University of Chester

Programme Specification
Law BA (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours)

Law

Law

University of Chester

University of Chester

Elgan Edwards Building, Parkgate Road Campus, Chester

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September

Various

M111

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Social Science Law

Law 2015

Law

Monday 12th June 2017

The combined honours degree in Law offers students the opportunity to study Law as a major, joint or minor part of their programme. In order to facilitate flexibility and student choice at levels 5 and 6, students study a 20 credit System and Skills module at level 4, together with the core subjects of Contract Law and Public Law. The programme may provide partial exemption from the Graduate Diploma in Law. Thus the combined honours in Law aims to meet the requirements of students who may wish to pursue a legal career, and those who do not but have a substantial or minor interest in Law. Law can be combined particularly well with Business, Criminology, History and Politics. Students are offered a range of modules which together aim to provide for:

  • The acquisition of knowledge and understanding of legal doctrines, concepts, principles, rules and values in core areas of law.
  • An understanding of the English legal system.
  • The study in depth of some substantive areas of law, a perception and appreciation of the context in which law operates and the development of a critical perspective of the law and legal institutions. An understanding of the dynamic nature of law, of uncertainty in the law, and of the need for and proposals for law reform.
  • Developing transferable graduate level skills in research, analysis, synthesis, problem solving, communication (oral and in writing) and the ability to work autonomously and as part of a team.

  • a substantial range of legal doctrines, major concepts and values that underpin law and the legal system.
  • the purpose of some areas of law from a critical perspective
  • principles and rules as they apply to specific areas of law and legal systems the potential for impact of European Union law and European institutions on English law and the English legal system some substantive areas of law, including some in-depth study.
  • In addition, depending on the options chosen at level 6: a number of areas of business law in a commercial context areas of crime and criminal justice, and their interaction with human rights, and the context in which the criminal justice system operates

At level 4 students would be able to use this knowledge and understanding in a routine manner to evaluate and formulate a range of arguments. (LA4001, LA4007 & LA4011)

At level 5 students would be able to use this knowledge and understanding to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information and to propose solutions to problems. (Whichever modules are chosen from LA5001, LA5002, LA5003, LA5005, LA5006, LA5007 & LA5008)

At level 6 students would be able to use this knowledge and understanding to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within the law discipline. (All Modules)

  • Recognise and distil issues from factual or hypothetical information and prioritise them in terms of their relevance and importance
  • Undertake an analysis of complex legal or factual information in a systematic way and according to the purpose to be served
  • Apply knowledge and understanding to solve problems – actual or hypothetical
  • Propose and handle alternative solutions
  • Produce a synthesis of relevant doctrinal and policy issues in relation to a topic
  • Offer critical evaluation of particular arguments and make informed judgements about their merits

At level 4 students would be able to use the aforementioned cognitive skills in a routine manner to evaluate and formulate a range of arguments. (LA4001, LA4007 & LA4011)

At level 5 students would be able to use the aforementioned cognitive skills to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information and to propose solutions to problems. (Whichever modules are chosen from LA5001, LA5002, LA5003, LA5005, LA5006, LA5007 & LA5008)

At level 6 students would be able to use the aforementioned cognitive skills to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within the law discipline. (All Modules)

Practical Skills

  • identify and retrieve legal information using paper and electronic sources
  • use primary and secondary sources relevant to the topic under study
  • collate information and materials from a variety of sources in a coherent way
  • plan and undertake tasks in areas of law already studied
  • plan and undertake research in areas of law not previously studied
  • properly attribute and utilize the work of others

Transferable Professional Skills

These skills are not separate but embedded in the key skills above.

