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Understanding the Common Law (Module)

Module description

This module will examine the emergence of the common law and its continued impact in English law and internationally on subjects such as civil liberties, criminal law and international business law. It will also explore various themes relating to the relative strengths and weaknesses of the common law as a source of law, asking questions such as: can the common law be considered a stable system of legal rules? The common law is judge made, and this module will consider the judiciary as an institution, and discuss whether it can be seen as an appropriate law-making body. This module is an opportunity to analyse and critically discuss key concepts relating to the common law, through examining cases and documents and visiting key legal institutions in London, such as the Royal Courts of Justice and the UK Supreme Court.

This module will consist of a minimum of 45 contact hours with teaching taking place between 9 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday. This is an example timetable so content and timings are subject to change.

In summer 2016, King's Summer Programmes collaborated with the Dickson Poon School of Law and Career Services to run two career panels for students enrolled on their law modules. They were moderated by King's academics from the School, and the panellists included professionals and King's alumni. Watch the video that was created for these panels for more information. 

Learning outcomes and objectives

By the end of the module, you should have:

  • gained an understanding of the emergence of the common law.
  • understood the operation of the common law and how it is situated within the English legal system.
  • expanded your knowledge of the impact of the common law on global legal systems.
  • engaged with and analysed primary sources of law and other materials relevant to the issues discussed during the module
  • engaged with and understood the challenges facing the common law as a legal system.

Staff information

Dr Elin Weston, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London

Teaching pattern

  • Lectures
  • Seminars and tutorials
  • London walks and visits to key institutions
  • Private study

Module assessment - more information

  • One essay of 1,500 words (85%)
  • Presentation of 10 minutes (15%)

Key information

Module code 4ZSS0174

Credit level 4

Assessment coursework presentation/s

Credit value Classes can often be taken for credit towards degrees at other institutions, and are examined to university standards. To receive credit for King's summer classes, contact your home institution to ask them to award external credit. This class is equivalent to an undergraduate degree module and usually awarded 3-4 US credits or 7.5 ECTS.

Semester summer session 1

Study abroad module No