Module Catalogue 2022/23

LAW3252 : Problem Areas in Private Law (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Christine Beuermann
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Emilia Mickiewicz
  • Lecturer: Professor Richard Mullender, Dr Tim Dodsworth, Professor Ben Farrand
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
LAW1221Contract Law
LAW2263Equity and Trusts
LAW2261General Principles of Tort
Pre Requisite Comment

This is an advanced module that requires students to have studied the basic areas of private law first.

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



In this module, students will explore a small number of problematic areas in private law in some depth. The areas to be explored will differ from year to year. The object of the module is not to gain knowledge of specific content (although this will occur), but to consider more broadly why certain areas of private law remain problematic and the different approaches adopted within private law to address such difficulties. Students will improve their analytical skills in identifying the nature of specific legal problems and their broader understanding of private law by placing those problems in a broader philosophical, historical, comparative and societal context. The module will particularly enable students to explore tensions and themes within private law, an understanding of which will enable them to better consider how problems that arise in the future may be addressed

Outline Of Syllabus

An example – syllabus will change each year with what’s topical and what fits with interests of particular staff members involved in module.

1.       The nature of liability in private law – strict or fault?
2.       Private -v- Public – public authority liability
3.       Private Law and Regulation
4.       Responsiveness of private law to social change – privacy (a case study)

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to:

* explain and apply different legal methodologies;

* demonstrate a critical appreciation of the philosophical, historical, comparative and societal context of different areas of private law;

* analyse how different jurisdictions have responded to similar problems in private law;

* demonstrate a critical appreciation of the distinctiveness of private law and the future challenges it faces.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to:

* Write and speak with care and precision in the analysis and synthesis of the law;

* Structure legal argument and analysis;

* Synthesise materials from diverse sources;

* Exercise critical judgement;

* Discern between the merits or otherwise of particular arguments;

* Analyse and advance problematic areas in private law not covered in the module.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion221:0042:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials21:002:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture42:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00Student Led
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00Staff Led
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1210:00120:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This is an advanced module, with students being challenged to develop their own ways of thinking about complex issues. It is therefore necessary to give students room to develop and refine those ways of thinking. Online lecture material will be provided at the introduction and conclusion of the module to highlight and bring together various themes that arise within the context of the module. Each of the four main problem areas will be covered over a period of three weeks. In the first week, the lecturer will outline the problem area and relevant difficulties. In the second week, small group teaching will be conducted in which students will be given the opportunity to flesh out and discuss those difficulties in more detail. These small groups will be teacher led. In the third week, there will be further small group teaching in which specific readings will be closely examined. These small groups will be student led with specific students being allocated responsibility to lead the discussion that week. This method of teaching allows students to fully engage with the problem areas being covered. Analytical skills will be modelled by staff in the teacher led small groups and students will have opportunity to develop their own skills in the student led small groups.

Drop-in/Surgery time is provided in this module as part of the Law School assessment and feedback policy such that markers and/or module leaders will offer the opportunity for one-to-one oral feedback on students' work, in addition to written feedback on coursework front sheets and generic class feedback. The time given above is merely indicative and more time may be scheduled if necessary to meet the demand for individual feedback.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster2M40Students will present a poster on an allocated reading in a student led small group. (15 mins)
Research paper2M60Students will complete a research paper on any one of the four problem areas of their choice - 3000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will be required to give a poster presentation and to lead the discussion in one of the student led small group sessions (either individually, or in a pair – as determined by student). The presentation will be on an allocated piece of reading and students will be required to demonstrate the significance of the reading and how it has affected their own way of thinking about the particular problem area of private law being considered.

During the semester, students will be required to reflect on how their analytical skills have developed in the course of the module. Students will use a reflective log to record observations about how those skills have developed.

Finally, students will be required to demonstrate the skills developed in the module by completing a research project on one of the problem areas covered in the module. Students can choose which problem area they conduct their research project on, but it must be different from the problem area in which the student gave a poster presentation.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.