At level 4 students will be able to use the above skills to communicate results of their studies accurately and reliably. (LA4001, LA4007 & LA4011)

At level 5 students will be able to use the above skills to communicate different types of information and analysis in a variety of different ways to both specialist and non-specialist audiences. (Whichever modules are chosen from LA5001, LA5002, LA5003, LA5005, LA5006, LA5007 & LA5008)

At level 6 students will be able to use established techniques of analysis and enquiry and communicate the same in a variety of different ways and be able to use these skills to manage their own learning. (All Modules)

  • Understand and use proficiently the English language, both orally and in writing,
  • Present knowledge in a way which is comprehensible to others and directed to their concerns
  • Understand and present relevant statistical or other numerical data as part of an argument
  • Word process work in an appropriate format
  • Use e-mail, IBIS and the World-wide Web
  • Reflect on your own learning and seek and make use of feedback
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Work in groups as a participant who contributes effectively to the group’s task
  • Construct a consistent and sustained argument

At level 4 students will be able to use the above skills to communicate results of their studies accurately and reliably. (LA4001, LA4007 & LA4011)

At level 5 students will be able to use the above skills to communicate different types of information and analysis in a variety of different ways to both specialist and non-specialist audiences. (Whichever modules are chosen from LA5001, LA5002, LA5003, LA5005, LA5006, LA5007 & LA5008)

At level 6 students will be able to use established techniques of analysis and enquiry and communicate the same in a variety of different ways and be able to use these skills to manage their own learning. (All Modules)

The programme is designed to provide an opportunity for students to meet learning outcomes in law for different purposes. Some will wish to continue on the path to professional qualification. Some will wish to use their knowledge of law, as well as the transferable skills acquired through its study, to prepare for a career in an allied profession. Others will wish to study law as an academic discipline in its own right and acquire a social science/arts qualification. All of these factors have been considered in the design of the programme. In order to provide for flexibility of choice for students, there is a broad-based mandatory introduction to Law, both in terms of skills and content, at level 4.

At levels 5 and 6 students have no core modules and are able to choose modules and combinations of modules that best suit their academic and career aspirations. At level 5 students are barred from studying both LA5007 Commercial Law and LA5008 International Law. They must also choose either LA5005 Law Experiential or WB5101 Enhancing Your Employability Through Work Based Learning.

At level 6 in particular students will be able to specialise to a large degree in areas of the law that meet these criteria. The modules can be chosen thematically, for example business based, crime, criminology and criminal justice based, human rights and discrimination based or family and child law based. It should be noted that for students studying a combined degree with Criminology it is not possible to study LA6008 Introduction to Criminology.

It is possible for students to acquire enough of the modules covering the Foundations of Legal Knowledge to apply for partial exemption from the Graduate Diploma in Law.

The programme complies with the requirements of the FHEQ and the Law Subject Benchmark Statements (2015). The Law benchmarks are drafted somewhat differently from those in other subject areas. The purpose is, among other issues, to provide a basis for institutions to devise their own learning outcome statements compatible with the benchmark statements. Also, the benchmarks set as a minimum certain achievements which a student must demonstrate to be awarded an undergraduate honours degree in law.

Thus the statements are both generic and look to the final outcome of study on a law programme. Thus it is not possible or appropriate to map the benchmark standards against individual modules or apply them to particular levels.

It should be noted that the Benchmarks need only be complied with if a programme has at least 180 credits of Law. All Law major combinations will require study of a minimum of 180 credits, but joint and minor combinations may or may not.  

Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
LA4001 4 Contract Law 20 Comp Comp Comp
LA4004 4 English Legal System and Critical Legal Skills 20 N/A N/A N/A
LA4007 4 Public Law 20 Comp Comp Comp
LA4011 4 English Legal System and Method 20 Comp Comp Comp
LA5001 5 Criminal Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA5002 5 EU Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA5003 5 Human Rights Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA5005 5 Law Experiential 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA5006 5 Tort 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA5007 5 Commercial Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA5008 5 International Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6002 6 Law Dissertation 40 Optional N/A N/A
LA6003 6 Legal Research Methods 20 N/A N/A N/A
LA6004 6 Child Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6005 6 Family Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6006 6 Medical Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6008 6 Introduction to Criminology 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6009 6 Human Rights Law (Level 6) 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6011 6 Social Control: A Legal History 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6012 6 Discrimination Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6013 6 Employment Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6014 6 Company Law 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6016 6 Intellectual Property 20 N/A N/A N/A
LA6017 6 Evidence 20 Optional Optional Optional
LA6022 6 Equity, Trusts and Property Law II 20 Optional N/A N/A

