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Study information

Legal Foundations 1

Module titleLegal Foundations 1
Module codeLAW1023C
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Mrs Camilla Gee (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module gives you  a broad and critical understanding of the structure and functions of law and the English legal system. In this module you will:

  • start to develop key academic, study and legal skills;
  • explore the primary sources of English law, the court hierarchy and common law systems ;
  • begin your critical examination of the role of lawyers, professional ethics and access to justice.

The skills and learning on this module can be further developed in the module ‘Legal Foundations 2’ (LAW1024C).

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aims of this module are:

  1. to provide you with a foundational understanding of the nature of law, legal principles and legal practice;
  2. to begin the process of equipping you with the necessary legal, theoretical, and ethical knowledge required for the study and practice of law;
  3. to equip you with  critical thinking, writing, teamwork and other skills needed to flourish in the study and practice of law.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. identify and analyse the basic organisation and structure of the English legal system, including core underlying concepts and principles;
  • 2. demonstrate understanding of legal practice, legal ethics and access to justice within the social, economic, political, historical and cultural contexts within which law operates

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. demonstrate understanding of foundational principles and the structure of the English legal system
  • 4. communicate technical legal information and argument effectively and concisely in a manner appropriate to the discipline
  • 5. make an informed judgement about the merits and relevance of particular information and make reasoned choices between alternative solutions or arguments

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. take responsibility for your own learning and manage time efficiently in preparing for and completing learning activities;
  • 7. identify, retrieve and efficiently use a range of resources (with some guidance).

Syllabus plan

Please note that this module is exclusively available to students on the Cornwall campuses and differs  from the Legal Foundations module available on the Streatham Campus.


Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover at least some of the following topics:   

  • Structure of the English legal system
  • Sources of law and statutory interpretation
  • Judicial precedent and reading cases
  • Common law and civil law jurisdictions
  • The role of lawyers and professional ethics
  • Access to justice

Academic skills are embedded throughout the course.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities1010 x 1-hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities7.55 x 1.5-hour teacher-led seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities44 x 1-hour legal and study skills workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities32 x 1.5-hour assessment surgery
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 x 1-hour online case reading meetings
Guided Independent Study44 x 1-hour ‘law firm’ peer-led meetings
Guided Independent Study36Individual reading and preparation for tasks
Guided Independent Study27Seminar and workshop preparation (individual and with groups)
Guided Independent Study20Formative Assessment preparation
Guided Independent Study36.5Summative Assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Multiple Choice ExerciseUp to 30 minutes1, 3, 5-7Automated feedback
Case notes x 2800 words3-7Peer- assessed
Group poster presentationUp to 15 minutes1-7Oral feedback from tutor and peers in seminar

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio of autumn term work1001,800 words1-7Individual written feedback.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Portfolio of autumn term work (1,800 words)Resubmission of portfolio (1,800 words)1-7August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • J. Holland and J. Webb, ‘Learning Legal Rules’ (11th edn, OUP 2022).
  • R. Hyams, S. Campbell & A. Evans, ‘Practical Legal Skills: Developing Your Clinical Technique’ (4th edn, OUP 2014).
  • E. Finch and S. Fafinski, ‘Legal Skills’ (8th edn, OUP, 2021)
  • E. Higgins and L. Tatham, ‘Successful Legal Writing’, (3rd edn, Sweet & Maxwell, 2015)
  • S. Wilson, H. Rutherford, T. Storey, N. Wortley, and B. Kotecha, English Legal System, (5th edn, OUP, 2022).
  • M. Partington, Introduction to the English Legal System, (15th edn, OUP, 2021)

You may also find Imogen Moore and Craig Newbery-Jones, ‘The Successful Law Student: An Insider's Guide to Studying Law’ (2nd edn OUP 2022) very useful.


There are other more specific books, which will be referred to for different stages of the module, and multiple copies of these are available in the Penryn Campus Library.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE –
  • An online reading list suggesting further reading and resources can be accessed via the Legal Foundations ELE page, and will be updated throughout the year. You are encouraged to make use of these resources to further your knowledge and understanding.

Key words search

Law, foundations, legal skills

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date