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Study information

Legal Foundations

Module titleLegal Foundations
Module codeLAW1036
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Louise Loder (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Legal Foundations provides you with a broad and critical understanding of the structure and functions of law and the English and UK legal systems. In the module, you will examine core legal principles and concepts, interrogate lawyering and the role of lawyers, and explore dispute resolution, including, but not limited to, the system and hierarchy of the courts and tribunals. Through the module, you will begin to appreciate how the law is applied, performed and experienced in practice. In short, Legal Foundations is a fascinating and dynamic introduction to law, legal systems and the legal profession.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module provides you with a foundational, and thus vital, understanding of the nature of law, legal principles and legal practice. In particular, the module is designed with the intention of supporting you in developing the necessary academic, legal, theoretical, practical and ethical knowledge, awareness and skills that are foundational to both 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 (with guidance) the basic organisation and structure of the English and UK legal systems, including core underlying concepts and principles;
  • 2. identify and select relevant information from legal source material using appropriate interpretative techniques, and demonstrate an understanding of legal reasoning and its application;
  • 3. demonstrate understanding of relevant legal practice, social, economic, political, historical, philosophical, ethical and cultural contexts within which the law operates.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. demonstrate understanding of a range of legal concepts, values, principles, institutions and procedures, and the ability to explain the relationships among them;
  • 5. make an informed judgement about the merits and relevance of particular information and make reasoned choices between alternative solutions or arguments;
  • 6. communicate technical legal information and argument effectively and concisely, in a manner appropriate to the discipline.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. take responsibility for your own learning and manage time efficiently in preparing for learning activities;
  • 8. identify, retrieve and efficiently use a range of resources (with some guidance);
  • 9. work independently within a limited time frame to complete a specified task.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:   


  • Law, lawyers and legal systems
  • Case law and legislation as primary sources of law
  • Legal reasoning and problem solving in law
  • Dispute resolution (including mediation, negotiation and advocacy)
  • Experiences of law
  • Access to justice


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 Activities3020 x 1.5 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2010 x 2 hour seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities88 x 1 hour Q & A sessions
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities62Summative assessments preparation
Guided Independent Study31Formative assessments preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online multiple-choice test30 minutes1-3, 5, 7-9Online automated written feedback and guidance
Reflective essay plan350 words1-8Individual written feedback

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
Legal reasoning examination (take-home)502 hours intended duration (within a 24-hour submission window)1-9Individual written feedback and general whole cohort feedback
Reflective essay501,500 words1-8Individual written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Legal reasoning examination (take-home)Legal reasoning examination (take-home; same as above)1-9August/September re-assessment period
Reflective essayReflective essay (1,500 words)1-8August/September re-assessment period

Re-assessment notes


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Finch E and Fafinski S, Legal Skills (8th edn, OUP 2021)
  • Gillespie A and Weare S, The English Legal System (8th edn, OUP 2021)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Legal practice, legal profession, legislation, case law, judicial precedent, legal ethics, legal skills, law reform

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date