Module code: LAW1053

Module Overview

In order to study law, it is necessary to understand what the law is, where it comes from and how it operates and evolves. This three-week intensive module will equip students with a foundation of knowledge of the English legal system and its personnel, principles and policies and introduce the skills needed to study the law effectively. It will also situate the legal system of England and Wales within the context of other legal systems allowing students to understand the interrelation between English law, European law and international law. In essence, the module will provide a foundation of knowledge and skills that will enable students to embark on their study of law with confidence.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

FINCH Emily (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 64

Lecture Hours: 24

Tutorial Hours: 7

Guided Learning: 45

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module will cover a range of contemporary issues related to the English legal system such as:


  • What is the law?

  • Sources and types of law: statute, delegated legislation, case law, equity.

  • Parliament and the law-making process.

  • Introduction to the EU legal order (nature of EU law, law-making in the EU, relationship between EU law and national law).

  • Introduction to Public International Law (nature of international law, treaties and customary international law, international law in the UK).

  • Understanding comparative law: the relationship between England and Wales and other legal systems.

  • The structure of the courts and the personnel of the legal system.

  • The criminal justice system and the jury decision-making process.

  • Civil justice, tribunals and alternative dispute resolution.

  • The hierarchy of the courts and the doctrine of precedent.

  • Understanding statutory provisions and the canons of statutory interpretation.

  • Finding and understanding case law.

  • Legal research and legal writing.

  • Critical evaluation and legal analysis.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 1500 word coursework (essay) 50
Coursework 1500 word coursework (problem solving) 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have understood the way in which the legal system operates as well as providing an opportunity to demonstrate key skills in legal reasoning, legal writing and liability analysis.

The summative assessment for this module consists of two pieces of coursework:

  • an essay demonstrating the ability to create, develop and defend a legal argument.

  • an answer to a problem question demonstrating the ability to engage in liability analysis.

The module is structured around the two assessments points to make the first assessed work in the earlier weeks of the degree more manageable for students new to study at university level. The tutorial tasks introduce the key skills and knowledge needed for the assessment to ensure that students can tackle the essay and problem question with confidence and build on the verbal feedback that will be provided on the tutorial tasks. Tutorial tasks are designed to encourage students to reflect on their own work and to value peer-feedback in order to promote collaborative learning.

The essential foundational legal skills and knowledge assessed in this module directly enhance student employability, digital capacities and resourcefulness/resilience through challenging them to develop and make use of enhanced problem-solving, analytical and research abilities,

Module aims

  • Provide students with a foundation for their studies by outlining the fundamental principles of the operation of the English legal system and its relationship with other systems of law such as European law, international law, and the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Introduce students to the law-making process and the factors that influence and shape the legislation made by Parliament.
  • Equip students with an understanding of the structure, personnel and hierarchy of the courts and the operation of the doctrine of precedent.
  • Explore the way that the law is applied and interpreted by the courts, introducing the canons of statutory interpretation and rules of language used by judges to determine the meaning of the words used in legislation.
  • Provide students with opportunities to develop the key lawyering skills of legal argument and liability analysis.
  • Inculcate fundamental study and transferable skills in critical reasoning, legal research, and legal writing.
  • Ensure that students are able to find, use, understand and evaluate sources of law.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understanding of the operation of the English legal system and its relationship with other systems of law such as European law, international law and human rights law. KCP
002 Awareness of the law-making process and the factors that influence the introduction of new legislation. KCP
003 Appreciation of the role of the courts in interpreting and applying legislation and the importance of precedent and the canons of statutory interpretation. KCP
004 Awareness of sources of law and how to find, understand and use them in their studies. KCPT
005 Create a legal argument and engage in critical analysis of legal concepts. KCPT
006 Engage in liability analysis and develop a methodical and effective approach to problem solving. 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 support students in the acquisition of a foundation of knowledge of the operation of the English legal system, both as a topic of study in its own right and as the foundation for the study of a range of other substantive areas of law. It aims to facilitate active engagement with the subject matter and to encourage students to look outwards to see the principles and policies of the law in operation in wider society. It places an appropriate level of emphasis on independent learning and will provide students with opportunities to develop the skills that they will need to study law successfully. 

The learning and teaching methods will include:

  • two-hour interactive lectures in which core information and ideas will be disseminated.

  • one-hour tutorials in which facilitate the exploration of ideas and concepts in greater depth.

The tutorials are designed to give students the opportunity to practice and receive feedback on the skills involved in the creation of a legal argument and in liability analysis. 

The module content is directly related to the Surrey pedagogical pillar employability. The module focuses on understanding systems and mastering skills that will directly benefit students’ careers in legal profession – and will provide essential context and fluency even for those who do not go on to practice law. The skills fostered in this module of research, clear and persuasive writing, as well as analysis of discrete problems are essential for success in virtually all modern professions. An understanding of the legislative, parliamentary and political process is likewise essential for being able to develop solutions to broader business, legal and social problems.

Furthermore, the module fosters digital literacy by training students to use digital research tools and databases to find answers to complex questions.

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: LAW1053

Other information

The School of Law is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:


Employability: The module provides students with core knowledge of the key rules of law and judicial principles in England and Wales. Students are expected to develop and refine their problem-solving skills and to engage in structuring their advice and analyses in a practical way to a professional standard with clear reference and support from primary and secondary legal sources. The assessment tests students on key aspects which are reflective of skills expected in the workplace environment. The examination will allow students to develop and demonstrate their ability to engage with complex and possibly opaque and fluid facts and with issues that invite a diverse and open-ended range of responses.


Digital Capabilities: As with all modules, students are expected to engage with material online through effective navigation of the Surreylearn VLE and online legal databases provided by the University library. Students will use digital technology to prepare their and submit their assessment and are likely to use digital technology in aiding their preparations and presentations during the workshop sessions.


Global and Cultural Capabilities: While the module content focusses on English law, the common law/parliamentary system studied in this module is global in nature insofar as it exists in a range of countries throughout the world. Furthermore, the study of EU law and international law and legal systems is essential to understanding the interconnected rules-based system that comprises the modern, globalized world. The module furthermore allows students to build fundamental skills which are globally useful in cultivating and maintaining interpersonal relations and for understanding and navigating different cultures, not to mention attaining professional success. The workshops sessions require students to collaborate and engage effectively to evaluate and provide feedback to each other’s work and will allow them the space and opportunity to interact, communicate and build relationships with peers from diverse backgrounds and in a way that respects and promotes the interests of cultural groups and individual rights.


Resourcefulness and Resilience: The learning teaching and assessment strategy for this module has been designed to encourage active learning through participation, community building, peer support and reflective practice. Students will draw on individual and collective resourcefulness to design practical and critically reasoned solution to the challenges raised by the legal issues or normative thesis within the workshop problem tasks. Students are encouraged to reflect on feedback and feed-forward and to engage with constructive comments and to take ownership of their learning. Formative assessment and feedback provide an opportunity for students to fail or make errors in a “safe” environment and to learn from experience and practical application building confidence and self-efficacy. The formative and summative assessments in this module require students to develop and apply techniques that feed-forward to assessments within the module and to demonstrate initiative and ownership by extending those skills to the learning and assessment tasks of other modules within the programme.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law LLB (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (Law and Technology Pathway) LLB (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (Philosophy, Politics and Law Pathway) LLB (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with Criminology LLB (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with International Relations LLB (Hons) 1 Compulsory 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 2024/5 academic year.