The details
Law (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
05 August 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

LLB M100 Law,
LLB M100MS Law,
LLB M101 Law (Including Foundation Year),
LLB M107 Law (Including Placement Year),
LLB M120 Law (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

Jurisprudence is a module that enables you to think in-depth about how law works and the impact it has on the society around us. For example: How is law different to other rules and principles? Should law reflect moral opinion, and if so, how do we decide what is moral? Can judges really be objective when they make decisions? How do we judge if law is making society fairer?

The module covers many key theoretical approaches to understanding what law is and how it functions. In doing so, we will look at the relationship (and conflicts) between law and politics, markets, and matters of social justice. You will be asked to think for yourself about these issues, and reflect on which perspectives provide us with the most accurate, and the most useful, ways of thinking about law.

Module aims

The aim of the module is to introduce students to the main currents of thought about the nature and social functions of law and its relationship to morality and politics. A related aim is to improve students’ ability to reason critically and to argue.

Module learning outcomes

Students should gain a basic understanding of the currents of thought referred to under ‘module aims’ above. They should also develop their capacity to reason critically and to demonstrate this ability in written work.

Module information

The syllabus is likely to include the following:

1. Natural law

2. Classical Legal Positivism

3. Legal Realism

4. Modern Legal Positivism, especially the theory of H.L.A. Hart

5. The legal theory of Lon Fuller

6. The legal theory of Ronald Dworkin

7. Marxist approaches to law

8. Critical Legal Studies

9. Feminist legal theory

10. Postmodernism and law

Learning and teaching methods

Two one-hour lectures per week
Fortnightly tutorials


  • Dworkin, R. (1887-) 'Hard Cases', in Harvard Law Review. vol. 88, pp.1057-1109
  • Dworkin, Ronald. (1977) 'Is law a system or rules?', in The Philosophy of law, London: Oxford University Press., pp.38-65
  • Fuller, L. L. (1887-) 'The Case of the Speluncean Explorers', in Harvard Law Review. vol. 62, pp.616-645
  • Hart, H. H. (1887-) 'Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals', in Harvard Law Review. vol. 71 (4) , pp.593-629

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Formative Essay    0% 
Coursework   Summative Essay    100% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Tom Cornford, email: tomc@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Tom Cornford, Konstantinos Kalliris, Ronit Matar
Law General Office, 01206 872529, lawugadmin@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Christopher Lloyd
Oxford Brookes University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 84 hours, 20 (23.8%) hours available to students:
64 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Law (School of)

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