Law and Development - LAWS8851

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 7 20 (10) Harm Schepel checkmark-circle


The module will deal with three main interrelated clusters of topics. The first topic is the relationship between law and economic development. This will involve a thorough examination of material ranging from classic sociology (Max Weber, notably) up to modern assertions of the economic superiority of the common law over civil law traditions. The second topic is the relationship between law and development understood in a wider sense than mere economic growth. This will involve, inter alia, an investigation of the relationship between law, human rights and democratisation, an examination of theories of the centrality of 'good governance' in effective development policies, and an introduction to the topic of ‘legal transplants’ and the associated concerns of comparative law scholarship. These two theoretical topics will be underpinned by an emphasis on the historical and ideological frameworks that have informed much of dominant legal thought on the subject. The third part of the module will deal with selected case studies, to provide students the opportunity to apply the theoretical and conceptual basis they have acquired in the first part of the course. These case studies could range from issues related to specific projects (for example, indigenous rights policies as relevant to a major infrastructure project financed by the World Bank), specific regions (for example, Afghanistan, the Balkans), and specific legal instruments (for example, the imposition of standard Bilateral Investment Treaties in North-South relations).


Contact hours

Contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 178
Total study hours: 200


LLM (Specialisation); LLM Law; PGDip (Specialisation); PGCert in Law; PGDip/LLM in (Specialisation) - Brussels

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

This module is assessed by 100% coursework and offers 2 patterns of assessment A & B, the pattern applied will be at the discretion of the convenor at the delivery campus.

Assessment Pattern A

1000 word answer to an assigned question (10%)
5000 word essay (90%)

Assessment Pattern B

5000 word essay (100%).

Reassessment methods

Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

• Philip Alston and Mary Robinson (eds.), Human Rights and Development- Towards Mutual Enforcement (OUP 2005).
• Kenneth W. Dam, The Law-Growth Nexus- The Rule of Law and Economic Development
• (Brookings 2006).
• Mark Goodale and Sally Engle Merry (eds.), The Practice of Human Rights- Tracking law between the Global and the Local (CUP 2007).
• Michael Likosky, Law, Infrastructure, and Human Rights (CUP 2006).
• Ugo Mattei and Laura Nader, Plunder- When the Rule of Law is Illegal (Blackwell 2008)
• Curtis J. Milhaupt and Katharina Pistor, Law & Capitalism- What Corporate Crises Reveal about Legal Systems and Economic
Development around the World (University of Chicago Press 2008).
• Balakrishnan Rajagopal, International Law from Below- Development, Social Movements and Third World Resistance (CUP 2003).
• Jane Stromseth, David Wippman and Rosa Brooks, Can Might make Rights? Building the Rule of Law after Military Interventions (CUP
• Michael Trebilcock and Ronald Daniels, Rule of Law Reform and Development (Edward Elgar 2008)
• David M Trubek and Alvaro Santos (eds.), The New Law and Economic Development- A Critical Appraisal (CUP 2006)
• Ngaire Woods, The Globalizers- The IMF, the World bank, and their Borrowers (Cornell UP 2007).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1. Detailed knowledge and understanding of the theoretical debates and academic controversies surrounding the relationship between law
and economic development.
2. Detailed knowledge and understanding of the theoretical debates and academic controversies surrounding the relationship between law
and democratization.
3. Critical understanding and awareness of the major doctrines and policies directing current international and regional efforts in the field.
4. A critical understanding of the advantages and drawbacks of 'conditionality' in development policy, particularly as it applies to demands for
good governance and the observance of human rights.
5. Critical knowledge and understanding of the place and role of law and legal institutions in efforts directed at the reconstruction of war-torn
6. The ability to place issues of law and development in their proper political, economic and social contexts.
7. A critical awareness of the historical and ideological underpinnings of Western legal thought and international policy in the field of law and

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Present relevant knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned and supported argument;
2. Develop and apply their knowledge and understanding in the form of reasoned supported argument;
3. Carry out thorough research analysing various points of view and using wide sources.
4. Express themselves to a high standard in a coherent form, with appropriate use of citation, and by the use of computer word processing.
5. Find relevant primary and secondary material for research in hard copy and through electronic sources.
6. Undertake further appropriate further training or research in the field.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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