Course Code : LAW 212

Course Title : Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

Weekly Teaching Hour: 3-hour per week lectures, 5 (1-hour) tutorials per

Who may enrol : Compulsory for all year 2 (Sophomore) LLB students

Prerequisites : N/A

Lecturer : To be announced on August 2020

Description : Jurisprudence is the philosophical inquiry into the nature of law and the values it serves.


Jurisprudence is the philosophical inquiry into the nature of law and the values it serves. It is closely bound up with broader questions in moral and political philosophy, such as the justifiability of state coercion, the grounds of individual rights against the state and the value of the rule of law. These are important and persistent questions about how individuals and societies should conduct their lives and have occupied philosophers from ancient times until today.

Since the middle of the previous century, there has been a tremendous revival in English-language legal and political philosophy, spear-headed by the publication of H.L.A. Hart’s The Concept of Law in 1961. Hart’s book defined Anglo-American jurisprudence and set the agenda for current debates.  The overall aim of this course is to introduce you to some of these important on-going debates about the nature of law in the hope that you will become not only well-informed about them but also an intelligent participant in them.

Jurisprudence is more abstract than other undergraduate law (LLB) subjects and often seems, at first sight, to be unconnected with the practice of law. But it is connected. Legal practice is not insulated from abstract argument, nor is ‘abstract’ the same as ‘vague’.  The study of Jurisprudence gives you an opportunity to assess, develop and articulate your views about law’s nature, purposes, and point in an informed way.


the General Part consists of lectures and seminars. Seminars will cover selected topics drawn from the lectures, but the exam questions may relate to any topic covered in the lectures. The lectures will cover some of the main debates in jurisprudence  as well as specific topics (such as precedent, international law and human rights).You will be given a choice to study one complete major historically significant work in legal theory, political or moral philosophy, from an array of options.

Your tutor will suggest a list of essay titles to choose from and you will be asked to submit an essay plan and bibliography, on which you will receive feedback. . You will write a 5,000 word essay on the Big Book to which you are allocated.

Recommended Textbook (s) and Supplementary Books :

  1. Plato’s Republic,
  2. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics,
  3. Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature,
  4. De Smith’s Principles of Judicial Review 2nd ed, by Harry WoolfJeffrey JowettCatherine DonnellyIvan Hare, Sweet & Maxwell Ltd,ISBN13: 9780414071599
  5. Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments,
  6. Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals,
  7. Mill’s On Liberty,
  8. Reading lists and other materials will be provided for students registered on the course via online by lecturer.

Course Assessment:

  • Class Participation 10%,

  • Mid-term Examination 30%,

  • Assignments 10%, 1 x formative essay, draft plan of Big Book

summative essay

  • Final Examination 50%, 50% 2-hour unseen examination,

50% essay (5,000 words)

Attendance 95 % compulsory.