Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

LL.B. Honours in Law and Social Policy

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: The Law Society of Scotland
Final award: LLB
Programme title: Bachelor of Law with Honours in Law and Social Policy
UCAS code: ML14
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Law, Social Policy and Administration
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: School of Law Director QAE
Date of production/revision: April 2012, July 2013

External summary

The programme aims to promote advanced knowledge and understanding of (ii) the theory, concepts and rules of Law in their socio-economic, institutional, and historical frameworks, and (ii) social policy.

 

While the Law component of the programme is grounded in Scots law and the Scots legal system, students will also be made familiar with the law and legal systems of the other parts of the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the wider world. Teaching is offered in the first two years in all subjects required for professional legal practice in Scotland, and students on the programme also have the benefit of two further years of Honours level study which allow them to choose from up to forty specialist courses covering a wide range of theoretical, practical, and historical fields of study. There is an opportunity for some students to spend the first of the two Honours years studying at one of a number of overseas universities. The Honours programme places a strong emphasis on developing good written and oral skills, with opportunities to hone the latter through participation in legal ‘moots’ which reproduce a courtroom environment. Such mooting is just one of the ways in which the Law School encourages students to develop legal skills through a range of innovative learning methods.   

 

The Edinburgh Law School has been at the centre of the teaching and practice of law since its earliest days. Students following the programme have easy, local access to the Edinburgh Sheriff Court, the Supreme civil and criminal Scottish courts, the Crown Office, the Scottish Government, the Faculty of Advocates, and the Law Society of Scotland. Students will come into frequent contact with the personnel of all of these institutions, both through field trips to these institutions and through external teaching provided by personnel from these institutions on the LLB programme.  

 

The programme is designed to equip students with transferable skills to enable them to succeed in the job market. Edinburgh LLB graduates go on to have careers not only in the legal profession itself (both in Scotland, as well as elsewhere in the UK and the world), but also in banking, accountancy, broadcasting and other media, the Civil Service, politics, finance, consultancy, and the voluntary sector, amongst other professions. Significant numbers of our graduates go on to undertake postgraduate degrees, with a possible view to pursuing an academic career.

 

Social policy is the study of the distribution of welfare and well-being within societies and the policies which influence that distribution. Primarily, the focus is on social and economic change, what causes it and its consequences for society.  Specifically, Social Policy considers how the organisation of services such as social security, health, education, housing, personal social services, the criminal justice system and the labour market can influence and alleviate the effects of social change.  Reflecting how policies are developed, students will learn about both the policy making process in the UK (including devolution in Scotland and elsewhere) along with the influence of international bodies such as the EU and OECD.

 

Educational aims of programme

  • to deliver a broad-based curriculum incorporating major fields of study in law;
  • to equip students with substantive knowledge of a range of legal subjects, institutions, processes and ideas;
  • to provide a curriculum supported and informed by a rich and active research culture;
  • to enable students to understand, evaluate and use both normative and explanatory theoretical frameworks in the study of law;
  • to enable students to develop and apply their knowledge and skills to the understanding and evaluation of legal issues and problems in the contemporary world, both within and without Scotland;
  • to enable students to develop key generic skills in critical thinking, conceptual analysis, research, oral and written articulation of information and argument;
  • to equip students for progression to a wide variety of careers or to further academic study;
  • to allow students to study social policy in both a broad analytical perspective and comparatively in an international context;
  • to promote an appreciation of interdisciplinary approaches, drawing in particular on sociology, law, political science and economics;
  • to introduce students to a variety of perspectives encouraging an ability to appraise and understand different points of view and theoretical frameworks;
  • to foster an appreciation of the role and the use of evidence in informing debates about social issues;
  • to provide students with opportunities to acquire experience of the practice of social policy.

