Module SXL-1118:
Roman Law and Legal History

Module Facts

Run by School of Law

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Gwilym Owen

Overall aims and purpose

The course examines the development of English law from the Norman Conquest to the nineteenth century, although in some instances developments are followed up to the present time. Throughout the module, legal developments will be related to political, economic, social and intellectual changes within England and Wales. The course also consists of an examination of the basic concepts and principles of the Roman legal order, and of its development as a system of law in the ancient world. Students will be encouraged to relate the development of Roman law to the social and intellectual development of the Roman people.

Course content

The main areas of Legal History that are studied are:

• the history of the legal system itself, in particular the development of the court structure; • the history of land law and the forms of action; • the development of the concept of the use, equity and the modern trust; • the development of the English law of obligations into the two areas of tort and contract from their common origins in the actions of trespass and case; • the concept of liability in English law with particular reference to homicide in criminal law and the distinction between trespass and case on the civil side.

The module will also examine the main features of Roman law relating to:

• status and citizenship; • the family; • succession; • property; • obligations and actions, in each area seeking to compare the Roman legal principles with those of the English common law.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

To achieve a Third Class (D) grade, the assessment must:

• Demonstrate a very basic knowledge and understanding of some of the key case law/legislation and principles in the area of law. Be able to identify some legal issues and apply relevant law. • Demonstrate some, if only limited, evidence of background study, using appropriate case law and legislation. • Attempt to present an answer on the question asked, with only some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure. • Attempt to present relevant and coherent arguments, which are based on appropriate legal analysis. • Not contain a large number of substantive legal errors. • Demonstrate an attempt to avoid major weaknesses in presentation and accuracy, albeit with some errors in referencing, spelling and grammar, or bibliography present.

A D+ grade: • Exceeds expectations for some of the above criteria; • Demonstrates moderate factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding; • A few ideas/arguments are presented but with weaknesses in logic/presentation.

A D grade: • Meets all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates limited factual knowledge with several weaknesses in understanding; • Very few ideas/arguments are presented.

A D- grade: • Meets most but not all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates limited factual knowledge with many weaknesses in understanding; • Very few ideas/arguments are presented and with errors in logic/presentation.

excellent

To achieve a First Class (A) grade, the assessment must:

• Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and detailed understanding of the area of law, including familiarity with relevant case law, legislation, academic debates and any recent or anticipated developments. Be able to identify all legal issues and apply relevant law. • Demonstrate extensive background study as appropriate to the assessment method, using appropriate sources, including case law, legislation and academic commentary such as journal articles, law books and authoritative reports. • Be well structured, including the coherent development of arguments and the use of an introduction and conclusion, and highly focussed on the question asked, including the ability to determine what is relevant and the omission of superfluous information/material. • Contain logically presented and defended arguments, which are based on appropriate research and legal analysis. • Be completely free from substantive legal errors. • Include significant elements of original interpretation, including depth of analysis and the ability to present arguments based on sound legal reasoning. • Be presented to very high standards with very accurate communication, including the use of language and grammar, layout of the text, footnote referencing, bibliography and adherence to the stipulated word limit.

An A* grade: • Exceeds expectations for most of the above criteria; • Demonstrates complete command of the subject matter; • Incorporates highly original ideas or arguments.

An A+ grade: • Exceeds expectations for some of the above criteria; • Demonstrates complete command of the subject matter; • Incorporates highly original ideas or arguments.

An A grade: • Meets all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates command of the subject matter, with only very minor gaps in knowledge; • Incorporates mostly original ideas or arguments.

An A- grade: • Meets most but not all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates command of the subject matter, with some gaps in knowledge; • Incorporates mostly original ideas or arguments.

good

To achieve an Upper Second Class (B) grade, the assessment must:

• Demonstrate strong knowledge and understanding of most of the area of law, including familiarity with relevant case law, legislation, academic debates and any recent or anticipated developments. Be able to identify most legal issues and apply relevant law. • Demonstrate evidence of background study, using appropriate sources, including case law, legislation and academic commentary such as journal articles, law books and authoritative reports. • Be well structured, including the coherent development of arguments and the use of an introduction and conclusion, and focussed on the question asked, including the ability to determine what is relevant and the omission of superfluous information/material. • Contain coherently presented arguments, which are based on appropriate research and legal analysis. • Be mostly free from substantive legal errors. • Include some elements of original interpretation, including depth of analysis and the ability to present arguments based on sound legal reasoning. • Be presented to high standards with accurate communication, including the use of language and grammar, layout of the text, footnote referencing, bibliography and adherence to the stipulated word limit.

