Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

LL.B. Honours in Law

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 (Hons)
Programme title: Bachelor of Law with Honours
UCAS code: M114
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Law
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: School of Law Director of Quality Assurance
Date of production/revision: April 2012, July 2013

External summary

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

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.

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, and
  6. the socio-economic framework in which legal rules operate.

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 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 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.

 

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

  1. dentify an appropriate topic for research, develop a plan and realis
  2. Explain and justify research methods used in that research where appropriate.
  3. Manage an extended period of time independently to achieve disparate goals.
  4. 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

To demonstrate an advanced ability to:

  1. Act independently in planning and undertaking tasks in areas of law which he or she is studying or has already studied.
  2. Undertake independent research in areas of law 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 its 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 matters, systematically structure academic writing, express views and ideas succinctly, pursue an argument with proper care and attention to academic literature and 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 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 and as the basis for an argument use, present and evaluate information provided in numerical form.
  6. Use language proficiently in relation to legal matters and specifically to use appropriate legal terminology in work, and to use recognised methods of citation and reference.
  7. Communicate information (including discussing technical and complex legal 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 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. Display an informed knowledge and understanding of the social, economic, moral and ethical contexts in which law operates and how law responds to these social, economic, moral and ethical contexts by displaying legal knowledge in association with related policy, underlying social conditions, professional ethical issues and moral issues; and to respond to changes in law 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

Honours Degrees

 

The Honours degree takes 4 years to complete and requires students to achieve 480 credits in total.  Students will normally take 240 credits of ordinary courses (SCQF level 8) in years 1 and 2, and 240 credits (SCQF level 10) of Honours courses in years 3 and 4.

 

Ordinary courses – years 1 and 2

 

The Law School offers a range of Ordinary (SCQF 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).  The table below sets out all Ordinary courses available in the Law School, together with a note as to whether they are required for the degree of LLB, or by the Law Society of Scotland or the Faculty of Advocates.  Students wishing to enter the legal profession in Scotland must ensure that they pass the appropriate subjects below.

 

Course

Required

for the

award of

the LLB?

 

Required

for entry to

Diploma/

PEAT 1?

Required

by the Law

Society of

Scotland?

Required by

the Faculty

of

Advocates?

Usual

Year

of

Study

Scottish Legal

System

Y

Y

Y

Y

1

Contract &

Unjustified

Enrichment

Y

Y

Y

Y

1

Family Law

Y

Y

Y

Y

1

Critical Legal Thinking

Y

Y

Y

Y

1

Public Law of

the UK and

Scotland

Y

Y

Y

Y

1

EU Law

Y

Y

Y

Y

1

Civil Law

N

N

N

Y

1

International

Law

N

N

N

N

1

Introduction to Criminology

N

N

N

N

1

Introduction to Criminal Justice

N

N

N

N

1

Employment

Law

N

N

N

N

1

Jurisprudence

Y

N

N

Y

2

Property Law

Y

Y

Y

Y

2

Business Entities

N

Y

Y

Y

2

Delict

Y

Y

Y

Y

2

Public Law and

Individual Rights

Y

Y

Y

Y

2

Evidence and Criminal Law

Y

Y

Y

Y

2

Commercial Law

N

Y

Y

Y

2

Succession and Trusts

N

Y

Y

Y

2

Revenue Law

N

N

N

N

2

International

Private Law

N

N

N

Y

2

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

 

Advice will also be provided by Personal Tutors.

 

Honours Syllabus – Years 3 and 4

 

Application to Honours is made at the end of second year. Once admitted to Honours study, students take the compulsory course in Advanced Legal Methods (20 credits) plus 100 credits of Honours subjects in year 3. In addition, students in their final year (year 4) undertake a dissertation (worth 40 credits), which is researched and written by the student over the course of the year, under supervision from an academic member of staff.

 

Students have a free choice deciding on their Honours subjects, but the number of places in each course is limited. These Honours subjects range over the whole field of legal interest.  Examples are Family Law, International Law, Commercial Law, Medical Jurisprudence and Media Law. Each course involves more advanced study of the topic in question than at Ordinary level. The emphasis is on the development of critical and analytical skills

 

Programme information (including individual courses):

 

Full details of the degree programme and structure can be seen at 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.

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 125750
Year 229710
Year 312880
Year 49910

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

On-line assessment

Essays

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

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 189011
Year 287013
Year 325075
Year 400100

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 Nations.

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