120 credits at level 4: Certificate of Higher Education
plus 120 credits at level 5: Diploma of Higher Education
plus 120 credits at level 6: BA Hons

N/a

For entry to the programme a typical applicant will have a minimum of 240 UCAS points, of which 200 points must be obtained from GCE A2 or Vocational A Level (6 or 12 unit) awards, including a grade C in one subject (see Interface with Curriculum 2000). The remaining points may be from A2, AS, Vocational A/AS level (3, 6 or 12 units) awards, or from level 3 skills certification. Applicants will not be interviewed. There is no typical applicant background for Law, although the majority of students do have the conventional Curriculum 2000 qualifications. Within those qualifications, most subject disciplines are acceptable, although, again, the majority will have studied arts/social science/business-related curricula. Applicants with non-standard qualifications will be considered by the Law School in conjunction with the Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions Services in accordance with the precepts and procedures set out in the University Handbook on The Admission of Students. This may particularly apply to those wishing to study the programme part-time, although, as there is no separate part-time mode of delivery, such students will be considered against the same criteria as non-standard full-time applicants.

Widening Access and Participation Strategy

Consistent with the University’s commitment to widen access and participation, the School has a flexible admissions policy, and encourages applications from mature students and from groups normally under-represented in higher education. The general policy is to look for a good level of literacy, together with proven interest and/or experience in an appropriate subject. A definitive version of the admissions criteria may be found in the University’s undergraduate prospectus, and on the University and UCAS websites.

The Law School is committed to actively participating in initiatives to widen access and participation and will provide lecturers and activities for various outreach activities.

The Subject Benchmark Statement for Law was updated and published in the summer of 2015, and is now in its third incarnation. The University of Chester Law School was fortunate to have a member of staff on the review group for Subject Benchmark Statement for Law.

There was considerable change but this was to reflect the view ‘that a law graduate is far more than a sum of their knowledge and understanding, and is a well skilled graduate with considerable transferable generic and subject-specific knowledge, skills and attributes.’ As a consequence some of the terminology used is not directly comparable with other subject benchmark statements.

The study of law at undergraduate level is academic in nature and as is acknowledged within the subject benchmark open to considerable variation in terms of the content of the course. As such ‘the common denominator is the requirement on the student to apply their understanding of legal principles, rules, doctrine, skills and values.’ This is recognised throughout our law programmes where we assess skills and knowledge.

The core aspect is contained within part 2- the benchmark standards. There a list is provided of skills and qualities of mind that are expected to be achieved by all graduates with a bachelor’s degree in law. The list is clearly comprehensive but marked as not being exhaustive or definitive nor is it arrange in any specific order. The list of skills are not specific to any particular areas of law meaning many of these will be embedded across multiple modules. Care has been taken to ensure that all of the areas identified within the subject benchmark are thoroughly addressed within our curriculum and are assessed and evidenced in the diverse nature of our assessment which encompasses both written and oral, individual and collaborative components across various modules and levels of our degree.

As well as the diversity of assessment to match the skills and qualities of mind we are also mindful that the learning and teaching needs to be diverse, the subject benchmark states that ‘it is recommended that students experience a range of teaching methods throughout their law programme and this might typically, although not exclusively, include lectures, small group formats, online learning environments, self-directed or collaborative study, experiential learning and problem-based learning.’

Again real care has been taken to ensure these are present throughout with all modules supported by online learning environments and all law students expected to undertake a period of experiential learning either through placements or experiential research.

It is clear though that individual programmes have been given considerable freedom by the subject benchmark statement for law and we have been mindful to try and blend high academic and employment focused aspects within our programmes to ensure students are able to demonstrate a broad range of skills and qualities of mind.

Introduction

All methods of learning and teaching are related to and relevant for the acquisition of key and subject specific knowledge and skills, to afford students the best opportunity to meet module and programme learning outcomes. Students are made aware of how modules will be delivered, and what is expected of them, in the student handbook and in module guides.