 

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

A student should demonstrate a good knowledge and understanding of:

  1. the sources and institutions of Scots law in its wider context
  2. legal concepts
  3. legal philosophy
  4. legal rules in a variety of areas
  5. legal analysis
  6. the socio-economic framework in which legal rules operate
  1. activities and organisation of the main institutions of the UK welfare system
  2. the main sources of data about social welfare and a critical grasp of the main research methods used to analyse them
  3. methods of comparative analysis and an ability to apply these with reference to social policy across Europe.
  4. theoretical perspectives on welfare and the state
  5. interdisciplinary approaches to social policy issues

A student should demonstrate the following graduate attributes by the end of the LLB Honours programme:

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

To demonstrate an advanced ability to:

  1. Differentiate between and use appropriately primary and secondary sources of law and social policy, and identify, retrieve and use relevant and appropriately up-to-date legal information using paper and electronic sources by using sources that are up-to-date from relevant paper and electronic repositories; using sources that are appropriate to the context; using recognised methods of citation and reference; using sources that are current at the point of assessment; using sources to support arguments and conclusions.
  2. Apply knowledge and understanding of law and social policy to complex situations in order to provide argued conclusions to concrete legal problems (actual or hypothetical)
  3. Identify accurately the issues which require to be researched, and to formulate them clearly.
  4. Analyse, evaluate, and interpret primary and secondary legal sources relevant to the topic studied.
  5. View critically existing legal rules.
  6. Recognise and rank arguments and evidence in terms of relevance and importance by: managing a volume of legal sources and to select key materials to construct answers to problems; identifying the legal problem from the information provided; addressing problems by reference to relevant material; bringing together and integrating information and material from a variety of different primary and secondary sources; applying knowledge and analysis of the law creatively to solve legal problems by presenting a range of viable options from a set of facts and law; and presenting, and evaluating, arguments for and against propositions.
  7. Be aware that arguments require to be supported by evidence, and therefore to produce a synthesis of relevant evidence (e.g. doctrinal and policy issues) in relation to a topic in order to allow the student to present and make a reasoned choice between alternative solutions.
  8. Make a critical judgment of the relative and absolute merits of particular arguments and solutions.
  9. Apply knowledge and analysis in a legal context.
  10. Identify and analyse the strengths and challenges of different social and political systems, and develop processes for promoting social progress.
  11. Evaluate, critique, and build on the work of social scholars.
  12. Exercise creativity in the formulation of important and constructive questions about social science and social policy.
  13. Recognise, build on, and transcend the boundaries of the various social science disciplines – their empirical methods and their analytical traditions - in the pursuit of publicly useful knowledge.

By virtue of completing an Honours dissertation in the Fourth Year of study, students should additionally be able to:

  1. Identify an appropriate topic for research, develop a plan and realise that plan in an extended piece of work.
  2. Structure a substantial and appropriately referenced piece of work, present it concisely and express themselves clearly and coherently.
  3. Develop working knowledge and critical understanding of key literature in the chosen field.
  4. Explain and justify research methods used in that research where appropriate.
  5. Manage an extended period of time independently to achieve disparate goals.
  6. Produce a piece of work which is creative with a high standard of analysis, displays systematic and discriminating understanding of the literature of the field, and builds substantially upon knowledge and analysis developed in 3rd year.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

  1. Act independently in planning and undertaking tasks in areas of law and social policy which he or she is studying or has already studied.
  2. Undertake independent research in areas of law and social policy which he or she has not previously studied starting from legal information sources (both paper-based and electronic) without reference to a reading list.
  3. Reflect on his or her own learning, and to seek and make use of feedback
  4. Work collaboratively in groups to test, modify, and strengthen his or her individual views.
  5. Think critically about law and social policy and their place in society.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

To demonstrate an advanced ability to:

