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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: LAW3039 Module Title: JURISPRUDENCE
Module Provider: School of Law Short Name: LAW335
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: MARRIOTT JE Dr (Schl of Law)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability


Assessment Pattern
Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)
Coursework seminar paper
Coursework seminar feedback exercise
Qualifying Condition(s)
Module Overview

Jurisprudence is concerned with general theoretical questions about law as a central feature of society.  The answers to these questions are not settled.  Through examining the positions of pre-eminent legal theorists Jurisprudence attempts to address the following questions:



·        What is law?


·        How do legal theories add to our understanding of enforceable rules?


·        What is the relationship between



o        Law and morality?


o        Law and obedience?


o        Law and power?


o        Law and economics?



·        What is justice?


·        What is fairness?


·        Why does the state have authority over and individual and what is the theoretical basis of that authority?


·        What are rights?


·        How do different legal theories complement or oppose one another?



Module Aims

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the wide spectrum of questions about the nature of law and its social and political functions.  Students will examine the relationships between law, morals, ethics and politics and study the nature of legal institutions and legal reasoning.  The principal objective is to enable students to think critically and in-depth about the nature of law and the legal organisation of society.  By the end of the course, students should be able to discuss intelligently the standpoints of some of the numerous theorists who have written on these matters and engage critically with central jurisprudential controversies

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module, students should be able to:




Demonstrate a basic understanding of the leading theories of law and legal philosophies




Identify arguments and critiques in the following:



  • Natural law


  • Positivism


  • Realism


  • Law and economics


  • Marxism


  • Rights


  • Justice


  • Critical legal studies


  • Other leading jurisprudential theories



and demonstrate understanding of the relationship between them.




Analyse issues of justice, fairness, equality and democracy from the perspective of legal theory




Analyse current issues from jurisprudential perspectives, such as:



  • Crime and punishment


  • Law and morality


  • Feminism


  • Islam


  • Citizenship, rights, duties and the state


  • Concepts of economics and efficiency



Apply acquired knowledge to problems




Undertake directed legal research to locate relevant materials



Module Content
  1. Introduction to Jurisprudence


  2. Legal Positivism


  3. Law and morality


  4. Rights


  5. Justice


  6. The Rule of Law


  7. Sociology of law and economic theories of law


  8. Marx


  9. American Legal Realism and Critical Legal Studies
  10. Feminist Legal theory
Methods of Teaching/Learning

Teaching is by lectures and seminars.  Students will be provided with clear signposts to background and supplementary reading.   Students will be expected to have completed the reading indicated as ‘required’, to have made some inroads into the reading designated ‘further’ and to have research and prepared tutorial questions thoroughly and fully.  The teaching and learning strategy is designed to stimulate private study using derivative and original sources, both paper based and electronic, and to develop an understanding and critical awareness of the essential principles and underlying philosophies and ethical values

Selected Texts/Journals

Recommended Text



Penner J McCoubrey & White’s Textbook on Jurisprudence ( Oxford : OUP 2008)



Other Selected Texts



Barnett H Sourcebook on Feminist Jurisprudence (London: Cavendish 1997)


Bix B Jurisprudence ( London : Sweet & Maxwell 2003) 3rd edition


Cotterrell R The Sociology of Law, (London: Butterworths 1984)


Davies and Holdcroft Jurisprudence Text and Materials (London: Butterworths 1999)


Duxbury N Patterns of American Jurisprudence (Oxford: OUP 1997)


Douzinas C and Gearey A Critical Jurisprudence ( Oxford : Hart 2004)


Freeman M Lloyds Introduction to Jurisprudence ( London : Sweet & Maxwell 2001) 7th edition


Harris J Legal Philosophies (London: Butterworths 1997) 2nd edition


McCoubrey H and White N Textbook on Jurisprudence (London: Blackstone, 1999) 3rd edition


McLeod I Legal Theory (Macmillan, 1999)


Morrison W Jurisprudence: from the Greeks to Post-Modernism (London: Cavendish 1997)


Patterson D (Ed) A Companion to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory (London: Blackwell 1997)


Penner J, Schiff D and Nobles R Introduction to Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, ( London : Butterworths 2002)


Riddall R Jurisprudence (London: Butterworths 1999) 2nd edition


Simmonds N Central Issues in Jurisprudence ( London : Sweet and Maxwell 2002)


Wacks R Understanding Jurisprudence ( Oxford : OUP 2005)


Waldron J Law and Disagreement (Oxford: OUP 1999)


Ward I An Introduction to Critical Legal Theory ( London : Cavendish 2004) 2nd edition



Selected Journals



Cambridge Law Journal


Columbia Law Review


Harvard Law Review


Law Quarterly Review


Oxford Journal of Legal Studies


Yale Law Journal


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