UCL FACULTY OF LAWS

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.


DECISION-MAKING FOR LAWYERS: DECISIONS, GAMES AND PSYCHOLOGY OF STRATEGIC CHOICE (LAWSG179)
Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Module Convenor: Mr Mihael Jeklic Other Teachers: N/A
Content

Summary:

The module provides an interdisciplinary study of the analytic and cognitive-behavioural perspectives to decision-making under conditions of uncertainty and strategic interdependence. The emphasis of the module is on the aspects of decision-making relevant for lawyers.

In the introductory part of the module, the students receive training in decision analysis and applied game theory, formal analytical frameworks for decisions under uncertainty. This set of normative tools is commonly used by major corporations in capital investments and increasingly employed by law firms in litigation, arbitration, negotiation, mediation and deal-making.

The remainder of the module focuses on psychology of poor decisions resulting from intuitive, biased, often unconscious heuristics-driven decision-making processes. The topics include Nobel Prize winning research by Kahneman and Tversky, theories of associative, algorithmic and reflective thinking, bounded rationality and judgmental heuristics, anchoring, judgmental overconfidence, framing, and instances of bounded awareness in auctions and strategic settings (the winner’s curse). The aim is to examine the descriptive theory of such failures of decision-making and to train students to make better decisions.

The module will involve students in an intensive and thorough survey of the intersection of analytic and cognitive-behavioural perspectives to decision making. The classes are interactive and tailored to facilitate experiential learning though case studies and cognitive exercises.

Syllabus:

  1. Introduction: Expectations, Coin-flips and Risk
  2. Decision Analysis: Decision Making Under Uncertainty
  3. Applied Game Theory: Decision Making Under Strategic Interdependence
  4. Fast and Slow Thinking: Dual and Triprocess Theories
  5. Bounded Rationality: Representativeness, Availability, Confirmation Heuristic
  6. Bounded Awareness: Groups, Auctions and Strategic Settings
  7. Framing and Reversal of Preferences
  8. Irrational Escalation of Commitment
  9. Fairness and Ethics in Decision Making
  10. Motivated Reasoning

Background Reading (optional):

Nobel Prize lecture by Daniel Kahneman: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/2002/kahneman-lecture.html

Planning for Surprises, an interview with Max H. Bazerman and Michael D. Watkins:
http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/4450.html

Bazerman, Chugh, Bounded awareness: What You Fail to See Can Hurt You, Mind & Society, 2007, Vol 6.

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: 10 x 2-hour lectures
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: N/A – This module will run for the first time in 2014/15
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Litigation and Dispute Resolution, International Commercial Law, International Banking and Finance Law, Corporate Law
Assessment
Final Assessment: 3,000 word coursework essay
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional 1500 word practice essay


APPLICATION NOTICES

The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now closed.

Information regarding applications for September 2015 will be updated on the website in September 2014.

IMPORTANT NOTICE : Updated 28 May 2014

The Home Office issued an update about the acceptance of ETS tests (including TOEFL). They have now confirmed that Higher Education students applying for a Tier 4 visa may use a TOEFL test taken after 17 April, if a Higher Education Institution is willing to use its academic discretion. For those students entering in September 2014, UCL will continue to accept the TOEFL even if it was taken after 17 April. However, if an applicant still needs to book a test then we recommend that they take an alternative test to TOEFL. Those who have already arranged to take a different test following the previous advice from the Home Office, we encourage you to go ahead with taking the alternative test.

The TOEFL test will continue to be accepted for 2014 entrants who have been asked to take an English language qualification as part of their offer condition, and do not need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.