University of Chester

Programme Specification
Contemporary Legal Studies LLM
2017 - 2018

Master of Laws

Contemporary Legal Studies

Contemporary Legal Studies

University of Chester

University of Chester

Elgan Edwards Building, Parkgate Road campus, Chester

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 Year for full-time postgraduate or 2-3 years for part-time.

6 Years

Annual - October

N/A

M100

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Social Science Law

There are no subject benchmark statements for the Programme

N/A

Law Module Assessment Board

Monday 12th June 2017

The programme is designed for students with a legal background wishing to pursue further study and research into legal topics of contemporary interest. Students completing the LLM will have become competent and independent-minded and be in a position to transfer their skills and knowledge into a wide range of professional contexts within the legal sector and elsewhere.

EDUCATIONAL AIMS:

  • To offer students an opportunity to obtain detailed knowledge and a critical awareness of current legal issues in a variety of legal areas including an opportunity to explore and obtain a conceptual understanding of connections among various legal systems and the rules of comparative law;
  • To offer a dynamic and quality postgraduate experience which will enable students to deal with complex legal (and related issues) and be able to communicate their conclusions both to specialist and non-specialist audiences. The development of these attributes will be relevant to both working within the legal sector and elsewhere within the wider economy;
  • To promote sophisticated evaluation techniques so as to enable  students to develop critical, analytical and reflective approaches to the study of legal systems and the law;
  • To develop students understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship which will enable students to become autonomous and self directed scholars and researchers;
  • To provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate detailed and extensive knowledge on a specific legal question, to construct a sustained and coherent argument at length and to demonstrate a critical ability to apply appropriate research methods;
  • To create a supportive environment which will provide students with a wide range of transferable and employment-related skills which will include working collaboratively with others.

Students will gain a thorough grasp and understanding of the law within our legal system, and a knowledge and understanding of the range, nature and value of primary and secondary sources for the study of law.This will entail detailed knowledge and understanding in selected areas and issues which are examined as specific areas of law.

Module outcomes:

  • LA7001 Developing and Managing Research:

Knowledge and understanding of core research theories and methodologies used in social sciences.

  • LA7002 Conflict of Laws:

Knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts and issues in the field of conflicts of law.

  • LA7003 Legal Theory in the Common Law Tradition:

Knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of the Common Law and differing legal theories.

  • LA7006 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Law, Justice and Evidence:

Knowledge and understanding of the key institutions, processes and procedures in the criminal justice system of England and Wales.

  • LA7007 Employment and Discrimination Law:

Knowledge and understanding of government and EU policy in the area of employment, equality and discrimination.

  • LA7008 Personal Injury and Medical Negligence:

Knowledge and understanding of legal issues, public policy considerations and ethical arguments in the approach to personal injury and medical negligence.

  • LA7009 Dissertation:

Knowledge and understanding of the chosen pertinent issue in contemporary academic, policy and practice debates and the investigative techniques appropriate to this area.

  • LA7012 Environmental Justice:

Knowledge and understanding of different perspectives and challenges in the environmental justice paradigm.



 

Generally to have demonstrated the ability to read and use texts and other source materials both critically and empathetically while addressing content, context and perspective.

This will include the capacity to plan, conduct and present a programme of original research which applies scholarly conventions, and will, in addition,engage in critical self-reflection on their own oral and written communication skills.

  • LA7001 Developing and Managing Research:

The ability and skill to critically evaluate social science methodologies and apply to the design and management of legal studies research.

  • LA7002 Conflict of Laws:

The ability and skill to critically analyse conflicts of law and apply to factual situations.

  • LA7003 Legal Theory in the Common Law Tradition:

The ability and skill to critically evaluate origins and development of Common Law and differing legal theories.

  • LA7006 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Law, Justice and Evidence:

The ability and skill to critically evaluate  issues of contemporary legal debate in criminal law,justice and evidence, in addition to issues of reform and current research.

  • LA7007 Employment and Discrimination Law:

The ability and skill to critically evaluate current government policy and legislation, and the impact of EU legal development.

  • LA7008 Personal Injury and Medical Negiligence:

The ability and skill to critically evaluate legal issues,public policy and ethical arguments in the areas of personal injury and mdical law.

  • LA7009 Dissertation:

The ability and skill to critically evaluate material from various sources in order to examine a clearly identified research topic.

  •  LA7012 Environmental Justice:

The ability and skill to critically evaluate issues relating to global environmental justice. 

In relation to all modules:( LA7001-LA7012).

 

Transferable Professional Skills

Students will have developed the skills necessary for any employment requiring:

  • An understanding and sensitivity to the appropriate use of (legal) language in different situations.
  • Clear ability to communicate information persuasively and coherently either orally or in writing
  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations
  • The independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

In relation to certain modules.