A B+ grade: • Exceeds expectations for some of the above criteria; • Demonstrates command of the subject matter, but with some gaps in knowledge; • Incorporates some original ideas or arguments.

A B grade: • Meets all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates strong factual knowledge and understanding; • Ideas or arguments are well-presented but few are original.

A B- grade: • Meets most but not all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates strong factual knowledge with minor weaknesses in understanding; • Most but not all of the ideas or arguments are well-presented and few are original.

C- to C+

To achieve a Lower Second Class (C) grade, the assessment must:

• Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key areas/principles in the area of law, including familiarity with the essential case law, legislation and academic debates in the area. Be able to identify the key legal issues and apply relevant law. • Demonstrate some, if only limited, evidence of background study, using appropriate sources, including some relevant case law, legislation and academic commentary such as journal articles, law books and authoritative reports. • Be focussed on the question asked, with only some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure. • Attempt to present some relevant and logical arguments. • Not contain a large number of substantive legal errors. • Be free of major weaknesses in presentation and accuracy, including the use of language and grammar, layout of the text, footnote referencing, bibliography and adherence to the stipulated word limit.

A C+ grade: • Exceeds expectations for some of the above criteria; • Demonstrates strong factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding; • Ideas/arguments are limited but are well presented.

A C grade: • Meets all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates moderate factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding; • Ideas or arguments are limited with weaknesses in logic/presentation.

A C- grade: • Meets most but not all of the above criteria; • Demonstrates moderate factual knowledge with some weaknesses in understanding; • Ideas or arguments are limited with weaknesses in logic/presentation.

Learning outcomes

  1. Have a basic understanding of the origins of the concepts of the trust and estates in land.

  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the court system in English legal history.

  3. Be able to appreciate the historical developments in the Law of Obligations and to identify these developments in a modern context.

  4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the Roman Laws relating to persons and Roman concepts of ownership

  5. Have a basic understanding of the Roman principles of the Law of Obligations.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Written assignment 33
EXAM Final examination 67

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study 160
Lecture

Tuition will be by means of 20 weekly lectures (i.e. one two-hour lecture per week) spread over the two semesters. Some of the lectures will be formal lectures but other sessions will take the form of seminars and will be more interactive.

40

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Develop the ability to interpret legal rules and employ techniques of legal reasoning competently and efficiently in order to offer a range of solutions and conclusions to actual or hypothetical complex legal problems, all supported by relevant academic literature, jurisprudence and legislative research. Such solutions will be clearly communicated and presented
  • Develop the ability to analyse complex legal issues, set against the background of the political, social, economic or cultural contexts in which they may arise
  • Develop those skills which are necessary for scholarship and research in legal subjects, namely the ability to identify relevant primary and secondary legal sources and to retrieve accurate legal information using paper and electronic sources

Resources

Reading list

Books

Students are recommended to read one or more of the following introductory works :

Barry Nicholas, An Introduction to Roman Law {Oxford U.P.) J.A.Crook, Law and Life of Rome (Thames and Hudson). Olga Tellegen Couperus, A Short History of Roman Law (Routledge) Jane F. Gardner, Women in Roman Law and Society (Croom Helm).

In additional to the above, students are recommended to read:

J.H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History (4th ed., 2002) pp. 1–96; 126–134

Textbooks

Students are recommended to purchase :

Borowski, Textbook on Roman Law by Paul du Plessis 4th edn (OUP, 2010).,

Source Book

Students wishing to purchase or utilise a source book of primary materials translated into English are recommended:

J.H.Baker and S.F.C.Milsom, Sources of English Legal History.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: