Module code: LAW3136

Module Overview

The law mediates relations between individuals and the state, but it also mediates individuals’ relations with one another. The criminal law, for instance, intervenes in the relation between wrongdoer and victim by in some sense appropriating the victim’s right of retribution. The law of contract facilitates promissory relations by acting as an enforcer of certain voluntarily undertaken obligations. The law of tort establishes relations of mutual accountability by providing individuals with an avenue of recourse against those who have wronged them. In each of these cases, and in many others, the law transforms the meaning and substance of our interpersonal relations, and often embodies an ideal of what our relations with one another ought to be.

This module will consider these legal transformations of our interpersonal relations through engagement with a range of literary, philosophical, and legal texts and materials. We will examine doctrinal and theoretical issues that arise in specific areas of law (including, but not necessarily limited to, the traditional private law subjects) by situating these issues in the context of more general and fundamental questions about the character and proper conduct of interpersonal relations. Throughout, the aim will be to better understand what the law’s role in shaping our interpersonal relations is, and to envision what it could and should be.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

BERO Stephen (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: 61

Lecture Hours: 15

Tutorial Hours: 9

Guided Learning: 50

Captured Content: 15

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Module content will focus on core issues in private law and related subjects. Indicative topics include:

  • Contract law and norms of promising

  • Tort law, corrective justice, and relational repair

  • Property, ownership, and the regulation of access to resources

  • Criminal law and victim/offender relations

  • The relation between personal and legal obligations

  • Social norms and social order beyond law

Character, virtue, and legal relations

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 3,000 word summative essay 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate the development and acquisition of the knowledge and skills described above. Thus, the assessment for this module consists of:

Formative assessment: 1,500 word coursework essay

Summative assessment: 3,000 word coursework essay


Constructive, individualised feedback on both formative and summative assessments will assist students in identifying strengths as well as areas for improvement, and in developing plans for building relevant knowledge and skills over the course of the module and beyond.

Module aims

  • To familiarise students with some of the main issues and arguments in the theory of private law and related subjects.
  • To train students in reading complex texts from a variety of disciplines, for the purpose of identifying and reconstructing their main ideas and arguments.
  • To develop students' ability to critically evaluate challenging ideas and arguments and to present their evaluations clearly and effectively.
  • To develop students’ ability to engage thoughtfully with and think creatively about fundamental questions in private law and related subjects.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Read and comprehend challenging texts relating to core issues in private law and related subjects KCPT
002 Critically and independently evaluate positions and ideas relating to core issues in private law and related subjects KCPT
003 Develop insight into how the law and legal institutions interact with and shape interpersonal relations and social conditions generally KCPT
004 Develop the ability to reason cogently, clearly, and creatively about fundamental issues and to identify their potential practical implications KCPT
005 Foster advanced skills in written self-expression and the development and presentation of complex ideas and arguments CPT

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 achieve the aims and outcomes described above. The module will be delivered through a combination of interactive lectures and tutorials, in order to build on existing student knowledge and skills; support student engagement with complex ideas and materials drawn from a variety of perspectives, disciplines and genres; and facilitate the development and exercise of a range of advanced skills through collaborative and independent learning activities. Advance preparation for tutorial sessions will be expected, and active student participation will be encouraged through tutorial discussions and activities.

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: LAW3136

Other information

In line with Surrey’s Curriculum Framework, 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 contributes to the five pillars in the following ways:

  • Employability: Students will build on and enhance their understanding of foundational areas of law (e.g., tort, contract, property), as well as developing advanced reading, research, and analytical skills and the capacity for independent, creative thinking, which are greatly valued by prospective employers.
  • Global & Cultural Capabilities: Students will develop advanced awareness and informed views on social, legal, and ethical issues relating to the fundamental features of private law that apply across different jurisdictions and different social and cultural contexts. Exposure to materials representing different perspectives, historical periods, and legal systems will allow students to broaden their understanding of the broad significance and practical import of core issues in private law.
  • Sustainability: Students will have the opportunity to consider which aspects of our current private law institutions are sustainable and appropriately promote the wellbeing of present and future generations, and which features of those institutions might responsibly be reformed to better serve those ends.

Resourcefulness & Resilience: Students will develop the independence and confidence to engage thoughtfully with and think creatively about fundamental questions in private law and related subjects, building their autonomy and resourcefulness as legal thinkers and future practitioners. Assessment and feedback are designed to encourage students to identify areas of improvement, learn from mistakes, and develop the ability to incorporate constructive criticism effectively.

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.