Law and Economy - LAWS9230

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 20 (10) Amanda Perry-Kessaris checkmark-circle


What causes us to forget that 'the economy' and ‘the law’ are made up of interacting human beings? Why does it matter? These are questions that are relevant to every person in every country. They are the questions that motivate the emergent field of Economic Sociology of Law (ESL), which takes sociologically-inspired approaches to relationships between the ‘economic’ (the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services) and the ‘legal’ (the use, abuse and avoidance of legal rules and institutions). In this module we systematically (that is, addressing the analytical, empirical and normative components) explore the limitations of orthodox legal and economic approaches, and examine how Economic Sociology of Law might compensate for them. There is a strong practical and empirical emphasis, and examples are drawn from current events and policy from all over the world.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 180
Total study hours: 200


LLM in (Specialisation); LLM in Law; PG Diploma in (Specialisation); PG Certificate in Law

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
100% coursework, comprising, either:

An Essay, 5000 words (100%)
An Essay, 4000 words (80%) and presentation, in pairs, five minutes per person (20%)

Reassessment methods

Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Birla, R. Stages of Capital: Law, culture and market governance in late colonial India (Duke University Press, 2009)
Cooter, R. and Ulen, T. Law and Economics 6th Edition (Pearson, 2011).
Cotterrell, R. The Sociology of Law: An Introduction 2nd Edition (Butterworths, 2005).
Planet Money, National Public Radio podcast Polanyi, K. The Great Transformation 2nd Edition (Beacon Press, 2001).
Zelizer, V. Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy (Princeton Press, 2010)

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:

1. Demonstrate a systematic evaluation of the substantive, analytical, normative and empirical characteristics of economic sociology of law
2. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create
and interpret knowledge in ESL, and an ability to critically analyse those techniques.
3. Demonstrate a critical awareness of how ESL differs from other approaches to the legal and the economic.
4. Demonstrate a critical awareness of historical and contemporary theoretical and policy problems around the world that have generated,
and continue to inform, ESL.
5. Demonstrate originality in the application and synthesis of the above knowledge and understanding.

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

1. Demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding in the form of an integrated, reasoned argument.
2. Critically identify and evaluate complex legal and policy problems according to their historical, political and legal context.
3. Demonstrate self-direction whilst carrying out independent further research, synthesising material from a variety of sources to inform a
sustained and detailed argument.
4. Demonstrate a sophisticated ability to summarise detailed historical and conceptual material, recognising different positions that arise in
the literature surveyed.
5. Critically analyse and evaluate the implications of the fact that legal forms arise and operate within complex historical and political
6. Critically analyse the economic, political and/or social implications of legal forms and remedies.


Stage 1


  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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