Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Semester 1 & 2
Organiser: Miss Tasha Roberts
Overall aims and purpose
Legal Skills equips you with the necessary knowledge to succeed within your legal studies. Within this module you will practice and develop your research, referencing, writing, problem-solving, advocacy, presentation and communication skills, all of which are key to being a successful law student. You will also have exposure to guest speakers from both academia and those working within legal practice.
The first semester of Legal Skills is concerned with skills development, including effective note taking; case note writing; article critiquing; research and citations skills, and essay writing. The first semester will also cover employability and careers development. Information literacy skills are a key component of the early part of the module, with specific training in the effective use of both print (hard copy) resources, and the law databases (electronic resources) as used by both law students and law practitioners alike.
The module aims for semester one are:
- To introduce students to practical legal study skills.
- To afford students an opportunity to develop their legal reasoning skills.
- To afford students an opportunity to enhance their legal analysis skills.
- To enhance students commercial awareness and employability.
The second semester of Legal Skills is concerned with mooting (advocacy skills), and revision/exam techniques. Semester two explores mooting research skills and methods, assessments based on legal argument (in terms of content and structure), analysis of problem questions, as well as the critical application of primary and secondary sources of law, and advocacy skills.
The module aims for semester two are:
- To provide students with an introduction to mooting (through workshops, lectures and small group activities).
- To enable students to gain a further in-depth understanding of the legal system of England and Wales.
- To afford students the opportunity to practically apply the laws learnt in Public Law to a scenario, problem question style assessment.
- To discuss revision and exam preparation techniques.
This module introduces learners to practical legal study skills via a series of lectures and workshops which include, but are not limited to: effective note-taking, legal essay writing, legal problem solving, presenting an argument, mooting, effective time management, and revision and exam techniques. Students will be guided in the effective application of these skills to: 1) researching the law (using the law library, on-line sources, finding legislation, finding cases etc.); 2) reading the law (reading legislation, reading law reports, reading academic legal literature etc.); and 3) constructing, analysing, evaluating and defending written and oral legal arguments.
Threshold: D- to D+ (40-49%) An answer which, while predominantly correct in its presentation of material, contains a significant level of error and is therefore not entirely reliable.
C- to C+
C- to C+ (50-59%) An answer which, while always in the main accurate and correct, fails to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant material and is lacking in criticism. An answer which while reliable with regard to correctness is either not comprehensive or not entirely pertinent.
Good: B- to B+ (60-69%) High Standard: A comprehensive answer, containing all the material relevant to the question and no irrelevancy, all the material and references being accurate and correct, there being no inaccuracy or error, the whole presented in an argument which, while clear, logical and critical, leaves room for improvement in its construction and presentation. An answer which shows complete competence in the subject.
Excellent: A- to A* (70+%) An outstanding answer, containing all the material relevant to the question and no irrelevancy, all the material and references being accurate and correct, there being no inaccuracy or error, the whole presented in a clear, logical, critical argument with little room for improvement. An answer which demonstrates a complete mastery of the subject.
Critically evaluate your use of the legal skills involved in finding, analysing, navigating, and referencing both print and electronic sources of legal information.
Demonstrate an understanding of the analytical skills necessary to effectively communicate legal information in writing via case notes, article critiques, skeleton arguments, and traditional academic essays.
Evaluate the different structural tools available to lawyers in addressing problem based scenarios, whilst also considering methods for including rebuttal points and developing countering arguments.
Demonstrate an understanding of courtroom etiquette, and present a fully reasoned, critical, oral legal argument via a moot court simulation.
