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. Its practical value for practising lawyers cannot be understated as only lawyers with a theoretical understanding will be able to advise clients and reply to opposing arguments when dealing with areas in which the law is unclear or offers conflicting guidance.

The lectures will cover the theoretical content of the course, providing an overview of the theories and the debates among them. The tutorials will 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 summative assessment.

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: 55

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 45

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The following is a list of subjects from which the content will be drawn. Not every topic will be covered every time the module is offered:

Natural Law

Legal Positivism


American Legal Realism

Legal obligation and authority

Critical Legal Theory

Adjudication and legal reasoning

Whether there can be a theory of law

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework 85
School-timetabled exam/test Multiple-choice examination 1 hr 15

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

  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. On the one hand, students must show that they have digested and understood the content of the lectures and assigned readings. However and more significantly, 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. Students must therefore show their ability to develop sustained discursive arguments regarding the topics studied.


  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • 3000 word coursework

  • Multiple choice exam


  Formative assessments will consist of 1500-word essay on a provided topic that will be returned with feedback.


  Feedback on the formative and summative coursework will be provided via SurreyLearn in written and/or recorded oral form detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the student’s work.

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.
  • The module will build on students' previous work developing a critical approach to legal content by requiring them to apply that critical analysis to theoretical topics that can serve as an argumentative basis for further critical reflection on doctrinal subjects.
  • The module will further develop students' existing research abilities by having them take on research projects that go into philosophical sources and subjects.

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 lectures and 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

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:


The module will enhance employability by allowing students to exhibit an ability to form theoretical arguments and critiques of legal positions, thereby showing that they are well adapted to creative argumentation in legal practice.

The module enhances digital capabilities by acquainting students with online research techniques in theoretical subjects within multiple disciplines.

The module enhances global and cultural capabilities by acquainting students with universal theories of law that can be applied across legal systems and cultures, allowing for comparative critiques.

The module enhances resourcefulness and resilience by enabling students to be more adaptable to unexpected opposing arguments, giving them a variety of theoretical tools for replying to the unexpected.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law with International Relations LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
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 (Law and Technology Pathway) LLB (Hons) 1 Optional 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 (Law, Environment and Sustainability Pathway) 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 2025/6 academic year.