Kent Law School

Critical perspectives research led teaching


Teaching and support

Kent Law School takes a distinictive 'critical approach' that places law in the wider context of society. In addition to a full and thorough grounding in the detail of law, you are taught to think about the history and development of the law, and the moral and ethical considerations which shape its development. This approach helps you to develop skills in analysis and creative thinking that are vital to lawyers and useful in many other professions.

Students are taught in a supportive environment where everything possible is done to foster both their intellectual and personal development and where staff are approachable and helpful. A broad framework of support for law students includes Academic Advisers, Student Advisers and a dedicated team in the School's Skills Hub, providing practical guidance and tailored support.

Law School academics are amongst those who feature in the University's TED-style 'Think Kent' lecture series

Kent Law School's dedicated Skills Hub team was formally commended for its work supporting students in the University Teaching Prizes 2015/16.

How students learn

Our students learn primarily through a combination of small group seminars and large group lectures, with discussion and debate encouraged and facilitated by freindly and approachable academic staff. We are firmly committed to excellence in teaching, and to help develop our talented and able students, both academically and personally.

We believe in giving students high quality contact time in class, and in the development of their ability to research and work independently through guided self-study.

Students can choose from a large and varied range of optional modules in law as they progress through their studies, such as optional modules in Company Law, Family Law, International Law and Human Rights, to specialist areas of law such as Art Law, Medical Law, and Environmental Law. We usually offer over 35 different optional choices, with students able to study a variety of legal areas as they progress through the degree, or to specialise in particular areas of law in which they are most interested.

What I enjoy most here is the critical approach to law, the amazing relationship between students and staff, who are always there to help and guide students whilst pushing them to the best of their capacities.

~ Lula Wyss Le Brocq, English and French Law

World class knowledge and research-led teaching

All academic staff teach at undergraduate level, with students benefiting from the knowledge of leading academic scholars. Kent Law School was ranked 8th in the UK for research intensity in the most recent govenment assessment of the research quality of universities (the Research Excellence Framework or REF 2014). Almost all (99%) of the research submitted by academic staff was judged to be of international quality.

From the beginning of their degree, students are guided by academics who model how to ask and answer research questions. They also learn how to use legal and social science databases for researching cases and articles. Students who are interested in empirical research – a method of learning about the world through observation – can take the ‘Law in Action’ module. Led by an experienced empirical researcher, the module introduces students to research methods and allows them to conduct research on a topic of their choosing. An optional, final-year dissertation module provides another in-depth opportunity to research a legal question which has particularly engaged the student.

Students benefit hugely from the research culture at KLS. Our lecturers are often leaders in their fields, bringing cutting edge work into the classroom. Research led teaching shapes the programme; lecturers have published widely and tailor courses to their expertise, enabling students to directly benefit from their work in addition to ensuring the programme is up to date. Drawing on the expertise of staff is immensely valuable to students, allowing us, in the final years, to explore our own interests under the guidance of a field leader.

~ Harley Ronan, President Kent Critical Law Society 2014

Opportunities to work with real clients in the Kent Law Clinic

Law students have the opportunity of working in the Kent Law Clinic. In the Law Clinic students have the full conduct of cases on behalf of clients - under the close supervision of qualified lawyers. They can apply and develop their knowledge of law through the experience of working on live cases and through a structured reflection on that legal practice.

The casework requires them to undertake such tasks as interviewing, legal research, corresponding, drafting statements of case, negotiating and appearing as advocates before the Employment Tribunal, the County Court and other forums. Work carried out in the Law Clinic can count towards a student's final degree in law, and there are many ways that students can get involved.

Student participation takes place at a number of levels. There is in the Clinic a culture and atmosphere of enthusiastically engaged involvement with the practice of law, and with the legal issues that arises in the world beyond the university.

On my first day, I was asked to take a witness interview. A Clinic solicitor sat alongside me and asked supplementary questions, but I wrote the statement and the solicitor later sat down with me and discussed any necessary amendments. You can get to work on court cases or public inquiries. I was involved in an immigration tribunal and had to write a skeleton argument outlining our legal arguments so you are getting real experience.