  • Students will have demonstrated the skills of the researcher including bibliographical skills, selection and synthesis of primary and secondary sources,and the ability to provide original analysis in relation to questions appropriate to the discipline. ( in relation particularly to LA7001 and LA7009).
  • They will have presented and disseminated their oral and written work in accordance with academic conventions and in a reasoned, persuasive and structured way, and demonstrated self-discipline and self-direction in their work both alone and with others. (in relation particularly to LA7002, LA7003,  LA7006 and LA7012).
  • They will have learnt to  handle complex information systematically and coherently,make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and have used information technology as and when appropriate.(In relation particularly to LA7001, LA7007, LA7008 and LA7012).
  • This will include the development of analytical ability and the capacity to consider and solve complex problems, which will demonstrate intellectual integrity and maturity, empathy and insight and the use of a range of skills to a high level.(In relation particularly to LA7002,LA7003, LA7006, LA7007, LA7008 and LA7012).

 

Students will develop and have demonstrated that they can communicate effectively to a variety of audiences, both orally and in writing, this will include the ability to communicate information persuasively and coherently either orally or in writing. They will also have presented and disseminated their oral and written work in accordance with academic convention. Particularly in:

  • LA7001 Developing and Managing Research:

 Developed skills in relation to research, referencing and writing.

  • LA7002 Conflict of Laws:

 Developed skills in relation to research, debate and writing.

  • LA7003 Legal Theory in the Common Law Tradition:

 Developed skills in relation to research, debate and writing.

  • LA7006 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Law,Justice and Evidence:

 Developed skills in relation to research, presentation, debate and writing.

  • LA7007 Employment and Discrimination Law:

Developed skills in relation to research, debate and writing.

  • LA7008 Personal Injury and Medical Negligence:

 Developed skills in relation to research, debate and writing.

  • LA7009 Dissertation:

Developed skills in relation to research, referencing and writing.

  • LA7012 Environmental Justice

 Developed skills in relation to research, debate and writing.

 

The PG Certificate, the PG Diploma and the LLM are all target awards within this programme 

Students completing LA7001 Developing and Managing Research will gain the knowledge required to design and manage an independent research topic in the field of contemporary legal studies. Students will develop an appreciation of the common law tradition and how it fits into the English Legal System, through LA7003 Legal Theory in the Common Law, and more broadly with the international legal system through LA7002 Conflict of Laws. These are compulsory 20 credit modules and will allow students to develop and demonstrate a range of skills, knowledge and techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship. These attributes will be further developed and tested during the programme.

Student are given a choice of three specialised modules in the areas of tort, employment and discrimination, criminal and environmental law.  

Please note that all option modules reflect current staff research specialism and may not be offered every year. The programme team consider that a minimum of 10 students is required on each of the option modules to ensure that the learning activities in the taught sessions allow students to demonstrate a systematic understanding of the subject area.

The last semester will comprise of LA7009 (if full time) and the research proposal which forms the assessment for LA7001 should be the basis of the dissertation to be produced in this module. 

If the proposal includes a level of empirical research then that research proposal will be submitted to the Law School Ethics Committee at the start of the second semester.

The semester-based delivery offers students taking the programme on a part-time basis a greater level of flexibility.  Students may, for example, choose to take the entire first semester of modules in their first year and the second semester modules and dissertation the following year. 

Alternatively they may choose to take a different combination of modules across each semester and each year (for instance, 2+1 in Year 1; 1+2 and dissertation in Year 2).

Students studying the LLM for CPD credits would be able to satisfy the annual requirement by taking one taught module per year as each taught module has over 16 hours of teaching. 

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
LA7001 7 Developing and Managing Research 20 Comp
LA7002 7 Conflict of Laws 20 Comp
LA7003 7 Legal Theory in the Common Law 20 Comp
LA7004 7 Law in Literature & Film 20 N/A
LA7006 7 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Law,Justice & Evidence. 20 Optional
LA7007 7 Employment and Discrimination Law 20 Optional
LA7008 7 Personal Injury and Medical Law 20 Optional
LA7009 7 Dissertation 60 Comp
LA7012 7 Environmental Justice 20 Optional

Exit Awards:

Postgraduate Certificate:

60 credits.

A student can complete 3 X 20 credit Level 7 modules on the programme (out of those modules offered in the first two semesters) and exit with a post graduate certificate. 

Postgraduate Diploma:

120 credits.

If a student completes 6 X 20 credit Level 7 modules on the programme (out of those modules offered in the first two semesters) they can exit with a postgraduate diploma.

LLM (Masters in Law):

180 credits.

All students must complete 180 credits at Level 7 on this programme to exit with a LLM in Contemporary Legal Studies.

N/A

N/A

An applicant will need a minimum of a second-class honours degree, or the equivalent, in law or a combined law degree.

Alternatively a student will have either successfully completed the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) or have completed the Level 6 CILEX qualifications.

Credit exemption may be given for appropriate certified or experiential learning undertaken or completed within the previous five years (in line with the University of Chester’s policy on APL/APEL). 

Admission to this Programme is subject to written application and an acceptable entry qualification profile.

However applicants may also be asked to provide evidence of written work, and in some instances an interview may take place. 

