Law and Social Theory LAW4034

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Amongst the most powerful of contemporary analyses of law and legal institutions are those which draw on the tradition of social theory. These trends now constitute a discrete area of academic enquiry that is of growing importance and relevance. This course offers a series of readings which draw on that tradition and think them through in relation to contemporary legal problems


2 hours in person seminar per week

Requirements of Entry

This course is only available to LL.B students

Excluded Courses





The assessment will be a research essay of 4000 words (70%), and a compulsory oral examination lasting 20 minutes (30%).

The oral examination has been in use in this course for around 20 years now. Up until now the external examiner has always attended (in person or by zoom) and participated. If the external was unable to attend we could now record the oral exams on zoom. Students are given guidance in advance on the format of the exam, and questions for discussion are pre-circulated.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

■ To introduce the student to the basic paradigms of social theory as it relates to law

■ To place the development of law in social theoretical and historical context

■ To develop a critical understanding of the relationship between law and social theory

■ To enhance the student's understanding of contemporary law and legal institutions

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will:

■ Be able to explain and apply a range of social theoretical analyses of law and legal institutions

■ Be able to assess critically the differences between diverse theoretical approaches

■ Be able to identify and evaluate trends in the development of legal and social theory

Be able to develop and articulate their own understanding of the appropriate paradigms for analysis in legal and social theory

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

  Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.