Module code: LAW3086

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

LEE YA Dr (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 6

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 122

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination 2 HOUR EXAMINATION 100

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

Jurisprudence is the philosophy of law: the study of the philosophical questions connected to law and legal systems.

Jurisprudence 2 is an introduction to some of the most prominent philosophical attempts to answer the seemingly simple question 'what is law?'. It seeks to fit within the rest of the LLB syllabus by providing a reasoned and principled basis for deeper reflections and discussions about the nature of law, the role that it plays in our societies and in our everyday lives more generally.

To that end, this module introduces the ideas of influential legal theorists and philosophers, and attempts to develop principled and critical answers to some of the most fundamental questions about law that should be of concern to all law students. These include:

What is the nature of law more generally?
Is there anything that can be said to underlie the different kinds of laws and legal systems that we so happen to find around the world, and in virtue of which they are kinds of laws and legal systems as opposed to some other social phenomena?
What roles do law and legal systems more generally play in our everyday lives and in our social lives?
What might be so special, important and/or distinctive about the law more generally, and how is law different and/or distinguished from other kinds of non-legal phenomena?
Are there any particular features that are essential to law more generally, without which something cannot be properly considered as a kind of law?

Module aims

By encouraging students to engage directly with sophisticated philosophical ideas, this module aims to develop an advanced critical understanding of predominant philosophical approaches to questions about the nature of law.

It aims not only to introduce these ideas but for students to be able to critique, analyse and evaluate them, and develop their own principled answers to questions regarding the nature of law

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Develop informed, reasoned arguments in response to questions about the nature of law. KCT
Understand, explain and critically engage with predominant legal philosophy seeking to explain the nature of law. KCT
Read a philosophical text, engage with it critically and relate its content to their understanding of the law. KCT
Argue philosophically by drawing on hypothetical, historical or legal examples, and by using other philosophical explanatory devices. KCT
Display an advanced critical appreciation for the methodologies in legal philosophy and their role in understanding the nature of law. KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

This module critically engages with competing 'families' of theories that offer a variety of different views about the nature of law


1. Overview of the different philosophical theories, their historical background and the philosophical methodologies that they employ. 

2. Law as sanction-based commands

3. Law as a system of rules

4. Inclusive and exclusive legal positivism

5. Law as an interpretative enterprise

6. The 'inner morality' of law. 

7. Modern natural law theory

8. American legal realism

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to encourage students to:

Engage directly with complex philosophical ideas related to law, authority, obligation and justice. This involves both developing a classroom and broader teaching environment which demystifies seemingly intimidating ideas and relates them to readily comprehensible experiences and phenomena, while simultaneously ensuring that students develop the ability to discuss cutting-edge philosophical ideas as the peers whose ideas they read and discuss. The didactic elements of the teaching of the module will be structured so as to allow for the greatest level of discussion of ideas by the students themselves.

The learning and teaching methods include:

The module takes the form of eleven seminars and six tutorials. Seminars deal with general theories and overviews of specific schools of thought, while tutorials seek to look at interlocking or related schools of thought as well as enabling the students to engage with seminar material directly and critically through discussion.

Rather than being based around text-book reading, the reading list is predominantly made up of influential philosophical articles or chapters. This is to allow students to engage directly with primary source ideas from the outset.

Seminars take the form of 'interactive lectures' based on the students' reactions to the set topics. The lecturer will guide the students through the material using various illustrative and explanatory techniques. This will introduce students to the techniques of philosophical argumentation: example, explanation and counter-example. Seminars will focus on demystifying seemingly complex ideas. They will take the form of an open forum for students to discuss their reactions to the material and students are encouraged to criticise or defend ideas they encounter, or to develop new ideas of their own and relate them to the topic.

Tutorials take the form of a structured discussion of questions which seek to compare and contrast competing approaches to moral questions regarding the law, and are based on the same essential readings as seminars. These questions serve to consolidate understanding of the material and to develop students' confidence and ability to develop their own critical answers to the questions asked in this module.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment address all the learning outcomes listed above.

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to engage with complex theoretical ideas and relate them to their existing legal knowledge. Assessment goes beyond the mere recall of the ideas of others and rewards critical engagement with the questions which provoked those ideas, in line with the learning outcomes above.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Two hour examination

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment takes the same form as the summative assessment (one hour). In depth personal written and oral feedback will be provided to each student along with collective feedback in class.

Reading list

Reading list for JURISPRUDENCE II (HE6) : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/law3086

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Law with Criminology LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with International Relations LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law (JD Pathway) LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.