Where the applicant is a recent graduate, the written work could take the form of an essay on an area of law which formed part of their undergraduate degree; other applicants may be invited to write a short essay (up to 1,500 words) on a current issue relating to the English Legal System. 

Applicants will be qualified at IELTS level 7 or equivalent (if English is not the applicant's first language).

There are as yet no subject benchmarks for the programme.

Accordingly,the LLM Contemporary Legal Studies will accord with the descriptor for a qualification at master's level included in the QAA's 'Framework for Higher Education Qualifications' (second edition, August 2008) and with the more detailed description of defining characteristics in the QAA's 'Master's Degree Characteristics' (March 2010).

Many of the learning outcomes outlined in section 26 (and the educational aims of the programme) are derived from these documents.

A wide range of learning and teaching methods are used, including lectures, seminars, workshops, audio-visual presentation, tutorials, guided reading and private study, supplemented where appropriate by visiting lecturers/ legal practitioners.

Assessment and feedback:

Feedback is available on all summative work, and there are opportunities throughout the course for formative feedback during module sessions, to include that which is provided orally through class-discussion.

The primary methods of assessment on the other modules will be the essay or written problem answer and dissertation. All of the taught modules are assessed to a large extent by essays or written problem question. This should not be regarded as a limitation, since the essay and legal problem are flexible assessment methods, allowing tutors to set different kinds of questions. However there are a range of other assessments used including oral exam or timed classroom assessment; oral presentations (in a range of formats); research proposal and 15,000 word dissertation.

Five modules have an element of oral presentation in them.

LA7002 Conflict of Laws requires the student to participate in a viva voce on their coursework.

LA7003 Legal Theory in Common Law requires the student to participate in an interview on their coursework.

LA7006 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Law,Justice and Evidence requires an individual presentation on the coursework.

LA7007 Employment and Discrimination Law requires the student to participate in an interview on their coursework

LA7012 Environmental Justice requires students to participate in an assessed group presentation taking the form of a debate/discussion.

There are 5,000 words of assessment (or equivalent) allocated to each of the taught modules, while the dissertation is 15,000 words. 

These word limits are within the University’s guidelines. The amount of assessment required is thus modelled on currently successful and comparable programmes, is appropriate to the discipline, and ensures parity between comparable courses.

Graduates of the Programme will have acquired a range of skills and competencies valuable to employers or their current employers if taking as part of their CPD requirements.  Those graduates who wish to continue their studies towards an MPhil or PhD will be well-equipped with both key skills and subject knowledge. 

It is also recognised that some graduates of the Programme will have taken it for pleasure and personal development rather than to enhance their employment prospects or prepare for further study.

The critical skills students will have acquired and developed will enable them to interpret, analyse, and evaluate very different types of legally related material. 

They will be expert communicators, with refined expressive and listening skills, who can present, discuss, and share their ideas and the ideas of others with individuals and groups, both fluently and sensitively. 

They will be highly motivated individuals who can see complex projects through from conception to completion, working well to deadlines. 

They will be able to respond well to advice and guidance, but will also be autonomous learners with a self-disciplined approach to their responsibilities. 

The students will have high-level researching skills and be able to apply their knowledge and research findings practically to the completion of a range of tasks, particularly if working within the legal sector

However, they will also be reflective learners, with an ability to criticise their own work in a way likely to continue to help them develop their skills after graduation. 

Most importantly, they will be highly organised and knowledgeable individuals capable of disciplined thought and expression, able to solve problems and overcome difficulties whether working alone or in teams.

Such skills are clearly transferable to a whole range of professional contexts but will be particularly useful for those either already working in the legal sector or for those contemplating working in this area.

Some graduates may wish to proceed to a research degree.  Others will want to apply their skills to the workplace, graduates taking the LLM as part of their SRA CPD programme will be able to use their increased knowledge and understanding of different areas of law, together with the development of a range of techniques, research methods and communication skills in a number of law related professional situations, both practical and theoretical.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

The Programme conforms to the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy and the appropriate Codes of Practice.  The Law School is fully committed to the support of all its students, whatever their circumstances.  Over the years, the Law School has sought advice and received training in the support of students with a wide variety of disabilities or specific needs.

Within Law, much of the subject matter naturally affords a range of cultural perspectives and this is particularly so in such modules Conflicts of Law and Employment and Discrimination Law. The LLM is designed to encourage students to think about the theoretical, philosophical and practical nature of law and these inherently promote the discussion of diversity and equality.

Indeed, it is difficult to think of many modules that do not have some content regarding these issues.

There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Law School works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support.

The induction activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any such issues. The Law School takes an active part in the University’s Diversity Fortnight.

There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Law School works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support. The induction activities have been designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any such issues. The Law School takes an active part in the University’s Diversity Fortnight.

All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy.

Student Support and Guidance

All students are issued with a comprehensive LLM Programme Handbook and Module Handbooks are distributed at the commencement of each module. 

Students needing further advice are welcome to consult the Programme Leader or the Module Tutor. There are also arrangements with the appropriate subject librarian who can be available by appointment to assist LLM students with their research of primary and secondary sources.

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