Module code: LAW3086

Module Overview

Jurisprudence 2 is an introduction to some of the most important normative and moral issues that have been raised in relation to law and legal systems, and some of the most prominent philosophical attempts at answering them. Examples of the kind of topics that we shall be looking at in this module include legal obligations, authority and the duty to obey, the nature and justification of punishment, and the limits to legal regulation. 

This module seeks to fit within the rest of the LLB syllabus by providing a reasoned and principled basis for deeper critical reflections and discussions about what the law ought to be, what role it should play in our societies and in our everyday lives more generally, and how we should relate ourselves to it. It provides background information useful in arguments over the justification or interpretation of laws and policies. It also hones skills in developing, expressing, and evaluating arguments as well as in research and digesting complex abstract subjects.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

LEE Ambrose (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: M240

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative topics and and their more specific issues include:

Legal obligations and the duty to obey:

  • The nature of authority and the duty to obey

  • The challenge from Anarchism and the responses to it

  • Voluntarist theories

  • Non-voluntarist theories

The nature and justification of punishment:

  • Retributivism and Consequentialism

  • Hybrid theories and Communicative theories

  • The ‘Duty View’

What should the law regulate?

  • Harm principle and legal moralism

How should the law regulate?

  • Rule of law: its grounds, normative significance and implications

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 3000 word essay 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment address all the learning outcomes listed above.

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to engage with complex theoretical ideas and relate them to their existing legal knowledge. Assessment goes beyond the mere recall of the ideas of others and rewards critical engagement with the questions which provoked those ideas, in line with the learning outcomes above.

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.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• 3000 word essay

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessments will consist of 1500 word essays on a given topic that will be returned with feedback.

Module aims

  • By encouraging students to engage directly with sophisticated philosophical ideas and arguments, this module aims to develop an advanced critical understanding of predominant philosophical approaches to some of the most important normative and moral questions about law.
  • It aims not only to introduce these ideas but for students to be able to critique, analyse and evaluate them, and develop their own principled answers to such normative and moral questions about the law.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Develop a critical appreciation of the more abstract normative and moral issues that law raises. KCPT
002 Develop informed, reflective and well-reasoned arguments in response to such issues and apply them to the evaluation of existing laws KCPT
003 Research on abstract and theoretical topics and develop complex and philosophically-informed arguments on them KCPT
004 Understand, explain and critically engage with predominant legal philosophy seeking to address the normative and moral questions that are raised by law. KCT
005 Read a philosophical text, engage with it critically and relate its content to their own arguments and understandings about the law KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to encourage students to:

Engage directly with complex philosophical ideas relating to the normative and moral questions that law raises. 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 philosophical ideas. Students are encouraged to participate in lectures with questions and comments.

The learning and teaching methods include:

The module takes the form of eleven seminar-like lectures and six tutorials. Lectures deal with general theories and overviews of specific schools of thought or areas of philosophical interest, while tutorials seek to enable students to develop a research plan for an in-depth philosophical investigation on a specific normative or moral question that is raised by law.

Rather than being based around text-book reading, the reading list is predominantly made up of influential philosophical articles or chapters. This is to allow students to engage directly with primary source ideas from the outset. At appropriate points, however, there will be readings that offer overviews of the topics or the more specific issues in question. Such readings are nevertheless written by preeminent scholars in the field who routinely write primary research papers in those areas. These readings will give students a road map for further investigation and research.

Lectures follow a broadly Socratic method, with visual aids where appropriate to break down the theories and ample time for discussion and questions. Tutorials 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 papers, 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

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LAW3086

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with Criminology LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with International Relations LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (JD Pathway) LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

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.