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Oxford Summer Courses

16 Turl St, Oxford, OX1 3DH


www.oxfordsummercourses.com

OXFORD SUMMER COURSES IN INDIA


Course Outline - Law
Course Outline – This is a foundational and introductory course which exposes students
to some key debates within the law and surrounding it. The course is aimed exploring significant
themes which pervade most discussions about the law, with a view to enable the student to
constructively engage with legal material upon its completion. It attempts to equip the student with
necessary skills and knowledge to appreciate the law and think about it critically in diverse
situations. At the same time, it tries to locate the law within our modern plural, democratic societies
and highlight its contextual relevance in contemporary times. The course will be taught via
interactive seminars requiring a high level of participation from students. Each seminar shall begin
with a presentation by the course instructor, followed by a discussion drawing upon material on the
reading list. Some seminars will include a debate or a moot related to a contemporary issue of
relevance, and students are expected to come prepared for this. Students can expect to leave the
course with a firm grounding in the basic principles of law, and what a career in law might involve.

Introduction to Course – The course begins by examining the ways in which the law has
captured popular imagination, and contrasts and compares this with more academic and practice-
oriented ways of thinking about it. This will push students to think about whether alternative forms
of regulation of human behaviour can be classified as law. To understand how this kind of
classification can be made legitimate, the course will outline the relationship between the law, the
State, and the legitimising principles of liberty, justice and equality in modern democratic societies.
This will to develop an opinion about how the law should reconcile these objectives, and also accept
its limitations in balancing larger goals. In light of these larger principles, the course will then
narrow down upon the individual point of legal regulation, in an attempt to construct the
reasonable persona and the significance of his/her mental state while committing an act which
attracts legal responsibility. Finally, the course shall discuss the celebrated debate between H.LA.
Hart and Lon Fuller, making the student think about what the relationship between law and
morality should be. Each theme will be explored with reference to its relevance to a contemporary
political or legal debate, enabling the student appreciate the relevance of the living law.

Day 1
Introduction
Welcome, introduction of tutor and students, introduction of course structure and learning goals
Lesson topic & activities
What is Law? An introduction to Law and its functions
 Where have we seen Law represented by popular culture, and how?
 What does it mean to be a lawyer?
 What is it like to be a lawyer?
 What options are there for a career in law?
Pre-course assignment review

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Day 2
Lesson topic & activities
Categorising Laws and Legal Systems
 What makes a law a law?
 How does the law in India differ from legal systems in other parts of the world?
 What processes are necessary to create a new law?
Homework/extension activities
Group work session

Day 3
Lesson topic & activities
Foundational Theories of Law
 What are liberty, justice and equality? What are their implications for law makers?
 Who are the key thinkers in legal theory? You will be introduced to great minds from
Aristotle to the most cutting edge 21st century legal trailblazers.
Homework/extension activities
Reading:
 Pound, Roscoe. “Classification of Law”. Harvard Law Review 37.8 (1924): 933–969
 HLA Hart, Concept of Law, Chapters 1 to 5 (optional)

Day 4
Lesson topic & activities
Law and Liberty
 What is liberty and how does the law constrain/support it?
Relationship between Liberty and Equality
 Are there any contradictions between these two important principles?
 How do we prioritise one value over the other?
Both principles will be applied to significant historical and contemporary legal cases.
 Can the rules of etiquette on Social Media be thought of as ‘law’ in our traditional
understanding of the term?

Homework/extension activities
 J.S. Mill, Of the Limits to the Authority of Society over the Individual, in On Liberty.
 Aksu v. Turkey

Day 5
Lesson topic & activities
Harm Principle
Law and State Paternalism
 Is it legitimate for a state to enforce a law mandating drivers to wear a seatbelt?
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This class will continue to consider the boundaries of legal ethics, and the relationship between law
and the state. This will also draw upon the previous class’ discussions of the principle of Liberty.
Homework/extension activities
 V. I. Lenin, The State and Revolution, p, 269, 1963.
 A. Altman, Arguing about the Law, Chapter 5

Day 6
Day trip – no teaching

Day 7
Lesson topic & activities
Reasonable People: what is the Reasonable Person? Plus Feminist and Other Critiques
of the Reasonable Person
 The Reasonable Person as a construct of the courts: how was the Reasonable Person
developed and what role do they have to play in the Law?
 What are the problems with the Reasonable Person? Can we generalise to this extent?

Homework/extension activities
 D. Miller and R. Perry, The Reasonable Person, 87, NYU Law Review, 323 (2012)
 Victor Tadros, Criminal Responsibility – The Significance of Intentions (Chapter VIII)
Group work session

Day 8
Lesson topic & activities
The Role of Intention in Criminal Law & Beyond
 How can we identify criminal intent?
 What are the problems associated with assuming intent?
Homework/extension activities
 D Réaume, ‘Harm and Fault in Discrimination Law’ (2001) 2 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 349

Day 9
Lesson topic & activities
Law on the Global Stage – an introduction to international law
 If we have established that the law is very different for different states, how does
international law work?
 How do we distinguish what applies to international law and what applies to domestic law?
 Who enforces international law?
Homework/extension activities
Final group work session
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Day 10
Final preparation for group presentations

Group presentation
Group work & presentation
In place of a traditional presentation, students will participate in a Moot court session on a case
which will be decided by their own interests. Students will spend their first group work session
researching real-life cases which appeal to their interests, and will have the opportunity to ask any
questions about how these cases would be tried in real life. They will then be assigned roles for the
Moot and spend group work sessions researching and preparing to carry out these roles, culminating
in a full Moot court on Day 10.
Thematic Workshop
Law Makers: students will work in groups to present a new law to be upheld by the Indian state.
This will include writing the law, considering its implications on modern society and any other laws
which it may support, clarify, or contradict. Groups will present their new law to a panel of judges
(as well as their peers) who will assess each one and choose the law that they think would function
the best for 21st century India.