Introduction to the English Legal System - LAWS3270

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 4 4 (2) Marie Kerin checkmark-circle


Part A: English Legal System
This module provides an overview of the English Legal System, including the following indicative topics:
1. An introduction to Parliament and the legislative process
2. The court structure and the doctrine of precedent
3. An introduction to case law, including how to identify and the importance of ratio decidendi and obiter dicta

Part B: Introduction to Legal Skills
The module also gives students an introduction to the basic legal skills that they will develop further in their other modules throughout the degree. The focus here is on specific exercises to support exploration and use of the library resources that are available, both in paper copy and electronically through the legal databases, and on understanding practices of legal citation.


Contact hours

Private study hours: 30
Total study hours: 40
Total contact hours: 10


All undergraduate law programmes – compulsory module

Method of assessment

The overall mark for the module will be pass/fail and students will be required to pass BOTH elements.

Main assessment methods

• Legal Research Skills (Multiple Choice Test) - (50%)
• Poster and Diary - (50%)

Reassessment methods

Indicative reading

• E. Finch and S., Fafinski Legal Skills (5th ed, 2015 OUP).
• A. Gillespie, The English Legal System (6th ed, 2017 OUP)

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 knowledge of the basic principles of the English legal system;
2. knowledge of the law-making process;
3. knowledge of the court structure and administrative justice system; and
4. legal research skills

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. demonstrate a working knowledge of the library and conduct research using electronic sources and paper materials.
2. read and evaluate cases, including the ability to identify ratio decidendi and obiter dicta.
3. demonstrate a working knowledge of OSCOLA citation method and ability to provide legal citations.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  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.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.