Evidence an advance understanding legal and transferable skills that are key to effective independent legal research .
|COMPREHENSION TEST||Semester One Multiple Choice Test||
This assessment will take the form of a Multiple-Choice Test consisting of questions pertaining to the content discussed across semester one, including but not limited to: Library Resources (Electronic and Print Information); Primary and Secondary Sources of Law; OSCOLA (Legal Citations); Structuring Law Essays and Fair Practice.
|ROLE PLAY||Semester Two E-Moot and Skeleton Argument||
This assessment will take the form of an individual E-Moot performance relating to an area of Public Law concern. For SXL 2215 students this will require you to submit a two page skeleton argument (consisting of up-to fifteen case law authorities), plus a fifteen minute e-moot performance (excluding the time taken to answer the judge's questions).
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Students are asked to complete the Learn Before the Unit recordings, as well as the prescribed reading relating to effective essay writing, legal skills development, and moot courtroom etiquette and advocacy skills.
In semester two students will be asked to utilise this private study time in order to research and prepare their written and oral materials for their e-moot assessment.
6 x 1 hour small group tutorial sessions (3 in semester one, 3 in semester two), taking place every three weeks.
1 x 2 hour lecture per week across semester one and two, plus 2 x 2 hour reflective development review sessions (one per semester).
- 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.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
- 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
- Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in
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
Resource implications for students
Students are encouraged to purchase a copy of E Finch and S Fafinski, Legal Skills (Oxford University Press), or one of the alternatives listed above.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/sxl-2215.html
The recommended core text is:
E Finch and S Fafinski, Legal Skills (Oxford University Press)
However, there are a range of very good textbooks on legal and mooting skills and students are advised to examine the books listed below before purchasing a text- to ensure that the text they select is one which suits them individually in terms of readability, coverage and price.
Alternative, Legal Skills Reading:
Steve Foster, How to Write Better Law Essays (Pearson) A Bradney (et al), How to Study Law (Sweet and Maxwell) S Hanson, Learning Legal Skills and Reasoning (Routledge) ATH Smith, Glanville Williams: Learning the Law (Sweet and Maxwell) J Holland and J Webb, Learning Legal Rules (Oxford University Press) N McBride, Letters to a Law Student (Pearson) E Finch and S Fafinski, Law Exam Success (Pearson) E Albon and S K Dua, The Insider's Guide to Legal Skills (Routledge) S Slorac and others, Legal Systems and Skills (Oxford University Press) S I Strong, How to Write Law Essays and Exams (Oxford University Press)
Alternative, Mooting Skills Reading:
J Hill, A practical guide to mooting (Palgrave Macmillan Legal Skills) D Pope and D Hill, Mooting and Advocacy Skills (Sweet and Maxwell) J Snape and G Watt, How to Moot: A Student Guide to Mooting (Oxford University Press) Eric Baskind, Mooting The Definitive Guide (Routledge)
In addition to the texts listed above, students will be able to find a range of e-resources covering these issues online for free. Whilst you are reminded to always check the academic credibility and authority of online resources, the following are considered to be credible sources pertaining to some of the material we will be covering:
Oxford University, ‘OSCOLA’ http://www.law.ox.ac.uk/publications/oscola.php Cardiff University, ‘Citing the Law: Tutorial’ https://xerte.cardiff.ac.uk/play_6716 Oxford LibGuides, ‘Introduction to Legal Skills and Legal Research’ http://ox.libguides.com/lawlegalskills LawBore, ‘Introduction to mooting’ http://lawbore.net/articles/ben_vicky_final.pdf Mind, ‘Five ways to wellbeing’ https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/takingcare-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/ Oxford University Press, ‘What is mooting and how is it done’ http://www.oup.co.uk/academic/highereducation/law/mooting/more/ Graham Wright, ‘An insight to legal mooting’ http://www.bcu.ac.uk/law/mooting International Law Student Association, ‘Resources’ http://www.ilsa.org/ Oxford University Press National Competition, http://www.oup.co.uk/academic/highereducation/law/mooting/
Bangor Legal Skills YouTube Channel
In addition to the above, the teaching team have put together a YouTube channel, which collates videos of interest to those who are engaged in mooting at University level:
The above electronic resources are intended to supplement your understanding of the concepts discussed in class. Such should not be used as a substitute to reading the prescribed texts.