module specification

LL4001 - Legal System (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Legal System
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
 
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Reflective Log (Problem Based Exercise)
Coursework 60%   Problem Based exercise
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Tuesday Morning
Year City Tuesday Afternoon
Year (Spring and Summer) City Tuesday Morning

Module summary

Legal Systems comprises an introduction to English Legal Systems in historical and international context. It includes basic outline of sources of law, law making process, institutional and court structure and legal actors within the English Legal system together with consideration of international and comparative models of law and basic legal theory.

To successfully transact Legal Systems requires students to locate legal material, read and understand primary and secondary legal material and recognise and develop at an introductory level the basic legal skills of preparation, representation and advocacy required of professionals or successful actors within legal systems.

The module (30 credits) will run for 30 weeks to year 1 (level 4) students. It will be delivered by way of a flexible programme of lectures, seminars, workshops and external activities (court visits and other appropriate legal forum or institution) supplemented by online (WebLearn) support.

There are no prerequisites. Assessment will be by portfolio arising from class based exercises (40%) and a problem based exercise (60%)      

Prior learning requirements

None

Module aims

The aims of Legal Systems is the following;

To develop in students a knowledge of law creation, the rule of law and judicial process in theory and in practice. This will include;

History and background to English Legal Systems

Knowledge of English legal institutions and the role of legal professionals within them

Awareness of other state-based and international systems of law

To develop in students the ability to recognise and describe the main characteristics and features of contemporary legal environments and the operation of the rule of law. These would include;

Knowledge of UK court and tribunal structures

Knowledge of the role of legal professionals

Basic knowledge of the rule of law and judicial review

To develop in students practical professional and academically-related skills to engage successfully within the English Legal process. Such skills include;

Accurate reading of legal material

Ability to distinguish legal context and material from non-legal material (interview skills)

Concise note taking and ability to summarise

Ability to prepare for cases within a variety of legal and legally-related forum

Awareness and knowledge of skills required for advocacy within professional and institutional-defined fora

Syllabus

Source of English Legal System
Court structures (including tribunals and alternative dispute resolution)
Reading case law
Legal people (legal professionals and other people working in the English Legal System or other legally-related areas)
International and comparative dimensions to law (for full details see supplementary paper – English Legal Systems)

Learning and teaching

The Learning and Teaching strategy for this module will comprise a blend of lectures (formal sessions including outside speakers), seminars and workshops supported by WebLearn. The strategy will be to develop knowledge of legal systems and their operation by reference to specific professional and legally-related skills

Student study will require attendance at all sessions and a record of such attendance (to be included as part of their PDP – 40% assessment).

Essential requirements of the PDP assessment (summative) will be evidence of all formative assessment and of individual student-centred reflection and action based upon this;

Formative assessment will include the following:

Library exercises, finding legal sources (completed end of sessions 6) (formative) – this will be a WebLearn exercise

Mapping a case (completed end of session 10) (formative)

Case note (completed end of session 12) (formative)

Legal representation (completed within sessions 16-19) (formative)

This will include material produced by students in the course of the formative exercises together with specific individualised feedback from module tutors related to individual student performance. As part of the iterative and reflective learning students will be required to demonstrate knowledge and reflective action consequent upon the individualised feedback

Rapid feedback is a key element of this strategy. This will be provided in two ways;

Specific individualised feedback given within a maximum of two weeks for all seminar and workshop exercises

Generic feedback available for all formative assessment exercises on WebLearn within the same time frame

Learning outcomes

1. On completing the module students will know and understand;
(a) systems of law creation, interpretation and application,
(b) court structures, judicial process, tribunal justice and alternative dispute resolution in practice,
(c) statutory interpretation and how to read and understand case law,
(d) the rule of law in application and practice,
(e) basic legal theory

2. On completing the module the student will be able to;
(a) locate, identify and explain key feature and characteristics of legal systems,
(b) identify and summarise key elements of statute and case law,
(c) identify and exemplify basic professional and legally based skills and tools required for successful advocacy (interviews, note-taking, mooting)
(d) identify basic international legal actors, legal instruments and their legal effect,
(e) distinguish at a basic level characteristics of natural and positive legal theory

The critical values that inform this module are;
Recognition of professional skills
Contextual and intellectual understanding of institutional form and practice

The academic and professional content of this module concentrates on legal systems, focuses on English Legal System, but includes some comparative and theoretical context

The most important intellectual skills developed in this module are;
the basic ability to identify, distinguish and explain legal materials (including web-based material)
the basic ability to distinguish rule of law from other social structures or political regimes

The most important practical and professional skills developed on this module are;
The ability to source, identify and use legal material relevant to appropriate institutional and professional context
Concise and appropriate summary for legal purposes (for example client interview)
Basic advocacy skills and techniques

The most important ways a student will learn these skills will be by applying hard legal content (delivered through lectures and other such forum) by tested exercise and example (seminar/workshop/library based and/or web based information retrieval)

Assessment strategy

The distinctive feature of the assessment strategy for this module involves interlocking and mutually-supportive formative and summative assessment.

Formative assessment will be primarily delivered within seminar/workshop sessions. The aim will be to test the knowledge based aspects of the course by use of specific legal practice based exercises requiring application and demonstration of basic academic and professional skills such as note-taking, representation within legal contexts and basic knowledge of advocacy (see section 15 for details).

Summative assessment will comprise two exercises;

Reflective Log (PRP) 40% (word limit; 2000 words). Essential elements of this will include evidence of specific individual student interactive engagement and achievement in all elements of the formative assessment throughout all teaching and learning contexts itemised within the module contents/activities (as itemised in the module booklet and on WebLearn). This will require inclusion of seminar-based individual academic feedback of student reflection/action consequent upon it.

Evaluation of RL (PRP) will include;
Evidence of active, critical and self-reflective student engagement in the formative exercises
Evidence of student reflection and action consequent upon academic feedback (for formative exercises)
Organisation, structure and clarity of presentation of reflective log.

The reflective log will assess module outcomes  2(a-e)*

Problem based exercise 60% (word limit; 3000 words). This will comprise a paper-based exercise that will involve students advising, tracking and critiquing a case-study from start (legal interview) to completion (court of appeal or supreme court or ECJ). Students will be given a choice of case study. All material for the case study will be included on WebLearn by week 16 (for example notes from client meetings and case reports at lower/higher courts, simulated interviews with relevant legal professionals and their clients). Aspects of the case study (for example client interview) will include simulated film material.

Evaluation of the PBE will include the following;
Evaluation of successful interview, note-taking etc.
Identification of key aspects of case reports and basis for appeal (where appropriate)
Critical consideration of success and/or failure in the case
Critical reflections on views and performance of professional and non-professional actors involved in the case

The problem based exercise will assess module outcomes 1(a-e)*  

*Please note that the formative and summative modes of assessment are interlocked. Material for both the summative assessment will require students to critique their own group and individual performance in the formative exercises identified above and in section 15. This will include acknowledgement and critical reflection on tutor feedback from the formative assessment.

Bibliography

Focused material will comprise

Dedicated module textbook & online material/practice exercises, Pearson Press – This will comprise relevant published material relating to Legal Systems and specific additions written or compiled by London Met law staff that track the module syllabus

Additional Material will include

The English Legal System, Gary Slapper, Taylor & Francis, Routledge Press

Online material will include the following;

Westlaw
Lexis Library
Halsbury's Laws (online)