Law BA (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2014 - 2015
Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours)
University of Chester
University of Chester
Undergraduate Modular Programme
Full-time and Part-time
Classroom / Laboratory,
Annual - September
Wednesday 1st December 2010
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.
Knowledge and Understanding A knowledge and understanding of
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
Thinking or Cognitive Skills
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
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
Application of Number
Information Literacy and Technology
Improving own learning and performance
Working with others
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
Transferable Professional Skills
These skills are not separate but embedded in the key skills above.
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 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 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. 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.
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
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.
1. Purpose of the Law Benchmark Standards
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. The key skills are set out and mapped in the definitive document and have been informed by the subject benchmarks.
It should be noted that the Benchmarks need only be complied with if a programme has at least 180 credits of Law. Work-based Learning would not be regarded as a Law module, although the Law Experiential module would. Thus Law Combined Honours minor programme need not comply and, depending on whether WBL is chosen, the joint programme may also lie outside the jurisdiction of the Benchmark Standards.
2. The Benchmarks
The text below has been extracted from the Law benchmark document.
Any student graduating in Law must show achievement in all of the following areas of performance, thereby demonstrating substantially all of the abilities and competences identified in each area of performance.
Knowledge: A student should demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of the principal features of the legal system(s) studied, viz. s/he
• should be able to demonstrate knowledge of a substantial range of major concepts, values, principles and rules of that system;
• should be able to explain the main legal institutions and procedures of that system;
• should be able to demonstrate the study in depth and in context of some substantive areas of the legal system.
2. Application and problem-solving:
A student should demonstrate a basic ability to apply her or his knowledge to a situation of limited complexity in order to provide arguable conclusions for concrete problems (actual or hypothetical).
3. Sources and research: A student should demonstrate a basic ability
• to identify accurately the issue(s) which require researching
• to identify and retrieve up-to-date legal information, using paper and electronic sources;
• to use primary and secondary legal sources relevant to the topic under study.
4. General transferable intellectual skills
Analysis, synthesis, critical judgement and evaluation: A student should demonstrate a basic ability
• to recognise and rank items and issues in terms of relevance and importance;
• to bring together information and materials from a variety of different sources;
• to produce a synthesis of relevant doctrinal and policy issues in relation to a topic;
• to make a critical judgement of the merits of particular arguments;
• to present and make a reasoned choice between alternative solutions.
5. Autonomy and ability to learn: A student should demonstrate a basic ability, with limited guidance
• to act independently in planning and undertaking tasks in areas of law which she or he has already studied;
• to be able to undertake independent research in areas of law which he or she has not previously studied starting from standard legal information sources;
• to reflect on his or her own learning, and to seek and make use of feedback.
6. Key skills
Communication and Literacy: Both orally and in writing, a student should demonstrate a basic ability
• to understand and use the English language (or, where appropriate, Welsh language) proficiently in relation to legal matters;
• to present knowledge or an argument in a way which is comprehensible to others and which is directed at their concerns;
• to read and discuss legal materials which are written in technical and complex language.
7. Other key skills: numeracy, information technology and teamwork: A student should demonstrate a basic ability
• where relevant and as the basis for an argument, to use, present and evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form;
• to produce a word-processed essay or other text and to present such work in an appropriate form;
• to use the World-wide web and e-mail;
• to use some electronic information retrieval systems.
• to work in groups as a participant who contributes effectively to the group's task.
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.
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 in the dedicated level 4 legal system and skills module.
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 23 and the learning outcomes in section 26 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 25. 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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