module specification

LL4001 - Legal System (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Legal System
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Written Report
In-Course Test 30%   Multiple Choice Test
Coursework 50%   Primary Source Analysis (1,500 - 2,000 words)
Running in 2020/21

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

Legal System is a core module for the LL.B. courses and the BA in Law, which introduces students to the workings of the English Legal System in its historical, contemporary and international context.

It includes the study of the sources of law, the law making process, the institutional and court structure, the legal profession and the roles of legal actors within the English Legal system.

It also enables students to start to acquire the fundamental academic and professional skills necessary for the undergraduate study of law. In this way, it provides a solid support both for the other first year modules, and also for the remainder of the degree course and beyond into professional practice.

Students learn how to locate legal material; to read and understand primary and secondary sources of law (paper based and electronic); and to recognise and develop at an introductory level the practical and professional legal skills of advocacy, legal research and legal writing. These skills are be applied in the context of primary legal materials used in their other modules.


Sources of English Law  LO 1 and 2
Court structures and hierarchies  LO 1 and 2
Civil and criminal procedure  LO 1 and 2
Reading, understanding and interpreting case law  LO 1 and 2
Statutory interpretation.  LO 1 and 2
The legal profession  LO 1
International and comparative dimensions to law  LO 1 and 2
Human Rights.  LO 1 and 2
Judicial review  LO 1 and 2
Academic writing skills for law.  LO 2
Referencing and citation using the OSCOLA system  LO 2


Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning and Teaching Strategy

Weekly two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar. 

The lecture will be used for:

Dissemination of knowledge through an overview of each topic with detailed guidance on appropriate aspects;
An introduction to relevant academic literature;
Guidance on learning strategies;
Use of blackboard and IT resources;
Whole group questions and discussion.

The seminar will be used for:

Development of skills necessary to attain the module learning outcomes through:
Written and oral questions/answers designed to reinforce fundamental rules/principles/cases;
A range of step by step writing exercises;
IT tasks such as research of cases and statutes
Legal writing

Blended Learning

All learning materials, previous examination questions and sample Q/A’s will be on blackboard for use in directed private study.

Student engagement will be encouraged in both lectures and seminars through weekly use of Weblearn for access to all of the above materials.

There will be required use of the professional legal databases, especially Westlaw and Lexis Library, for legal research

Opportunities for reflective learning/pdp

Each weekly seminar will contain space for students to reflect on what they have learnt in relation to the overall syllabus. There will be frequent feedback opportunities structured into the timetable and a range of sample answers posted onto Weblearn.


Employability strategy will aim to acquaint students with a range of employment avenues both in the legal profession and in those professions into which legal qualifications and skills are transferable.

Students’ Study Responsibilities

The need for attendance, punctuality, preparation and engagement will be emphasised with particular reference to written and IT research, problem-solving, team-work, discussion, debate and critical awareness of the subject.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the students will be able to:

1. Identify the key elements of the English Legal System.

2. Review and discuss primary source materials.

Assessment strategy

Written Report

A summative assessment given in the second week of the course by which the students will locate and report on a news story with a legal edge. This will give them an early indication of the progress they are making on the course and enable them to contextualise some of the classes given to that date.

2. Multiple choice in-class test

This will assess knowledge of a wide range of factual topics.

3. Primary Source Analysis

Written case or statute review exercise. This will assess the ability to prepare and present a written discussion of primary source materials, which is a fundamental skill for the study of any subject in law.


Core Texts:
Goldstone, B, The Barrie-Guide to the English Legal System (London Met)
Gillespie, A and Weare, S, The English Legal System (OUP)

Other Texts:

Finch E and Fafinski S, Legal Skills (OUP)
McVea H and Crumper P, Exam Skills for Law Students (OUP)
Strong SI, How To Write Law Essays and Exams (OUP)


Law Quarterly Review

Electronic Databases:

Westlaw and Lexis Library