  1. Understand and use the English language proficiently in relation to legal and social policy matters, being able systematically to structure academic writing, expressing views and ideas succinctly, pursuing and argument with proper care and attention to academic literature with proper recognition of counter-arguments
  2. Present knowledge or an argument in a way which is comprehensible to its intended audience, directed to the concerns of that audience (both orally and in writing) 
  3. Read and discuss legal and social policy materials which are written in technical and complex language.
  4. Use the internet and e-mail, including specifically the ability to exchange documents electronically; and to conduct efficient searches of websites to locate relevant information.
  5. Where relevant especially with a view to developing arguments and expressing and supporting critical viewpoints, read and appreciate empirical evidence expressed in statistical or other numerical form, including data derived from research publications, and evaluate its implications for policy outcomes.
  6. Use language proficiently in relation to legal and social policy matters and specifically to use appropriate terminology in work, and to use recognised methods of citation and reference.
  7. Communicate information (including discussing technical and complex legal and social policy materials), ideas, advice and choices in an effective manner (appropriate to the context, individually or with others) by: giving oral presentations which address a specific issue within a prescribed time frame; listening and questioning effectively; giving and receiving feedback and responding effectively to others; and ensuring that all communications (both oral and in writing) are relevant.
  8. Communicate in plain English, using legal and social policy terminology only where needed.
  9. Contribute effectively in group work.
  10. Demonstrate an ability to address the resolution of disputes by various adversarial and non-adversarial skills.

 

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

To show an advanced ability to:

  1. Work effectively with others in groups, contributing and capitalising on the different experiences, skills, and thinking of each group member.
  2. Appreciate the social, economic and ethical contexts in which law and social policy operate and how they respond to these social, economic, moral and ethical contexts by displaying appropriate knowledge in association with related policy, underlying social conditions, professional ethical issues and moral issues; and to respond to changes in law and social policy that arise from these contexts (for example by being able to remain up to date in considering primary and secondary material).
  3. Demonstrate an ability to organise and prioritise time and effort effectively in the performance of the student’s work.
  4. Have the confidence to make informed decisions based on their knowledge and understanding and their personal and intellectual autonomy (for example in the answering of problem or essays questions on topics which the student has not previously studied).

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

To show an advanced ability to:

  1. Produce a word-processed essay or other text and to present such work in an appropriate form.
  2. Use the internet and email
  3. Use electronic information retrieval systems, especially legal databases.
  4. Use a library for the recovery of information, and related research skills, including the ability to discriminate between and evaluate different sources of information.

Programme structure and features

Joint Honours Degrees

 

It is possible to combine legal study with another discipline.  Such degrees are attractive to those who wish to study law at university level but also wish to develop their knowledge of another discipline.

 

In first year 80 credits of compulsory law courses at SCQF level 8 are taken as follows:

 

1. Scottish Legal System (20 credits)

2. Critical Legal Thinking (10 credits)

3. Contract and Unjustified Enrichment (10 credits)

4. Family Law (10 credits)

5. Public Law of the UK and Scotland (20 credits)

6. European Union Law (10 credits)

 

In addition 40 credits of the joint subject are studied.

 

In year two the split between law and the other subject is 80:40 or 60:60.  Law subjects vary depending on the programme.  Please see the link to programme information: http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk/

 

Over the course of years 3 and 4, 120 credits of each subject at SCQF level 10 are studied so that if 80 credits of law subjects are studied in year 3 only 40 credits of law subjects are taken in year 4.  In general 40 of the law credits in year 4 comprise the law dissertation.  There are two exceptions to this general rule.  Law and Politics students write a dissertation on a politics subject, and Law and Economics students may choose to write the dissertation on either law or economics.

 

Ordinary Courses

 

The Law School offers a range of Ordinary (Level 08) courses. Some courses are compulsory for the award of the LLB.  Some courses are required for entry to the profession, either as a solicitor (required by the Law Society of Scotland) or as an advocate (required by the Faculty of Advocates). 

 

Further information is supplied in the student handbook issued to all first year students:

 

Advice will also be provided by Personal Tutors.

 

Programme information (including individual courses):

 

http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk

 

Teaching and Learning Methods

 

Methods of teaching and learning in the Law School vary from subject to subject but, in general, formal lecturing provides the teaching framework in years 1 and 2 complemented by small group tutorial sessions.  Tutorials usually comprise 12-14 students and thus give students an important opportunity to engage directly with their tutor.  Lectures and tutorials are replaced at Honours level by two-hour seminars in which students are expected to discuss and explore topics in more depth. While Ordinary courses tend to focus on building student knowledge and applying that knowledge to problem-solving,  Honours is more concerned with critical analysis, structured and coherent argument, and independence of thought.

