Course Code : LAW 108 & 109 Course Title : LEGAL RESEARCH AND REASONING SKILLS AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT I & – LEGAL RESEARCH AND REASONING SKILLS AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT II
Weekly Teaching Hour: 3-hours lecture per week, 1 (1-hour) tutorial every week
Who may enrol : Compulsory for Year 1 (Freshman) LLB. Students
Prerequisites : N/A
Lecturer : To be announced on August 2020
Description : This course aims to develop in students, skills relating to enhanced research and reasoning skills. It seeks to facilitate reflection on a student’s existing academic performance and identification of the skills development that needs to be done to improve performance. It aims to improve students’ ability to integrate these legal skills into their own work. The course will emphasise the importance of reasoning skills, both specifically in terms of improving assessment performance and more generally in liberal education and employability. It seeks to equip students with the tools necessary to identify weak reasoning and to produce sound arguments themselves. The course aims to guide students on advanced research techniques, demonstrate the benefit of a sound research strategy and equip students with the tools necessary to produce a coherent, comprehensive and useful piece of research.
COURSE CONTENT This course will consider:
• employability • the importance of reasoning skills in academic programmes and beyond • the experience of undertaking research & identification of common defects in reasoning • the use of generic and legal research and reasoning tools to produce well-reasoned arguments or advice • the enhancement of legal writing skills • transferable study skills and personal academic development. • oral presentation of researched arguments that are well structured and well-reasoned.
INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES On successful completion of this course a student will be able to: 1. Reflect on his or her experiences, successes and failures and identify areas for development. 2. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the importance of reasoning skills in a variety of contexts. 3. Apply tools of both general and specifically legal reasoning to produce sound and well-reasoned conclusions, and to reflect on these reasoning processes. 4. Undertake systematic and comprehensive research by identifying and applying up to date case law, statute law, statutory instruments, regulations, rules, periodicals, digests and practitioner texts to the research problem. 5. Determine the scope and identify the objectives of the research. 6. Present the results of their investigation and research in a suitable format. 7. Demonstrate an understanding of employability requirements, job application processes and reflection on career options.
TEACHING METHODS : The course will utilise a variety of learning strategies designed to place the student at the centre of the learning process. The course will encourage student learning by participation and independent research as well as developing problem solving and analytical skills. The large group sessions will introduce students to key legal principles and underlying policy issues and identify problematic principles or concepts in a particular area of the law. Questions may be raised by the tutor and student questions are welcomed. A course handbook will be provided consisting of lecture outlines, workshop tasks and further recommended reading. Small group sessions will relate to the lecture programme and will develop in more detailed examination how the relevant general and legal skills operate in a specific context. These sessions will be interactive making use of case studies and discussion points to enhance the student’s ability to apply skills and investigate issues. Practical contextual exercises will then be utilised to emphasise the client based practical transactional elements, with the tutor acting as facilitator to guide students through the issues, difficulties and arguments and to develop the practical dimension of this skill.
Recommended Textbook (s) and Supplementary Books :
Legal Skills Seventh Edition, by Emily Finch and Stefan Fafinski, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 9780198831273
Legal Method, Skills and Reasoning 3 edition, by Sharon Hanson (Author), Publisher: Routledge;, ISBN-10: 041545851X , ISBN-13: 978-0415458511
Using a Law Library: A Student’s Guide to Legal Research Skills 2nd Edition, by Peter Clinch,
Scroll down to read about some of the most popular subscription based e-resources, providing both case summaries and full reports. Or click on a specific source to jump to that section.
Lawtel UK is a web-based database which provides summaries of case reports and, in many instances, links to the full text of reports.
Visit Lawtel UK’s website.
LexisNexis Butterworths is a well established database covering legal information and news. Its coverage includes UK cases, in full text.
Visit LexisNexis Butterworths’ website.
Westlaw UK is a wide ranging legal information database which includes UK cases, many in full text. The case coverage in Westlaw UK is useful since it links you straightaway to a lot of secondary interpretative material in the shape of journal articles about cases. Westlaw UK also gives useful summary or abstract information in relation to most modern cases.
Visit Westlaw UK’s website.
Reading lists and other materials will be provided for students registered on the course via online by lecturer.
This course is assessed through a presentation and a portfolio.
Class Participation 10%,
Mid-term Examination 30%,
Final Examination 50%,
Attendance 95 % compulsory.