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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Critical Approaches to Law
Module Code LG137
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: James Gallen
Semester 2: James Gallen
Autumn: James Gallen
Module TeachersJames Gallen
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

The module will introduce students to critical legal techniques grounded in critical, feminist and social theories. The module develops basic theoretical understanding of law and society, critical legal studies and feminist legal studies through the critical analysis of the legal system, including legal education and the legal profession, before examining the role of critical and cause lawyering in advocating for social political and legal change in an Irish, comparative and international context. Case studies illustrate the potential, the challenges and the risks in the use of law as a form of oppression, resistance, change and stability in these contexts. Guest speakers from practice and colleagues in the School of Law and Government engaged in legal advocacy and reform will inform the module’s topics and discussions.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts and principles in law and society, critical legal theory and feminist legal theory
2. Interrogate the relationship between normative and critical legal theories
3. Critically analyse legal concepts, practices, techniques, phenomena and events
4. Understand the political and ethical relationship between critique and justice, and the distinctive role of critical legal theory in relation to law legal practices, and contemporary political and legal problems
5. Undertake basic independent critical and analytical legal research.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the application of critical theory to public and private law in national legal systems and to international and regional legal systems.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22No Description
Independent Study228Reading, research and assignment and exam preparation.
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction to Law & Society

Introduction to Critical Legal Studies

Introduction to Feminist Legal Studies

Critical Legal Education

The Legal Profession and Critical Lawyering

Cause Lawyering and Social Movements

Legal Change: Advocacy and Law Making

Critical Approaches to Private Law: Tort Law and Social Change

Critical Approaches to Comparative Law

Critical Approaches to European Human Rights: ECHR and EU

Critical Approaches to International Law & International Human Rights

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Research PaperCase study assessment of law in action from a critical perspective.50%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Bacik I and Rogan M: 2016, Legal Cases that Changed Ireland, Clarus,
  • Mansell, W: 0, Critical Introduction to Law, 2015, Routledge,
  • Mansell, W: 2014, International Law: A Critical Introduction, Hart,
  • Sarat, A. and Scheingold, S., (eds): 1998, Cause Lawyering: Political Commitments and Professional Responsibility, Oxford University Press,
  • Ward, I.: 2011, A Critical Approach to European Law, Cambridge University Press,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BCLBachelor of Civil Law (Law & Society)
BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)

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