Accessibility statement

Introduction to Law & Society - LAW00002C

« Back to module search

  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Joanna Gilmore
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

The broad purpose of the module is to give you an opportunity to consider law in a variety of contexts, or, to put it another way, to consider the relationships between law and other disciplines. We will consider law in its social and political contexts, and will ask how those contexts shape the law, and how those contexts are shaped by the law.

In this module you will encounter a variety of different perspectives on law and the legal system. This will include the ideas of classical social theorists such as Durkheim, Weber and Marx, through to more contemporary perspectives such as feminist legal theory and critical legal studies. You will also be encouraged to consider the roles played by the various ‘gatekeepers’ of law, such as the police and the judiciary, and question the extent to which law is embedded within social structures including class, gender, race and ethnicity. In addition, you will explore a number of different methodological approaches to the study of law and legal systems, and you will work on a proposal for a hypothetical research project. This will involve you considering how to choose a research topic; how to undertake a literature review, how to formulate a set of research questions; and how to choose an appropriate methodology for the undertaking of legal research.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21 to Summer Term 2020-21

Module aims

  • To provide students with knowledge and understanding of some of the fundamental principles of the legal system
  • To provide students with knowledge and understanding of the key institutions and personnel involved in law
  • To develop a critical understanding of the role and function of law in society
  • To introduce students to various methodological approaches to the study of law and legal systems
  • To develop and practise skills related to identifying, retrieving and discriminating among sources of law and sources of information relevant to law
  • To develop and practice skills related to synthesising and analysing a variety of information sources in order to develop further knowledge, construct arguments and draw conclusions supported by appropriate authority

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some of the fundamental principles and institutions of the legal system of England and Wales

This requires you to be able to describe key aspects of what is sometimes known as 'legal method', including the institutions which are responsible for making legal decisions, (for example, courts), the nature of and relationships between various sources of law and the personnel involved in the development and application of law.

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a variety of roles played by law in society

This requires you to be able to describe and evaluate relationships between law and the wider world; for example, how law does and does not protect rights; how law ascribes responsibility; how law and legal institutions reflect broader social, political and philosophical positions.

  • identify various methodological approaches to the study of law and legal systems

This requires you to be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of legal research methodology (including, for example, doctrinal, socio-legal and comparative approaches to legal research), and to consider some of the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches.

  • identify, retrieve and discriminate among sources of law and sources of information relevant to law

This requires you to be able to undertake basic research of sources of law and sources relevant to law, and to understand the significance, authority and credibility of the sources in question.

  • synthesise and analyse a variety of information sources to develop further knowledge, construct arguments and draw conclusions supported by appropriate authority

This requires you to be able to develop arguments around issues involving law and to support your arguments with reference to relevant sources.

  • demonstrate an awareness of the significance of academic integrity and an ability to act with academic integrity

This requires you to understand and to act in accordance with some of the values which underpin scholarship and your responsibilities as a legal scholar and a member of a learning community, with particular reference to appropriately acknowledging the work of others on whose work you draw to support your learning.

  • demonstrate a positive contribution to the learning and development of your own critical thinking skills and those of others by regular attendance and active participation in the learning activities on the Introduction to Law and Society module 

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
3000 word research proposal
N/A 90
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral contribution
N/A 10

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
3000 word research proposal
N/A 90
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral contribution
N/A 10

Module feedback

Formative feedback is provided to students (i) via feedback during learning activities in roundtables and (ii) during and after immediately after the ILS Conference in Week 1 of the Summer term.

Indicative reading

P. Harris, An Introduction to Law (7th edn, Cambridge University Press 2007).

S. Roach Anleu, Law and Social Change (2nd edn, Sage 2010).

C. Elliott and F. Quinn, English Legal System (15th edn, Pearson Education 2014)



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students