Understanding the Common Law

King's College London

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Understanding the Common Law

  • Host University

    King's College London

  • Location

    London, England

  • Area of Study

    Justice Studies, Legal Studies, Pre-Law

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4.5 - 6
  • Overview

    Module description
    This module will examine the emergence of the common law and its continued impact in English law and internationally on subjects such as civil liberties, criminal law and international business law. It will also explore various themes relating to the relative strengths and weaknesses of the common law as a source of law, asking questions such as: can the common law be considered a stable system of legal rules? The common law is judge made, and this module will consider the judiciary as an institution, and discuss whether it can be seen as an appropriate law-making body. This module is an opportunity to analyse and critically discuss key concepts relating to the common law, through examining cases and documents and visiting key legal institutions in London, such as the Royal Courts of Justice and the UK Supreme Court.

    This module will consist of a minimum of 45 contact hours with teaching taking place between 9 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday.

    In summer 2016, King's Summer Programmes collaborated with the Dickson Poon School of Law and Career Services to run two career panels for students enrolled on their law modules. They were moderated by King's academics from the School, and the panellists included professionals and King's alumni. Watch the video that was created for these panels for more information. 

    Learning outcomes and objectives

    By the end of the module, you should have:

    • gained an understanding of the emergence of the common law.
    • understood the operation of the common law and how it is situated within the English legal system.
    • expanded your knowledge of the impact of the common law on global legal systems.
    • engaged with and analysed primary sources of law and other materials relevant to the issues discussed during the module
    • engaged with and understood the challenges facing the common law as a legal system.

    Teaching pattern

    • Lectures
    • Seminars & tutorials
    • London walks and visits to key institutions
    • Private study

    Module assessment
    One essay of 1,500 words (85%)
    Presentation of 10 minutes (15%)

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations