module specification

LL6050 - Jurisprudence (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Jurisprudence
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Research-Based Essays (2,500 - 3,000 words)
Running in 2020/21
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to jurisprudence or legal theory, covering basic theoretical and ethical perspectives on the law. Students will receive a sound understanding of the theories of different jurisprudential schools of thought and the contributions made to legal thinking by leading jurists from the Ancient Greeks to contemporary thinkers. The aim is to provide students with background knowledge of the science or philosophy of law. Students will learn how jurisprudence has contributed to the development of modern political, economic and legal systems. In addition, the course is placed in a modern setting and aims to raise contemporary ethical debates in order to raise awareness of the ethical background against which the law and legal practice needs to be understood.

The study of jurisprudence permits a fuller understanding of the rational and ethical values that underpin the law and systems of justice.

The Law Society (now Solicitors Regulatory Authority) has sought that legal training 'make awareness of and commitment to legal values, and the moral context of the law, mandatory in undergraduate law degrees ...' Law Society Preparatory Ethics Training for Future Solicitors March 2009)

Consequently, this course aims to achieve this outcome by:

1. providing students with an understanding of legal ideologies which have contributed to the development of legal, political and socio-economic systems in the world.
2. To explore philosophical questions relevant to legal systems, particularly concerning the relationship between law and morality.
3. To encourage students to recognize the ethical issues inherent in legal thinking and practice and to examine and articulate their own arguments in respect of such issues.
4. To develop the students’ powers of reasoning and critical thinking and to increase their awareness of the relevance of theoretical issues to practical problems.
5. To enable students to increase their capacity to work in teams cooperatively and effectively through participation in topical debates and to take initiative and responsibility in the context of such group work, so increasing competence in discussion and oral presentation.
6. 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
7. This module also aims to develop students’ skills, in particular:
• Academic reading
• Researching
• Data analyses
• Academic writing/literacy
• Written communication
• Critical thinking and writing
• Problem solving and decision-making
• Self/time management
• Self assessment/reflection
• IT skills

Prior learning requirements



Legal Ideology: an overview of leading legal ideologies     LO 1 and 2

Natural law
Feminist theory
Ethical theory.



Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching of this module is by lecture and seminar/workshop.

The lectures, for the most part, will be the main point for delivery of knowledge but students will be required to engage in directed research throughout the module.

The seminars will be interactive and will provide an opportunity for students to fully engage with the module and fulfil their research, analytical, teamwork and independent learning capabilities.

The students are required to read the original texts, journal articles and chapters from books constituting the essential reading, to discuss them in seminars, and to apply the relevant theories to specific issues of contemporary relevance. In class discussion and debates, students are expected to reach his/her own conclusions on the jurisprudential issues under discussion. This will assist them in grasping the principles of the subject and enhance their fluency when participating in assessments.

Students are encouraged to seek, handle and interpret information by reading critical commentaries on the relevant ideas and finding factual data that will enable them to apply the legal theories to the concrete issues dealt with in seminar discussions.

Each student will give an oral presentation to the class during the module, which will receive formative feedback and feedforward.

The module is designed to provide the context for the research intensive work to be undertaken by students. The intention is to equip students with the skills required for an understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of contemporary world systems.

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.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module, students will:

1. Be able to understand, analyse and critically evaluate the main tenets of the theories examined during the course, including both the relationship between law and morality and their practical relevance in the contemporary world.

2. Be able to relate the theories to the more concrete branches of the law and to transfer the analytical skills acquired during the course to those other disciplines.

Assessment strategy

Research-Based Essays (2,500 – 3,000 words)

A written paper (plus an appendix where appropriate) consisting of answers to a range of approved questions.

This will demonstrate the ability to research independently, synthesise and analysis information, to identify issues and to provide critical evaluation.



Core Texts:

McCoubrey & White’s Textbook on Jurisprudence, Penner, J.E., and Melissaris, E., 5th ed, 2012, Oxford University Press
Wacks, R., Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory, 4th ed. 2015, OUP.

Other Texts:

Bix, B. (2012) Jurisprudence: Theory and Context, Sweet and Maxwell, 6th Edition.
Mcleod, I. (2012) Legal Theory, Palgrave Macmillan, 6th Edition
Kramer, M.H., (2004) Where Law and Morality Meet, OUP, 1st ed.
Murphy, M.C., (2006) Natural law in Jurisprudence and Politics, Cambridge Uni Press, 1st ed.
Ward, I, (2004) An introduction to critical legal theory. Cavendish, 2nd ed
Lloyd, D, (2008) Lloyd’s Introduction to Jurisprudence. Sweet and Maxwell, 8th ed
Hart, H.L.A. The Concept of Law, with a postscript edited by Penelope A. Bulloch and Joseph Raz, 2nd ed. 1994, Oxford: Clarendon Press

Harris, J.W. (1997) Legal Philosophies.London, Butterworths 2nd ed


Legal Theory

Legal Studies

New York University Law Review

Harvard Law Rev

Electronic Databases:


Lexis Library