|Module Title||LEGAL THEORY|
|Co-ordinator||Mr Richard Ireland|
|Other staff||Mr Richard Ireland|
|Course delivery||Seminar||4 Hours|
|Assessment||Essay||Assessed essay of 2000 words (required in week 10).||50%|
|Professional Exemptions||Not Required for Professional Purposes|
These are the types of issue which are addressed in the course entitled "legal theory". No prior acquaintance with philosophy is required nor do there exist any "prerequisites" for entry into the course. The aim is to provide all those involved with a grasp of the "larger questions" concerning their chosen subject of study - the seemingly autonomous discipline of law. If we do not have the "answers", at least we will all have a better grasp of the sense of our questions - "sense" as distinct from "non-sense".
1. Natural Law Theory
What is the relationship, if any, between law and morality? Can we take the maxim "lex injusta non est lex" ("an unjust law is no law") literally? The writings of St.Thomas Aquinas, Professor John Finnis, Professor Lon Fuller and others will be considered.
2. Positivism I
The "command theory". Is law a matter of the orders of a sovereign directed at those who are in a position of habitual obedience where these orders are backed by sanctions? The writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Austin will be considered.
3. Positivism II
In an understanding of the nature of law related to an understanding of the nature of rules? Is law a matter of rules? What do we mean by a rule? Do rules run out in "hard cases" or is law a "seamless web" which provides us with a right answer even in the most difficult of cases? Our focus will be on the writings of Professor H.L.A. Hart and Professor Ronald Dworkin.
4. Positivism III
Is law an autonomous phenomenon? Can we understand law without an understanding of the social context in which it operates? Is it separate from "other disciplines" such as politics, economics, sociology, etc.? The most important writings in this area remain those of Professor Hans Kelsen's.
5. Positivism IV
Modern trends in legal thought, the nature and role of legal theory at the dawn of the twenty first century.
6. Theories of Justice
What is Justice? How does it/should it relate to law?