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LAW3031 : Succession (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Derek Whayman
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


To equip students with a sound grounding in and critical appreciation of the law and aspects of practice of the Law of Succession.

Succession involves a detailed examination of the legal mechanisms for the transmission of property on death. The module also seeks to set the development of the law in its context and, in addition, offers practical insights into this important area of law.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus includes the Law of Wills, the Law of Intestacy (this is the law governing the devolution of property where there is no will) and Inheritance Provision. The latter topic involves consideration of circumstances in which a person who does not inherit by will or on intestacy can claim against a deceased's estate to gain some benefit from the deceased.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities50:302:30MCQs as to (i) basic learning outcomes and (ii) ‘gotchas’; the latter feeding into further study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1104:30104:30N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures augment learning from the textbook and articles. The lectures are required in order to provide a coherent and structured introductory exposition of very technical law (knowledge outcomes noted above). The new, enhanced seminar/small-group system encourages the development of the skills outcomes noted above. That is:

The students will read the texts and attend the lectures. They will then attend a student-led discussion. This is the whole cohort (between 20 and 40), divided into small groups concentrating on directed questions and reading. Each ‘student reporter’ will summarise their group’s finding in the plenary. The module leader will respond, directing what to study further in order to write a better seminar answer.

The students will then attempt the seminar problems, making use of the drop-in surgery or discussion board as necessary. In the seminar, the seminar leader will help the students bridge the gap between these matters and writing a complete answer to a problem or essay. Students should then reflect on that gap.

I.e. this is a reflective learning cycle.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination1351A75A problem-focused black letter law module requires assessment by examination. INSPERA TIME-LIMITED INVIGILATED EXAM.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M252000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessed essay provides an opportunity to demonstrate research, writing and the analytical, synthetical, critical and evaluation skills. It requires the students to spend longer deepening their understanding and making connections across related doctrines and norms. It requires examination of how these norms and doctrines can or might work together in harmony or in tension. It requires the identification of how one constrains another, or how a change in one changes another. Such matters require considerable development of their ideas across a long period of time.

At a basic level, examination provides the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the knowledge-based outcomes of the syllabus. It also precludes, for the most part, skipping large parts of the module and even cheating. But memorisation is a lesser objective. More important is that examination provides: (i) the opportunity to demonstrate problem solving skills; and (ii) mental agility: the ability to juggle and manipulate a (necessarily limited) number of concepts held at one's fingertips, 'thinking on one's feet', making connections with limited resources/materials and 'responding to productive pressure'. There are very important skills to lawyers. Moreover, problem solving inherently requires a limited amount of time. Too much time, and the examination no longer measures problem solving ability, but instead a student's brute-force persistence in coming up with possibilities and weighing them up. Allowing too much time for such questions sends the wrong signal to students, that one needs not have the concepts at one's fingertips, but instead can simply look up the basics as and when they are needed. This dissuades them from developing the skills we want to inculcate, and inhibits their intellectual growth.

As noted in the assessment framework, the use of a low-stakes summative assessment can be more beneficial than a formative assessment, hence the arrangement. The students are incentivised to complete it because it carries weight through to the finals, but not so much weight that it can be highly damaging if things go wrong. Thus its feedback element is a big reason for this arrangement.

Reading Lists