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The discipline and profession concerned with the customs, practices, and rules of conduct of a community that are recognized as binding by the community. Enforcement of the body of rules is through a controlling authority.

Division & Traditions


Legal Systems

Special Fields of Law

Private Law

  • Law of Contract (Covers all kinds of market transactions), Commercial Contract.
  • Restitution (obligations based on unjust enrichment).
  • Law of Torts (setting down basic duties we all owe to each other - bodily integrity, mental health, property, reputation, privacy, negligence, and what claims can be brought when those duties are breached).

Public law

International Law



History and Philosophy of law

Greek and Roman legal theory especially Stoics and their focus on reason, Middle ages, Classical era of natural law, German transcendental idealism, Historical and evolutionary theories of law, Utilitarianism, Analytical Positivism, Sociological Jurisprudence and legal realism, Revival of Natural Law and Value-oriented Jurisprudence.

Relation legal theory (nature of law) vs. Legal Philosophy (value implications of law).

Nature and functions of law

The need for order, the quest for justice, synthesis of order and justice, law distinguished from other means of social control, Rule of Law.

Sources and techniques of law

Formal and nonformal sources, Law and scientific method, Judicial process.

Commercial Law

Contract Law. Commercial Contract. Quality of Goods. Transfer of title. . Company law. Corporate insolvency. Law of business Association, Corporate personality. Liability of company. ...

Law of Contract

Sanctity of promises? Should they always be enforced? Reliancy Theory. What counts as reliance aot disappointment? Delegation of power by the state to individuals to enter into own contracts. Difficult examples, e.g. sale of human body parts or babies for adoption. Social effects? Long-term relations rely on other sanctions that the Law of Contracts. Market-individualism vs. consumer-welfarism?

When is there consent? Acceptance of an offer? Or reasonable conduct that is sufficient to show agreement? Implied consent. Unilateral contracts.

Statutory control over unfair terms.

Misrepresentation and unfair trading practices. Duress, undue influence, and Unconscionability. Remedies.

Law of Torts

La loi du délit.

Duty of care. Breach of duty. Causation and remotenes of care.

Defences to negligence (illegality, Contributory negligence, Volenti non fit injura).

Economic Loss



Psychiatric damages. Who has a valid claim, secondary victims.

Life and death. Wrongful birth, unwanted child. Disability. Wrongful death

Remedies and damages.

Property Law

William of Ockham, John Locke and the the emergence of private property. Original ownership (especially interesting with claims to indigenous title, by "first nations" in e.g. Australia and the US, where political struggle is expressed through land ownership claims). Property and Personality (right to body, and body parts). Hegel and virtual society. Cultural property. Intellectual Property.

Criminal Law

The Conceptual Framework of Criminal Law Doctrine:


Property Offences:

Non-fatal Violence: Offences Against the Person

Administrative Law

As prescribing behaviour for administrations, relations between those inside and those outside the administration. Need for definition of administrative units. Function and character of the state. Governance replacing government implying involvement of a vast array of actors. Impact on administrative law?

Who makes the law? What is the law?

Agentification - Advisory Agencies, Regulatory agencies, Executive agencies, Adjudicative agencies. Sometimes known as Quangos in the UK, common in the US. Problem, seen as taking responsibility from elected government thus escaping accountability.

Regulation - state becoming 'regulatory state' delegating to businesses running the services. Regulatory agencies given impetus during privatisation. Why intervening in markets? What are the techniques for intervening? Case : Credit crisis and financial regulation.

Judicial review - post-WW2 period, focus on rationality, HR, rights-based review.

Alternative dispute resolution - Ombudsmen

Freedom of Information

Terrorism, Government control orders

Medical Law

Bioethics. Resource allocation. Medical malpractice. Consent. Mental Health law. Confidentiality. Genetic information. Clinical research. Regulation of medicines. Organ transplantation. Embryo and stem cell research. Abortion. Liability for occurrences before birth. Assisted conception. PGD and cloning. End of life decisions. Surrogacy.

Civil Liberties and Human Rights

Difference between civil liberty and liberty. Relation do democracy? Is there a right to security? State of exception, Carl schmitt. Deprivation of liberty- mental health law, deprivation of liberty. Respect for private life. Freedom of religion, religious dress. freedom from discrimination.

Information Technology and Law

Digitisation, regulation. Digital property, virtual property. Cyber speech. Intellectual property rights. Data protection. E-commerce.

Family Law

Marriage, civil partnership, dissolution, divorce. Financial provision. domestic violence. Children act.

Environmental law

Media Law

Constitutional Law and Theory

Conflict of Laws

Arbitrating conflict between laws.

Religious Law

Shariah, Islamic Law Course at SOAS.

Reading cases in case law

Reading cases properly. Use these two as examples and answer the questions.

1. R(A) v B [2009] UKSC12


Who is the appellant? What are his obligations to his employer? Who is the respondent? What are his administrative law obligations to A? Is this a public or a private law case? Who intervened? What are the rules on intervention? Why did the appellant apply for judicial review? Who sat at first instance? Who sat in the Court of Appeal, what was decided, by whom? What is A now asking for? What statutes were in issue? Did the Human Rights argument strengthen this case? What was A's Argument 1? What did the Court rule? What was A's Argument 2? What did the Court rule? What does s3 of the Human Rights Act provide? How might it be applied in this case? A submitted that to 'force this article 10 challenge into the IPT would inevitably result in breaches of article 6(1)'? What breaches? Why does Article 6(1) apply in this case? What is ouster? What was decided in Anisminic v Foreign Compensation Commission? Why was Anisminic distinguished? Summarise the 'intention of Parliament' argument. What did the Supreme Court rule? Who won?

Supposing you wanted to decide the case for the other party, what would your reasoning be? [one paragraph please]

2. Huang and Kashmiri v Home Secretary [2007] UKHL 11

Who were the appellants in these joined cases and what was their cause of action? What is the governing legislation? How did the case reach the House of Lords? Did the Immigration Appeal Tribunal hear an appeal or conduct a review? Did the House of Lords hear an appeal or conduct a review? Is there a difference? Which articles of the ECHR might be relevant? Was there a human rights argument? Was it helpful? What is the function of the immigration authority? What is the Immigration Appeal Tribunal and what are its functions? Was the decision in Edore v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2003] EWCA Civ 716 overruled? If so, who overruled it? What was said by the Law Lords about proportionality? What do you understand by 'deference? What was said by the Law Lords about 'due deference'? Why should the appellate immigration authority 'assume that the Immigration Rules and supplementary instructions, made by the responsible minister and laid before Parliament, had the imprimatur of democratic approval and should be taken to strike the right balance between the interests of the individual and those of the community'? What is the case against making this assumption? What is the ratio decidendi of this case? What was the outcome of the case? Who paid the costs?

What was said about Huang in Chikwamba v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] UKHL 40? How did the facts differ? Did this affect the outcome? What was the government argument? What was said about 'policy'? What further argument might spring from this?

Can you find a case note or article to help you?

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