~ Jacob Podgorski, Stage 3 Law LLB

Academic support from Academic Advisers

You will have an academic personal tutor - know as your 'Academic Adviser' throughout the entirety of your degree. The role of the Academic Adviser is to provide advice and assistance wherever you (or occasionally teachers or other staff) think you have a problem or otherwise need guidance. This can include confidential help with personal problems but more typically Academic Advisers handle general academic issues (eg advising on choice of modules or what to do if you are getting behind with work for some reason) and administrative queries (especially at the beginning, students often need help to find their way around any university's administrative system).

All Kent Law School teachers provide full feedback on written work and have regular contact hours when they are available to see students individually. Teachers keep a close eye on academic progress. We will flag up any problems we think you may be having and try to help either individually or through the progress system. We encourage you to develop your research skills, self-reliance and initiative but you need never feel lost academically.

The University of Kent prepared me for everything I'll need for life after graduation: Academic knowledge, professional understanding and living independently.

~ Ali Mohamed, Law and Business Administration

Pastoral support from Student Advisers

Kent Law School has a fully staffed Student Advice Office with experienced Student Advisers on hand to give advice about a range of academic and pastoral issues. The Student Advice Office provides an advice and information service for undergraduate students of the Law School, and complements the support provided by the Academic Advisers.

We keep a pretty close eye on your academic progress - any potential problems are flagged up by your teachers so yo can do something about them. Academic difficulties are normally handled in a supportive and informal way, by discussion with your personal tutor or student adviser (and where appropriate or by calling in additional central support).

Kent Law School's faculty makes it extremely easy for struggling students to get back on track and stay focused. They are easy to reach out to and are more than helpful, even if it isn't in their area of specialty. The fact that the entire faculty are so friendly and helpful made the experience at Kent one of a kind. Kent has given me the opportunity to reflect and weigh options on various things, and this has in the end made a turn for the better in my future!

~ Papon Charonenpao, Law LLB

Kent Law School Skills Hub and study skills support

Kent Law School Skills Hub

The Kent Law School Skills Hub is a physical and online space designed to support law students with their studies. The Skills Hub is based in Eliot College and is staffed by a dedicated team of Law School graduates (who also teach undergraduate) five days per week - any law student with any query can drop in (or email) for help on anything related to academic study (except the answers!), including advice on reading, coping, understanding, approaching assessments, acting on feedback and more....

The Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

The Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (UELT) at Kent offers academic skills support to all students throughout the year, for example with essay writing, time management and note taking. Additionally, the Law School co-operates with UELT in providing the Value Added Learning in University Education (VALUE) programme for first-year students concerned that they may not be not be fulfilling their academic potential. This is a a structured framework of revision, skills and relaxation sessions in the run-up to the exams.

Lawlinks

Lawlinks is designed to help you find your way around legal resources and provides access to a wide range of study skills and legal research guides through the 'Researching the law' and FAQs pages. Access to our subscription datasets is available via the Electronic Law Library.

Our daily drop-in sessions provide students with an opportunity to receive informal advice on the skills needed to study law at university. Our experiences of studying and teaching allow us to help students overcome some of the challenges that studying law brings. As recent Kent Law School graduates, we are able to see things from the perspective of students as well as markers, and provide students with clear and relevant advice.

~ Callum Borg, Associate Lecturer and Kent Law School Skills Hub

Support for disabled students

Kent Law School is committed to its support of all students, including those with disabilities. We provide prospective and current students who are registered with a disability, with clear and comprehensive information that sets out the support that is available to them.

Read our Disability Policy.

Kent Law School prizes

Kent Law School celebrates the academic successes of students from all stages (both undergraduate and postgraduate) each year at a special reception on our Canterbury campus in July. View a list of all the prizes and our sponsors on our Kent Law School prizes page.

 

 

A critical legal education involves politics, history, philosophy, sociology and culture; it gets you thinking about different kinds of legal system, about power, and about who benefits and loses from different decisions.

~ Professor Toni Williams, Head of Kent Law School

Kent Law School - © University of Kent

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 827636

Last Updated: 15/02/2016