Module code: LAW3085

Module Overview

Jurisprudence is the theory or philosophy of law: the study of philosophical questions about the nature of law, its relation to morality, what determines its validity and normativity, and theories about its social significance and how it operates.

Jurisprudence 1 is a survey of key jurisprudential theories and debates. It seeks to fit within the rest of the LLB syllabus by providing a reasoned and principled basis for discussions regarding the content and purpose of the law. It provides background information useful in arguments over the justification or interpretation of laws and policies. It hones skills in developing, expressing, and evaluating arguments as well as in research and digesting complex abstract subjects.

The lectures will cover the theoretical content of the course, providing an overview of the theories and the debates among them. The tutorials will provide be aimed at guiding students through the research and development of an argumentative paper on a more focused subject so that students can then accomplish the same on their summatives.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

EHRENBERG Kenneth (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The subjects covered in lectures:

  • Natural Law

  • Legal Positivism

  • Interpretivism

  • American Legal Realism

  • Law and Economics

  • Critical Legal Studies

  • Feminist Legal Theory

  • Adjudication and Legal Reasoning

  • 'Can there Be a Theory of Law?'

All of the required readings for the class except one are found in the edited volume: Golding, M. P., & Edmundson, W. A. (eds) The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory (John Wiley & Sons 2008).

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 3,000 WORD COURSEWORK 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 listed above.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework

  • 3000 words


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 predominant theories of law's nature, operation, and role in society, this module aims to acquaint students with philosophical and jurisprudential methodology and argumentation.
  • It aims not only to introduce these ideas but for students to be able to critique, analyse and evaluate them, developing their own principled answers to questions regarding the nature of law, its social significance, and the methods of understanding it.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Read and comprehend abstract, theoretical pieces on law's nature, operation, and social significance. KCT
002 Critically evaluate predominant jurisprudential schools of thought. KCT
003 Research additional criticism and analysis on specific jurisprudential topics. KCPT
004 Develop complex arguments on abstract topics. KCPT
005 Display an understanding of the practical implications of theoretical analyses of the law. KCPT
006 Explain jurisprudential theories in students' own words. KCPT
007 Assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of competing theories of law's nature and operation. KCPT

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 related to law, its role in society, and how to understand its nature and operation. 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 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 investigation on a specific philosophical question relating to the law.

While most of the required readings are from an edited guide-book, all chapters are written by preeminent authors in the field, who routinely write primary research papers in these areas. This 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: LAW3085

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law with Criminology LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with International Relations LLB (Hons) 1 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 2020/1 academic year.