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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Civil Law Ordinary (LAWS08104)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis course deals primarily with Roman Law and, secondarily with its influence on later legal systems, including Scots Law. It focuses on the history and sources of Roman Law, and a detailed account of the Roman law of persons, property, and obligations, before concluding with an overview of the 'Reception' of Roman Law, with a focus on Scotland. The course gives students experience of legal argument and classification, as well as an introduction to the phenomenon of legal development and the relationship of law and society, all within the context of one of the world's most important legal cultures. As well as providing a useful knowledge of Roman Law, the course provides a foundation to the study of the legal history of Scotland and Europe generally, and helps law students with future study of Scots contract, delict, and property law. It meets the Roman or Civil Law requirement for admission to the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland.

No previous knowledge of either Latin or History is required for this course.
Course description 1) Roman (civil) Law or ius civile (the law applicable to Roman citizens) provides the foundation of the legal systems of most of the world and has been intensively studied since around 1100. It is the original university legal discipline and was the first law subject taught in Edinburgh University. By the end of the course, students should be familiar with the main sources of Roman Law, the Roman Law of Persons, Property and Obligations, and have a grasp of an overview of the impact of Roman Law from the Middle Ages onwards, with the ability to explain the law and it sources, and be familiar with the most important literature and debates, at a level appropriate for an ordinary-level student. They should be able to analyse texts. They should also appreciate the importance and problems of some classic and fundamental issues of legal classification. They should understand some of the fundamental structures of law, such as the institutional classification that underpins modern Scots private law. Students should also understand the significance of Roman law in European and World History, and more specifically in the history of Scots law. Where relevant comparisons are made with modern law and the Scottish Institutional Writers.

2) The course starts with a discussion of the sources of Roman law, an outline history of Roman law, and a discussion of roman procedure. It then focuses on the analysis of the concept of person in Roman Law, before dealing with the Roman family. It next examines the Roman law of property, exploring acquisition of property, and the nature of ownership and possession and the idea of a real right. The course then considers the fundamentally important Roman analysis of obligations, before considering Roman contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts and quasi-delicts, including pacts, innominate contracts and praetorian delicts. It concludes with an overview of the influence of Roman Law in Europe from the Middle Ages onwards, with special attention paid to Scotland.

3) The course is taught through formal lectures and small-group tutorials. There is a specific focus on the actual source material of Roman Law where feasible. There is a comprehensive course book with details of lectures and reading, as well as a tutorial booklet. Students also have access to a set of relevant texts for discussion and to promote understanding and learning.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please note that the timetable for this course does not fit with that of the Diploma in Legal Practice. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this course before the Diploma year.
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.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  150
Course Start Full Year
Course Start Date 19/09/2022
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Lecture Hours 44, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 16, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 329 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 80 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay (20%), Degree exam (80%).

Resit exam constitutes 100% of final mark in case of resit.
Feedback Each semester formative course work is given out to students, handed in at one tutorial and returned at the next with appropriate feedback. The summative essay is handed in during the second semester and returned with feedback which can be used in preparation for the examination.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)3:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the Roman Law of Persons, Property and Obligations, as well as of the sources of Roman Law and its procedures, together with an understanding of the place of Roman Law and the history of law in Europe and Scotland.
  2. Have developed an ability to discuss to discuss that law at an appropriate level both orally and in writing, whether in an examination or an extended essay.
  3. Students should have a basic knowledge of legal classification and its significance, and of basic taxonomies of law, along with the capacity to analyse them.
  4. Students should have developed a sensitivity to the distinction between primary and secondary sources.
Reading List
Text Books:

Du Plessis, Paul, Borkowski's Textbook on Roman Law (2020)

Nicholas, B: An Introduction to Roman Law (1962)

Thomas, J A C: Textbook on Roman law (1976)

Buckland, W W: A Text-Book of Roman law 3rd ed by Stein, P (1966)

Metzger, E (ed): A Companion to Justinian's Institutes (1998)

Further reading is indicated in the Course Handbook.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Having completed the course students should be able to demonstrate a basic ability to:

*Recognise, analyse and rank arguments and evidence in terms of relevance and importance by:
o managing volume of legal sources and select key material to construct written or oral answers to a problem.
o identifying the legal problem from information provided.
o addressing problems by reference to relevant material.
o bringing together and integrating information and materials from a variety of different sources.
o acknowledging ranking of sources and relative impact in context.
o application of the law and problem-solving in a legal context.
o presenting arguments for and against propositions.

*Be aware that arguments require to be supported by evidence, in order to meet legal requirements of proof by showing awareness of the need for evidence to support arguments

*Apply knowledge and analysis:
o in a legal context
o creatively to complex situations in order to provide arguable solutions to concrete problems by presenting a range of viable options from a set of facts and law.

*Think critically and make critical judgments on the relative and absolute merits of particular arguments and solutions

*Act independently in planning and undertaking tasks in areas of law which he or she has already studied

*Reflect on his or her own learning, and to seek and make use of feedback
Additional Class Delivery Information Tutorial: 1 hour per week for 16 weeks.
KeywordsCivil Law,Roman Law,Legal History
Course organiserProf P Du Plessis
Tel: (0131 6)50 9701
Course secretaryMrs Suzanne Strath
Tel: (0131 6)517000
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