Teaching Methods

The principal methods of delivery are through lectures (for a whole cohort), workshops (all or part of a module cohort) and seminars (normally a maximum of 15 students). There is a good ratio of small group to large group teaching (typically 1 to 2 at levels 5 and 6). Typically lectures are expository and explanatory, teaching to printed materials. However, they also afford students every opportunity to interact. Workshops are typically a mixture of lecturing and setting the students tasks and are often used to consolidate previous areas of study. Students are given tasks to complete before seminars and all students are given the opportunity to and are expected to participate in seminars. Typically, tasks are to prepare one or more problem questions (i.e. students are given a short, written scenario and they have to identify the relevant area(s) of law and apply them correctly and appropriately to the facts) and/or to prepare a given topic for analysis and discussion. The conduct of seminars might take various forms. Students may be asked to present part of the seminar, or, at level 5 and above, to run the session. They may be split into sub-groups or, more typically, all students will contribute within a session facilitated by a member of the academic staff.

Students will also benefit from input into formal teaching sessions by guest lecturers, particularly the more specialist ones at level 6.

During the one week induction programme the students learn basic legal academic skills. Sessions include information on the programme of study, life as a law student and an introduction to legal skills and exercises to help review those skills. They receive quick feedback on these exercises so that strengths and weaknesses in skills can be identified at an early stage and the students can ascertain what areas they need to improve in and what support they might need. Students also have library induction sessions and continue with learning how to use a law library and conduct legal research through the course.

Learning

Students’ learning comes from a variety of sources. On a day to day basis, they consolidate what they have taken from lectures, and prepare for seminars. Part of the assessment in Contract Law both formative and summative, is designed to induct them into the technique and regime of preparing for seminars. For students on the Law combined honours, the system and skills module introduces them to such discipline. The induction sessions and other Level 4 modules also teach the students how to access, evaluate and use electronic sources and materials. It is hoped that electronic materials will continue to be developed for the programme, allowing interactive use of them.

Mooting, debating and mock trials are used as both specific legal and generic skills. Students experience them formatively in the level 4 system and skills module .This affords them the opportunity to learn and develop public speaking skills and to present arguments orally in a rational and lucid manner. It is hoped that they will participate in both internal and external mooting competitions at level 5. A senior local judge judges the final of the internal competition. Some may also benefit from short placements in a solicitors’ office or other legal professional environment. They have an opportunity, as an alternative to work based learning, to elect to enhance their experiential and independent learning in the level 5 module Law Experiential.

Students are encouraged to become more independent and critical in their learning as they progress from one level to another. This is reflected in the lessening of class contact hours at level 6 and the quality and type of seminar task set.

Students are given early tuition on independent learning. The level 5 LA5005 Law Experiential module, if chosen, gives them the opportunity to produce an independent, reflective piece of work based on participation in or observation of some aspect of law in practice.

The aims and learning outcomes of modules progress from level to level, requiring and enabling students to adopt a more independent and professional approach to their studies. The nature and content of assessment tasks will also evolve from level to level, requiring more independent research and critical appreciation of primary sources of law.

Students who experience learning difficulties or who, for whatever reason, need ongoing support, are actively encouraged to contact the designated member of Student Support and Guidance.

At level 4 assessment methods include written assignments – problem-solving and essays, time constrained assessments, examinations, group presentations, library/electronic search "audits", assessment of seminar preparation and report.

Level 5 assessment methods may include written assignments – problem solving and essays, examinations, group presentations, report, logbook and reflective journal, drafting/advising.

Level 6 assessment may include written assignments – problem-solving and essays, examinations, group presentations, dissertation, report, commentary and drafting.

Assessment and Linkage to Learning Outcomes and Assessment and Measurement of Key Skills

These sections are considered together as they are inextricably linked in the programme design.