 

Progression

 

In order to ensure continuation from one year of study to the next without the need for an extension to the total period of study, a full-time student must achieve a minimum of:

  • 80 credit points by the end of Year 1
  • 200 credit points by the end of Year 2
  • 360 credit points by the end of Year 3
  • 480 credit points by the end of Year 4

Students who do not make satisfactory progress may need to take a part-time catch up year.

 

Exit awards

 

The Undergraduate Certificate or Undergraduate Diploma of Higher Education may be attained by students who leave the University without completing a degree programme, where the student meets the requirements of one of these qualifications as set out below.

Students for the Undergraduate Certificate of Higher Education must have attained a minimum of 120 credit points gained from passes in courses of this University which count towards graduation.

Students for the Undergraduate Diploma of Higher Education must have attained a minimum of 240 credit points. At least 120 credit points must be gained from passes in courses of this University counting towards graduation and at least 90 of the 120 credit points gained from courses passed at this University must be in courses at level 8 or above.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning Strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims.  The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

 

Teaching and Learning Activities

 

In Year 1

Lectures

Tutorials

Problem based learning activities

Peer group learning

Library exercise

Mock legal debating (mooting)

Independent study

LawPALS – peer assisted group learning sessions for new law students

One to one meetings with personal tutors

 

In Year 2

Lectures

Tutorials

Problem based learning activities

Peer group learning

Independent study

One to one meetings with personal tutors

 

In Year 3

Seminars

Lectures (introduction to honours study)

Problem based learning activities

Peer group learning

Independent study

One to one meetings with personal tutors

LawPALS3 – advanced peer assisted group learning sessions for new law honours students

 

In Year 4

Seminars

Lectures (introduction to honours study for returning year abroad students only)

Problem based learning activities

Peer group learning

Independent study

One to one meetings with personal tutors

Meetings with dissertation supervisor

 

Facilities

The Law and Europa Library is situated within Old College, and the Main Library is 5 minutes away.  There are 3 microlabs in Old College for use of law students, where students have access to the School of Law’s online legal research resources.

Assessment methods and strategies

Assessment

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often take the form of formative work which provides the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment which is submitted for credit.

 

In Year 1

Class tests

Oral presentations

Assessed mooting

Essays

On-line assessments

Written examinations (seen and unseen)

 

In Year 2

Class tests

Oral presentations

Essays

Written examinations (seen and unseen)

 

In Year 3

Oral presentations

Essays

Written examinations (seen and unseen)

 

In Year 4

Oral presentations

Essays

Written examinations (seen and unseen)

Dissertation

 

Career opportunities

After graduating, you can progress to the legal profession by completing the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, followed by a traineeship with a legal firm, to qualify as a solicitor. You can then opt to go to the Bar, to qualify as an advocate. There are also opportunities for Scottish-qualified lawyers to practise in other jurisdictions, including other member states of the European Union. Graduates who do not choose a legal career often use their skills and experience for employment in finance, management or journalism or with international organisations such as the European Union and the United Nation

Other items

Personal Tutor

 

Each student will be allocated a Personal Tutor (a member of the academic staff). 

Your Personal Tutor will give you what help he or she can in selecting courses, to ensure that your overall curriculum keeps within the limits allowed, and that it makes sense. S/he will also provide you with an academic reference if requested.

 

Student Support Officer

 

The Student Support Officer is there to deal with any routine enquiries you may have during the year relating to the curriculum, regulations and procedures, essay extensions etc. She will also provide you with standard letters where required, for example, references for the bank or for a landlord.

 

LawPALS

 

The transition from school or college to university can be challenging, especially in the demanding field of law. The Law School ensures that all students are given the support and encouragement they need during the first year of study and beyond.  All first-years are automatically guaranteed direct access to a wealth of experience and information from advanced LLB undergraduates as part of the Law Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (LawPALS).

 

Law Students’ Council

 

The Law Students' Council exists to represent the views of students to the staff and management of the School of Law.

 

Law Society

 

The Law Society (LawSoc) runs a variety of sporting, social and academic events for Law Students.

 

Further information is provided on the Law School website

 

http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/teaching/undergraduate