module specification

LL6P01 - Law Dissertation (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Law Dissertation
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
288 hours Guided independent study
12 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Individual written assignment 1,500 words
Coursework 80%   Project 10,000 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module examines issues and controversies in Law and exposes students to contemporary legal issues.  Students are able to research a subject of their choice in detail and will be required to explore their personal development plan in the context of future career direction.  The module will further develop students’ abilities to research a legal topic, interpret and analyse information and evaluate their findings in the context of the contemporary environment.  It draws upon students’ knowledge, understanding and skills developed in earlier modules, allowing students to carry out in-depth research into a topic of their choosing.

Students will also be directed as to appropriate research methodologies. Staff teaching on the module will also provide an overview of a number of contemporary legal issues as well as enabling students to develop effective strategies for dealing with their future career directions.

Prior learning requirements

Complete Level 4 and 5 or equivalent

Module aims

1. To develop students’ ability to identify legal problems in their chosen area of law and to develop critical awareness of the problems associated in this field
2. To develop further students’ ability to organise and synthesise large amounts of information in order to present key issues at an early stage in their research
3. To develop further students’ independent research skills, in particular, those relating to information handling and electronic data sources
4. To encourage continuing development of students ability to analyse and evaluate legal materials
5. To encourage a continuing interest in current legal issues and to foster an awareness of individual future direction
6. To further develop students’ awareness of the range of career opportunities in the legal field and to provide a further opportunity for students to reflect on their progress, achievements and future direction
This module also aims to develop students’ skills, in particular:
• Academic reading
• Researching
• Analysing data
• Academic writing/literacy
• Written communication
• Critical thinking and writing
• Problem solving and decision-making
• Self/time management
• Self-assessment/reflection
• Digital literacy and IT skills
• Enterprise skills
• Career management skills


1. Selecting a topic/researching information: identifying relevant contemporary law issues, sources of information, including electronic sources
2. Appropriate methodologies/frameworks for analysis: research design, desk based research, relevance of field based research. Primary and secondary sources
3. Ethical and social issues: overview of a range of issues including business ethics and corporate social responsibility, codes of professional conduct, confidentiality and intellectual property rights
4. Format, Structure and Content: planning, writing up, layout and referencing
5. Personal development planning, skills audit, future career planning.

Learning and teaching

The first part of the module comprises a series of workshops designed to provide the context for the research intensive work to be undertaken by the students.  The intention is to give students the requirements for a legal research project, to provide sufficient context by way of introduction to legal ideologies and to set out appropriate research methodologies. 

The second part of the module is designed to get the students to think about their specific area of research and the skills needed in order to complete the project successfully.  A skills audit will be undertaken and gaps in knowledge will be filled.  A research proposal and suitable hypothesis will be drafted before the Christmas vacation.

The third part of the module is designed to allow the students to fulfil their independent learning capabilities.  They will be carrying out their research and liaising with their tutors on a regular basis.  Specific activities will be required to ensure students are keeping on top of their research.

The fourth part of the module will require students to undertake further elements of personal development planning and reflective writing.  This will be linked to future career direction.

The workshops throughout this module will enable students to acquire relevant knowledge, to analyse, synthesise and evaluate relevant information and to assess their progress in the context of a structured research project.  Materials will be used from a wide range of sources, including electronic sources and students will be able to hone their research skills in a variety of ways.  In addition, there may be opportunities for students to be involved in a mentoring scheme and other work based initiatives.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module students will be able to
1. Identify and formulate a suitable proposal for research and integrate appropriate theory
2. Demonstrate knowledge and exercise key skills in a supportive working environment
3. Keep abreast of legal developments in the legal field, including current ethical debates
4. Demonstrate their ability to seek, handle and interpret data by carrying out in-depth research, including the use of relevant electronic data sources
5. Demonstrate their ability to analyse critically contemporary legal issues and make ethical evaluations
6. Demonstrate a profile of personal and professional skills within the context of future career direction

Assessment strategy

This module is assessed in a number of ways.  The first assessment will require students to formulate a research proposal and to reflect on the legal environment and their individual research skills.  This assessment will be instrumental in identifying gaps in practical skills necessary for a research project.  Students will reflect on their skills using a skills audit and will put in place a strategy to address identified gaps.  This assessment will also address students’ information handling skills.

The second assessment will assess, in particular, students’ ability to analyse information critically and to be at the forefront of a contemporary business law issue. The process of completing the project will also require students to submit a learning log detailing a minimum number of meetings with their supervisor and associated tasks. Students will be required to submit tasks to their supervisor throughout the teaching year in order to obtain formative feedback as agreed between the student and the supervisor .


NB Students must use the most recent edition of the books cited.

Holborn, G, Butterworths Legal Research Guide,  (Oxford University Press)
Knowles, J, Effective Legal Research, (Sweet and Maxwell)
Salter, M, & J Mason, Writing law dissertations: an introduction and guide to the conduct of legal research,  (Pearson/Longman)
Stott, D, Legal Research, (Cavendish)