The methods of assessment are closely linked to the learning outcomes of the modules and programme. The aims of the programme are set out in section 22 and the learning outcomes in section 23 of this Programme Specification. The learning outcomes represent the skills to be acquired across the programme.  In turn, as has been stated previously, these skills and outcomes have been informed by the Law Benchmark Standards. It should be noted that the Law Benchmark Standards do not expect all outcomes to be formally assessed as long it can be demonstrated that they have been achieved and that not all combined students are subject to the benchmarks.

This is particularly relevant to the key skills, and, for instance, but not exclusively, numeracy. It should also be borne in mind that the only core modules are at level 4, so that one student will not necessarily experience the same assessment regime as another. However, for those taking at least 180 credits of Law the variety will inevitably be such that the benchmarks are achieved.

Each module descriptor states the module specific learning outcomes that are assessed in each component of assessment. The assessments will then test the programme and learning outcomes. These will be articulated in each in-course assessment and will accompany draft examinations for external examiners’ information and scrutiny. Thus, there is conceptual linkage between the benchmarks, programme aims and outcomes, skills, module outcomes and assessment in each module and these linkages will be apparent in the actual assessment tasks.

Apart from the above, the assessments are designed to provide a broad platform for students to demonstrate that they have achieved the module and programme outcomes in as diverse a set of assessments as it is possible to prescribe in a programme of broad choice.

The basic graduate characteristics are set out in the extract from the Law Benchmarks Statement in section 27. All combined honours students will display most of these characteristics, although those on joint and minor programmes may not have measurably achieved all of them. The extract is taken from the section headed "Statement for Employers". However, it should be emphasised that the majority of students should achieve and display such characteristics at a higher level. The students will be demonstrated to have achieved these characteristics through the development of the skills outcomes developed from and informed by the Benchmarks Statement. The module learning outcomes incorporate these skills. In particular, the ability to critically analyse, apply knowledge in a wider context and present arguments in a coherent and appropriate manner are all transferable skills that make law graduates desirable employees in a number of professions and careers.

Typical Career Paths

Law is recognised as a rigorous, social science and/or arts discipline and qualifies graduates to pursue a wide range of careers, which may be related to the other area of study. These include professions closely allied to Law such as the police, social workers and court workers. Law graduates are well qualified for entry into the various branches of the Civil Service, whether or not in a legal capacity. Graduates are recruited into parts of the financial services sector, such as insurance or banking. Those who acquire enough of the relevant modules to apply for partial exemption from the Graduate Diploma in Law, may choose to take the remaining subjects after graduation and then progress to training for a career in the legal professions. Students who do not may still opt to enrol on a full Graduate Diploma in Law programme, where their previous study on this programme should hold them in good stead, and follow a career in the legal professions. The professions are keen to recruit students who have not studied Law exclusively or at all at undergraduate level.

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.

Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning. Within Law, much of the subject matter naturally affords a range of cultural perspectives and this is particularly so in such modules as Human Rights, Discrimination Law, International Law, Family Law and Child Law. At level 4 three modules (discussed in section 24 above) are 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 week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any such issues.

In addition, diagnostic activities have been devised and implemented in induction and supportive exercises in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding. Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. Anonymous marking enhances equal opportunity to all students. Some members of the School are undergoing training as amanuenses.

Throughout their period of study students are provided with opportunities to develop additional skills or gain experience outside of the formal course structures.

Across all years students are invited to support the Law School by joining Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions- Law. This group develops and plans the Law School's activities for Open and Applicant Days, contributes to Level 4 induction and other initiatives such as sessions run for schools and colleges.

The Law School offers to run a Debating, Advocacy, Mooting and Presentation Society and a Film Society which again allows for students to take on responsibility while developing presentation and critical thinking skills.

At levels 5 and 6 the students are encouraged to run the Student Law Society. The students are encouraged to forge links with the student society at the University of Law and with local Trainee Solicitors' Groups and Young Solicitors' Groups. The Student Law Society organises educational activities as well as social events.

All of these are actively supported by the Programme Team and the students benefit additionally from some very eminent guest speakers and careers talks and visits arranged by the Law School.

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