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LAW3032 : Legal Theory

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Richard Mullender
  • Lecturer: Dr Joshua Jowitt, Dr Emilia Mickiewicz
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To provide an understanding of the leading schools of legal theory, and to appreciate their understanding within wider intellectual movements. To develop the particular theoretical, critical and interdisciplinary skills that are appropriate to legal study. To develop the various skills listed below. To encourage students to contemplate post-graduate work in this field. This aim reflects the fact that, over many years, students taking this course have gone on to study legal theory as post-graduates.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction to Legal Theory.

Natural Law (the Classical Tradition and Procedural Natural Law)

Legal Positivism

American Legal Realism

Ronald Dworkin

Alan Gewirth’s Contribution to Secular Natural Law and its Practical Applications

Law, Power, and Political Philosophy (examining John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Carl Schmitt, and Michel Foucault)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion671:0067:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials21:002:00Two recorded lectures and accompanying lecture material (text) published on Canvas
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Q&A on Zoom.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1100:00100:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The use of lecturing as the principle teaching method is justified in terms of providing an overarching narrative coherence to the course. It is necessary in order to secure the requisite knowledge base needed in order to underpin stated learning outcomes. Seminars are used in order to effect the development of a critical and contextual understanding of the various theories of law covered in the lectures. Private study is directed so as to supplement the development of seminar skill, to confirm the establishment of the basic knowledge base, and to concentrate research skills in particular areas of individual study.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M1003000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A research-based essay assignment is the most appropriate means by which to assess the development skills (in the areas of analysis, argument, research), whilst also making it possible for students to demonstrate the development of necessary subject-specific knowledge bases.

Reading Lists