Module Catalogue

LAW1110 : Legal Institutions and Method

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Joshua Jowitt
  • Lecturer: Dr Ruth Houghton
  • Other Staff: Mrs Beverley Smith
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0

Aims

The Legal Institutions and Method module has three inter-related principal aims:

(i) To provide an introduction to the legal system of England and Wales;

(ii) To help you develop and practice fundamental critical, transferable and legal skills for use in the other subjects that you will study at Newcastle; and

(iii) To engage you in critical reflection about the law.

Outline Of Syllabus

The Legal Institutions and Methods module is structured around four main areas:

(i) Legal Institutions of England and Wales;

•       An overview of legal institutions;
•       The structure and functions of courts;
•       Legislation and statutory interpretation;
•       The theory and practice of judicial precedent;
•       European Union Law and the European Convention on Human Rights with respect to precedent and statutory interpretation

(ii) The civil and criminal justice systems;

•       Trials and Appeals;
•       Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR);

(iii) Law and Equality

•       Equality and diversity in the legal professions;
•       Equality and diversity in the judiciary.

(iv) Legal Reasoning;

•       Legal formalism;
•       Legal realism;
•       Legal positivism;
• Natural law theories;
• Critical Legal Studies (CLS)

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion601:0060:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials341:0034:001 hour lecture recording
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading61:006:00Watch recorded court hearing from UK Court Appeal or UK Supreme Court
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities261:0026:00Directed reading of case and commentary extracts, with reflective questions.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00synchronous small group seminar sessions
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion101:0010:00e.g MCQs with feedback
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery181:0018:00Synchronous Q&A, Drop in
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study2141:00214:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion201:0020:00Online Discussion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk41:004:00Feed back hours, drop in and feed forward.
Total400:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials: Lectures & lecture replacement materials aim to provide an overview of the background and main principles. Lectures will be delivered in shorter segments (c.30mins) and supported with structured online guidance and activities.

Structured research and reading activities: alongside the lecture materials, students will be directed towards cases or academic articles and will be asked a series of reflective questions; this will further develop their understanding of the areas and provide an opportunity to practice critical analysis of the sources being read.
Structured non-synchronous discussion: this will predominately take the form of formative quizzes that will support lecture and seminar materials and provide students with an opportunity to test their knowledge and understanding of key concepts, ideas and principles. Quizzes will have answers, therefore providing instant feedback and guidance on individual performance.

Online Discussion: online discussion forum will be created per seminar group, providing a space for students to work together on seminar preparation and lecture preparation, with input from members of the teaching team.
Independent study and Assessment preparation and completion: the independent study is dividing between preparing for lectures, preparing for seminars, consolidation of notes and revision, as well as preparing and completing assessments.

Directed research and reading: watching a recorded UK Court of Appeal or UK Supreme Court hearing and reading the associated judgment will provide students with an opportunity to relate what they have been learning about precedent, statutory interpretation and the criminal justice system to what happens in practice, developing further their understanding of the English legal system.

Small group teaching: these are in the form of seminars, they will provide an opportunity to develop oral, analytical and critical skills. Discussion is structured to consider questions focusing on key principles and problem areas. Some seminars will use problem style questions, providing opportunities for group-based in-depth skills and knowledge development in relation to the application of the law to complex factual scenarios. Other seminars will focus discussion around debate propositions or essay style statements. These components will provide formative practice opportunities ahead of the summative assessments. There will be eight one-hour small group sessions over the course of the module (4 in Semester One and 4 in Semester Two). All seminars will be synchronous events (whether online or present-in-person).

Module Talk: this includes, feedforward sessions on assessments and feedback sessions on assessments. This provides students with an opportunity to ask a member of the teaching team questions and to receive feedback.
Drop-in/ Surgery: these drop-in style sessions will provide students with an opportunity to ask a member of the teaching team questions about the module and substantive questions about the content.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M25Problem solving exercise. Students will be required to write 1,500 words (max)
Written exercise1M25essay on criminal justice system. Students will be required to write 1,500 words (max)
Essay2M25Students will be required to write a 2,000 word essay (max) on equality and diversity in the legal professions
Essay2M25Students will be required to write a 2,000 word essay (max) on legal reasoning
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MWritten excercise. Students will be required to write 500 words (max)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative assessment is comprised of two Written Exercises in Semester 1 and two summative Essays in Semester 2. These assessments provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the range of topics within the syllabus.

One Written Exercise addresses a fictitious scenario. Students will be required to research and apply knowledge of statutory interpretation, precedent, and Alternative Dispute Resolution to problem-solve.

One Written Exercise is in the form of an essay that responds to a video impetus, students will be required to reflect on what they have watched.

The two Semester 2 summative essays require students to engage in independent research and they engage critical, analytical and evaluative skills, as well as the ability to write with care and precision.
Students are required to undertake one formative assessment in Semester 1, providing students with the opportunity to practice their written skills and the cognitive skills of analysis. Moreover, structured online learning activities and seminars have been designed to focus on the skills development necessary for the summative work.

Reading Lists

Timetable