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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Sexual Relations and the Law (LAWS10220)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will explore the law's regulation - and recognition ¿ of consensual sexual relations. (Non-consensual sexual activity, such as rape, sexual assault and paedophilia will not be covered.) Throughout the course, the different ways in which the law prohibits or promotes sex will be explored, to draw out unifying themes and points of contrast. Some of the questions considered by the course include: what is the role of sex in constituting legally recognised relationships? Can too much sex or not enough sex have a legal role in ending formal relationships? When is sex not legally required? What is the relevance of ECHR, article 8 privacy concerns?

The course will highlight the contrasting approaches and aims of the civil law and, where relevant, criminal law. Ultimately, we will seek to answer the question of how intimate physical activities between adults should be treated in law.
Course description 1. Introduction;
2. Concepts and categories in the Scottish Institutional writers¿ tradition;
3. The sexual family: the differing role of sex in marriage and in cohabitation;
4. The sexual family: same sex relationships;
5. Adultery: civil and criminal law responses;
6. The sexual family: ascribing legal parental status and the importance of sex (including ART and surrogacy);
7. Children and consensual sex: the age of consent;
8. Provocation by infidelity;
9. Rethinking the sexual family;
10. Writing plan activity in class, including peer feedback and submission of formative assessment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Criminal Law (Ordinary) (LAWS08142) AND Family Law (Ordinary) (LAWS08126)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

Students must have passed Criminal Law Ordinary (LAWS08142) AND Family Law Ordinary (LAWS08126) or equivalent course at their home institution.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  32
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) A 4,000-word essay on a given question, which is worth 70% of the course mark, and which is to be researched, presented and referenced in a standard academic style.«br /»
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A 1,000 word paper, on the same question, which is worth 30% of the course mark, and which is to be directed at a different, non-academic audience. Among other possibilities, the answer may take the form of a briefing paper for government, a policy document for law reform, or an advice note for a senior partner or a client. The type of paper required in any year will be specified in the assessment question. All students will be required to give the same form of answer. «br /»
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Both the essay and the paper will be submitted on the same day and time. «br /»
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To understand and appreciate the different ways in which the law regulates physical intimacy between persons;
  2. To develop and refine legal reading skills, through interpreting and evaluating legal sources, including case law, legislation, and academic writing;
  3. To critique and analyse theories of the sexual family and the criminalisation of sex.
  4. To develop written communication skills, most notably the ability to communicate the same information intelligibly to different audiences, and to reflect on what information is required to be presented accordingly;
  5. To be able to analyse and discuss sensitive material regarding intimate aspects of human life and communicate views on this with an awareness of the possible impact on different readerships
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordssexual relations,sex,law,relationships
Course organiserDr Gillian Black
Tel: (0131 6)50 9541
Course secretaryMs Tracy Noden
Tel: (0131 6)50 2053
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