Skills in Legal Interpretation - LAWS5940

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Simone Glanert checkmark-circle


90% of English legal cases involve a statute. For obvious reasons, it is crucial that students should know how to interpret and apply a statute. Through a series of fascinating examples drawn from the UK and elsewhere, this module teaches students these skills, which all employers highly value. Indeed, skills in the interpretation and application of law-texts are also very useful in a wide range of contexts, for example when students have to deal with judicial precedents or multilingual legislation.


Contact hours

Total study hours: 150
Contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 130


All single and joint honours undergraduate law programmes

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

The module will be assessed by 40% coursework and 60% examination:
Essay, 2000 words (40%)
Exam, 2 hours (60%)

Reassessment methods

The module will be reassessed by like-for-like reassessment of failed individual component(s) of assessment.

Indicative reading

Bennion, F.A.R. (2001) Understanding Common Law Legislation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gadamer, Hans-Georg (1986) Truth and Method, trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall, 2nd rev. Eng. edn, New York: Continuum, 2004.
Glanert, Simone and Girard, Fabien (eds) (2017) Law's Hermeneutics: Other Investigations, London: Routledge.
Greenawalt, Kent (2013) Statutory and Common Law Interpretation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hunter, Rosemary et al. (eds) (2010) Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice, Oxford: Hart.
Hutchinson, Allan C. (2016) Toward an Informal Account of Legal Interpretation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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 detailed understanding of the established canons of statutory interpretation in the UK and with those prevailing in other
countries such as Canada, France and the United States.
2. Critically assess the impact of EU law on statutory interpretation in EU Member States.
3. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of hermeneutics, reader-response theory, and deconstruction as these movements pertain to
statutory interpretation in the UK.
4. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the politics of statutory interpretation in the UK.
5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of methods of statutory interpretation to be used in a given situation
6. Critically assess the legal efficiency of statutory interpretation strategies at both the national and supranational level.
7. Demonstrate a critical awareness of, and sensitivity to, the economic, political and/or social implications arising from the application of
various methods of statutory interpretation.

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

1. Undertake guided and independent research by taking into account a variety of sources of information.
2. Demonstrate interdisciplinary approaches to the study of legal interpretation..
3. Demonstrate analytical, argumentation and problem-solving skills.
4. Engage critically with legal and non-legal sources in discussions and writings.
5. Use relevant and appropriate legal and non-legal terminology with care, accuracy and confidence in discussions and writings.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 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.
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