Module code: ECO3049

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the ways in which economic analysis can help us to understand and evaluate the law.  It combines topics on civil and criminal law.  It does not assume any prior knowledge of law but does make use of economic theory (especially microeconomics), diagrams, maths (calculus and algebra encountered in FHEQ Level 5) and interpreting empirical results. As such, it builds upon quantitative, mathematical and analytical techniques developed in FHEQ Levels 4 and 5.

Module provider


Module Leader

RICKMAN Neil (Economics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 11

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • civil law, criminal law and their objectives

  • liability rules (strict, negligence, contributory, no-fault)

  • civil litigation (outcomes, funding)

  • contracts and efficient remedies

  • crime rates and factors affecting them

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
School-timetabled exam/test TEST 10
Coursework ESSAY 20
Examination Online EXAMINATION 70

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable.

Assessment Strategy


The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of how to apply Microeconomic principles and techniques to an area that is typically new to most of them (i.e. the law). Students who complete the module successfully will have demonstrated an ability to answer analytical questions on legal policy and on the operations and objectives of the law, using a mixture of maths, diagrams and prose. The various aspects of the assessment will allow student to demonstrate their knowledge (e.g. through a test), their ability to study and evaluate policy reports, academic papers and broader topical comment such as blogs (e.g. through a written essay).

They will have had the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of all the topics in the module.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

The coursework consists of an online test and an essay. The coursework is worth 10% (MCQ) + 20% (Essay) = 30% of the final mark for the module.

Final online exam of two hours (70%). The questions require a mixture of maths, diagrams and written responses.

The test allows students to demonstrate the breadth of their understanding of the early topics, and its timing also allows them to receive relatively early feedback on how they have started the module; the essay allows the students to display research and written skills and to achieve a more in-depth view of an area of the module. It is also designed to help students practice for the essay component of the final exam.

The opening section of the exam is designed to tests the breadth of students’ knowledge and the later part is designed to test depth of knowledge and essay writing skills. The questions on both sections are drawn from the whole module.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students receive verbal feedback on questions asked during lectures and in the workshops (where questions are circulated in advance; solutions are also provided).  A number of self-test are provided on Surreylern to cover the material as it progresses, to help students test their knowledge.  After the first summative test, written solutions are provided.  Some  notes on essay writing are provided when the coursework essay is distributed, along with a video talk that covers these notes and talks through two previous (anonymised) essays.  Feedback on the essay consists of individualised written comments and the invitation for students to clarify aspects of their feedback if they wish.  At the start of the module, the previous  year’s tests and exam are made available (on SurreyLearn).  There are (typically) two revision sessions before the final exam, plus a continuous Discussion Forum on SurreyLearn and two online one hour open forums for students to come along and talk openly about the module.

Module aims

  • Introduce students to important areas of the criminal and civil law.
  • Introduce students to ways in which theoretical and empirical methods from their degree can (and have been) applied to questions about the law, and policy towards the law.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
003 Be able to research and produce a written analysis on a particular topic from the economic analysis of law. KCT
002 Understand that the legal system has both efficiency and equity objectives and be able to describe examples of each. KCP
001 Describe and evaluate (using a mixture of maths, data and empirical results) liability laws, civil litigation, ways of funding litigation, access to justice, determinants of crime rates and deterrence policies. KCP

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:

-Enhance skills in information gathering, evaluation and producing written work

-Appreciate the complexities of decision making for makers of policy toward the law

The learning and teaching methods include:

1-hour lecture per week x 11 weeks

1-hour workshop per week x 11 weeks

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: ECO3049

Other information

The School of Economics 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 enhance students' knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas: 

Sustainability: Numerous aspects of the legal system are affected by (and can influence) inequalities, especially in income but also across other social dimensions.  By discussing access to justice and the influence of inequality on crime rates, the module introduces students to two examples of these effects. 

Global and cultural capabilities: The module considers the institutional features of several jurisdictions, for example in terms of the different rules they employ for allocating legal costs and their approaches to negligence and no fault liability for accidents.   

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The majority of the readings for the module are journal articles and published reports; in addition, students have the opportunity to undertake their own research for the coursework essay. Studying the former and researching the latter fosters resourcefulness. Resilience can be enhanced by reacting to feedback from the two pieces of coursework leading on to the exam; and through the discussion during workshops. 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Business Economics and Data Analytics BSc (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 2025/6 academic year.