Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Law and Cultural Institutions LAW5151

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides students with an understanding of the various ways in which the law regulates and shapes the work of cultural institutions, such as archives, libraries, museums and galleries. The course will focus primarily on copyright, data protection, freedom of information, open data and the re-use of public sector information within a national and European context.


Weekly teaching sessions (1 x 2-hour seminar). Timetable not yet known.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements


Excluded Courses






This course is assessed by way of continuous assessment, with students completing two pieces of written work (2 x 2500 word essays each of which is worth 50%).



In accordance with the University's Code of Assessment reassessments are normally set for all courses which do not contribute to the honours classifications. 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 are listed below in this box.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to, and a thorough understanding of, the various ways in which UK law regulates and shapes the work of cultural institutions, such as archives, libraries, museums and galleries. While focussing primarily on the law of copyright, data protection, freedom of information, open data and the re-use of public sector information within the UK, the course will also locate the student's understanding of these legal regimes within a European and an international context.

Further aims are to:

■ develop the analytical and critical skills of students by detailed examination of the relevant legislation, conventions and case law;

■ develop the oral communication skills of students through the use of both staff-led and student-led seminars;

■ provide students with an understanding of some of the practical applications of the law as it impacts the work of cultural institutions;

■ foster critical understanding and evaluation of areas of controversy and current legal debates within this domain;

■ encourage independent learning.


Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

■ critically appraise the nature, relevance and scope of relevant UK law as it relates to cultural institutions; 

■ identify the aims and principles underpinning the legal regime as it impacts the work of cultural institutions;

■ identify, contextualise and evaluate new developments in this field;

■ differentiate between legal norms shaping the work of cultural institutions within the pre-digital era, and the adaptation and development of those norms within the digital environment;

■ evaluate and criticise constructively these approaches, and their limitations, with reference to the interests of cultural institutions and their users;

■ demonstrate a critical awareness of the EU and international context within which the law is developing in this domain. 


Students will demonstrate appropriate engagement with ALL of the intended learning outcomes continuously throughout the course, through preparation for and participation in seminars (including participation in individual and group exercises within seminars, where appropriate), as well as through the formative and summative methods of assessment associated with the course.


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.