UCL Faculty of Laws


Jurisprudence and Legal Theory A (LAWS0054/LAWS0304)

The module provides the opportunity for rigorous study of selected topics in contemporary Anglo-American general jurisprudence.

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  • To raise students’ critical awareness of some major issues in legal philosophy in the Anglo-American tradition

  • To develop and discipline students’ analytical and critical abilities by having them engage in both oral and written abstract arguments

  • To enable and encourage students to think critically about the relation between the nature of law on the one hand and legal doctrines and institutions on the other

Module syllabus

General jurisprudence, broadly speaking, is an inquiry into the nature of law.  This half module will canvas and also take some concentrated looks at Austin’s command theory of law, Hart’s theory based on a combination of two kinds of rules, Dworkin’s interpretivist theory, and Raz’s authority-based theory.  Along the way, we will deal with some of the relevant issues such as the nature of legal adjudication, the relation between law and morality, the difference between norms and values on the one hand and natural and social facts on the other, etc. 

Recommended materials

  • H.L.A. Hart The Concept of Law, 2nd or 3rd ed. (1996 or 2012)

  • Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously (1977)

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, available at the beginning of term once students have enrolled.

Preliminary reading

  • Jeremy Waldron, “Law”, in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy, edited by Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (2005)

Key information

Module details
Credit value:22.5 credits (225 learning hours)
Convenor:Kevin Toh
Other Teachers:George Letsas
Teaching Delivery:

10 x 2-hour weekly seminars

Who may enrol:LLM Students Only


Must not be taken with:Jurisprudence and Legal Theory (LAWS0332)
Qualifying module for:LLM in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
Practice Assessment:TBD
Final Assessment:

3,000 Word Essay (100%)