Course Listing

Introduction to Legal Theory (D)
Last Updated Date:   7 June 2022

4 Credits,  Semester 2

Course Description:
Introduction to Legal Theory introduces the student to theoretical perspectives on law. The exact role and value given to theory vary from one theoretical perspective to another, but in general a theoretical understanding of law brings with it a deeper or broader appreciation of law. It is crucial to establishing law as an intellectual discipline rather than merely a form of professional training.

The sort of topics addressed by legal theory include competing views of the nature of law; different understandings of the social role and social impact of law; attempts to provide a basis for the authority of law; inquiries on the relationship between law and other normative orders, such as morality, ethics, culture and religion; the relationships law as a practice and law as a discipline have with politics, sociology, economics, and the humanities. Legal theory also investigates at an abstract level the way law operates: considering how to better understand legal materials, the process of legal reasoning, the judicial role, and legal rights - and in the case of some approaches, produces a radical challenge to the way lawyers conventionally regard the law.

The precise material covered in each ILT Section will vary, but in each case students will be expected to critically evaluate intuitions, assumptions and standard practices concerning law; to develop analytical skills and apply them in making material discriminations (eg, between what law is and what law ought to be; or, between what makes a law law, and what makes a law just); to follow and engage in theoretical debate; to develop a more rigorous understanding of what law is and what it can be made to do.

By the end of the course, students should have tested their own assumptions about law and be able to articulate and evaluate a range of theoretical positions, and from that to formulate a personal viewpoint on what importance law has. They should also have a greater appreciation of the processes involved in the substantive subjects they study. The course provides a foundation for advanced theoretical electives, and more generally equips students with a broader intellectual base to inform their study of law.

Course Convenor: Prof Andrew Halpin

Co-teacher(s): NA

Module Codes: LC1002D

Contact Hours: 3 hr weekly seminar

Workload: 3 hours

Mode of Assessment: Class participation - 25% [Individual response on the group presentation due via Canvas, date to be confirmed] & Synoptic Essay - 75% [Due: Tue, 18 April 2023 (12pm)]

Preclusions: Nil

Prerequisites: Nil

Examination Date: Different Mode of Examination

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