LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Professor George Letsas
Other Teachers:
Professor Riz Mokal
Dr Prince Saprai


The first half of the module will cover certain fundamental topics in contemporary Anglo-American legal philosophy, through studying three main schools of thought: legal positivism, natural law and interpretivism. We will explore questions such as: what is the nature of legal norms? How do we identify legal norms? What is the connection between legal and moral obligation? What is the point and purpose of law? Is coercion essential to law? Do judges have discretion in applying the law?

The second half of the module will cover questions in the philosophy of particular areas of law. This year we shall study 1) issues in the philosophy of international law and human rights and 2) issues in the philosophy of contract and tort law.


First Term

  • Moral Objectivity and the Law
  • The Command Theory and Utilitarianism
  • Criticisms of the Command Theory
  • Legal Positivism and Conventionalism
  • Criticisms of Legal Positivism
  • Law as Integrity
  • Coercion and the Law
  • Law and the Common Good
  • Law and Authority
  • Judicial Discretion in Stare Decisis and Statutory Interpretation

Second Term

Philosophy of International law (5 seminars)

  • Is International Law, law?
  • The Value of Sovereignty
  • International Law and Legitimacy
  • Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights I
  • Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights II

Philosophy of Private law (5 seminars)

  • The Morality of Promising
  • The Contract as Promise Debate
  • Contract Law and Individuation of Areas of Law
  • Tort Law and Moral Luck
  • Tort Law and Risk

Background Reading (optional):

  • HLA Hart, The Concept of Law 3rd. ed. (OUP);
  • RM Dworkin, Law’s Empire (Hart)
  • JM Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights 2nd ed. (OUP)

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 20 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Medium – 16-50 students
Who may enrol: LLM students, other UCL Masters students
Prerequisities: No formal prerequisites, though previous study of legal philosophy is recommended.
Barred module combinations: This module cannot be taken with its half-module component LAWSG025A Jurisprudence and Legal Theory A
Core Module for LLM specialism: Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
Final Assessment: 2 x 3,000 word coursework essay
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on 1 optional practice essay per term

This page was last updated on 8 August, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.