? How should they behave towards other societies? And what is the role of law in all this? Any serious attempt to answers questions like these involves engagement with key concepts in social and political philosophy – concepts like authority, democracy, liberty, rights, justice, and equality.
In this module, which is conducted in seminar format, we will look closely at these concepts and some important and challenging arguments concerning fundamental social and political issues. We will also scrutinise important legal cases and statutes related to these debates. Specifically, we will address such questions as: What makes a society just? What’s good about democracy? Do people have rights? Is it always wrong to break the law? How can legal punishment be justified? Is all discrimination wrong? Is there such a thing as international justice?
School of Law
ASGEIRSSON H Dr (Schl of Law)
Number of Credits: 15
ECTS Credits: 7.5
Framework: FHEQ Level 5
JACs code: M240
Module cap (Maximum number of students): 40
Prerequisites / Co-requisites
Rights and Liberty
Liberal society and toleration
Impartiality and legislation
Our obligation to obey the law and civil disobedience
Legal punishment in general
Sentencing Equality and (indirect) discrimination
Justice and disability
The authority of international institutions
|Assessment type||Unit of assessment||Weighting|
|Coursework||3,000 word summative essay||100|
Formative (essay, 1500 words)
Summative (essay, 3000 words)
During weeks 2-5, students will have the option to do two short exercises in relation to critical writing (around 5-600 words each), leading into the formative. Each exercise will involve summarising an argument from the reading and critically evaluating it, perhaps also adding one’s own thoughts on the matter. Specific instructions for the exercises will be given in due time.
The assessment method for each module has been selected to test a variety of key skills, competences and outcomes as required by QAA. As such, assessment method cannot be changed. Reasonable adjustment may be made on application subject to ALS approval AND only where such adjustment still allows for the required skills, key competences and outcomes to be assessed at an equivalent level.
- To familiarise students with some the main issues and arguments in social and political philosophy, and with important legal cases and statutes related to these debates.
- To train students in reading complex texts, for the purpose of identifying and reconstructing their main theses.
- To train students in critically evaluating challenging arguments and in presenting that evaluation with rigour and clarity.
|001||Read and comprehend challenging philosophical texts relating to fundamental social issues||CKPT|
|002||Critically evaluate some of the dominant positions in social and political philosophy||CKPT|
|003||Develop an awareness of how important social issues may come up in legislation and case law||CKPT|
|004||Develop an ability to reason cogently and clearly about abstract issues and to identify their potential practical implications||CKPT|
|005||Undertake directed research||CPT|
C - Cognitive/analytical
K - Subject knowledge
T - Transferable skills
P - Professional/Practical skills
Overall student workload
Independent Study Hours: 117
Seminar Hours: 33
Methods of Teaching / Learning
The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:
Help students to engage directly with complex philosophical ideas related to contemporary social issues and the role in law in debates about these matters. This involves developing a classroom and broader teaching environment that demystifies seemingly intimidating ideas and relates them to readily comprehensible experiences and phenomena, while enabling students to discuss, deploy, and evaluate challenging philosophical ideas. Students are encouraged to participate in seminars with questions and comments.
The learning and teaching methods include: Seminars (3 x 11 hours).
Seminars will take place in 3 hour blocks on a weekly basis. The seminars serve both to consolidate understanding of the material and to develop students’ confidence and ability to develop their own critical answers to the questions asked in this module, and to guide them through the development of their own research project, acquainting them with additional research strategies, assessing the relevance of articles, techniques for digesting material quickly, and developing their own topics and arguments.
Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.
Reading list for LAW AND CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL ISSUES : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/law2096
Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.