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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Negligence Law (Honours) (LAWS10184)

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 is an advanced level course on the law of negligence which will build on the knowledge of acquired in the Ordinary Delict course to examine key issues in a more analytical format. Its primary focus is upon Scots law, but extensive comparative reference will also made to Anglo-American and European legal systems.
Course description This is an advanced level course on the law of negligence which will build on the knowledge of acquired in the Ordinary Delict course to examine key issues in a more analytical format. Its primary focus is upon Scots law, but extensive comparative reference will also made to Anglo-American and European legal systems. Fundamental conceptual structures will be studied in their historical and modern contexts and consideration will be given also to the broader factors, circumstances, and values that inform a finding of liability in negligence. The course will have at its centre a review of the fundamental framework of duty of care, standard of care, causation, and defences. It will also give attention to topical problem areas such as liability for negligently inflicted economic loss and for psychiatric injury, and well as the liability of public authorities. Future directions in Scots law will be mapped against English law and discussed in the light of developments such as the 'bringing home' of human rights law to delict and recent initiatives to establish a common European law of torts.

The course has the following primary aims:
A. To develop knowledge and understanding of the Scots law of negligence in comparative context.
B. In so doing, to develop abilities and skills in respect of:
- Using legal materials
- Practical reasoning
- Appreciation of the law in its social, economic and historical contexts
- Evaluation and criticism of the law
- Research, gaining knowledge and understanding which may be applied and adapted in future; and transferable skills, including (a) oral and written communication skills; (b) intellectual skills, of collecting, organising, evaluating, synthesising and presenting material and arguments, including the questioning of assumptions and testing of hypotheses; and (c) general skills, in managing time, working independently, and taking responsibility for one's own work.

Indicative topics to be covered are as follows:
- Introduction: the evolution of the law of negligence and convergence with English Law
- Duty of care
- Standard of care
- Causation
- Defences
- Liability for psychiatric harm
- Liability for pure economic loss
- Liability of public authorities
- Negligent nuisance
- Vicarious liability
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Delict (LAWS08135)
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-requisitesVisiting students should have done the equivalent of LAWS08135 Delict in their home institution.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the law of negligence, a critical insight into the controversies which have arisen in modern Scots and English law, and an appreciation of their history and comparative significance; and demonstrate a critical understanding of the way the law operates, both theoretically and in practice.
  2. Critically analyse source materials and use them to present a structured argument; plan a piece of independent research and present it to an audience; and analyse and apply current case law and scholarship to problems so as to suggest possible solutions.
  3. Have developed the ability to assemble information derived from a number of different sources (primary and secondary, modern and historical, domestic and international), to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant and to create a coherent synthesis; have acquired the essential legal research skills necessary to produce structured legal documents; and have developed the ability to make a reasoned choice between rival positions on legal questions.
  4. Demonstrate their ability to work independently under fixed deadlines; participate effectively in seminars and discussions; have developed their capacity for reflecting on the outcomes of individual research with a view to identifying strengths and weaknesses and furthering their own learning; and have developed their ability to present the outcome of independent research in clear written or oral form.
  5. Have developed substantive legal reasoning and research skills, and engage in broad moral and ethical discourse.
Reading List
J Thomson (ed), Delict (Looseleaf reference volume, published by Scottish Universities Law Institute)
C T Walton et al (eds) Charlesworth and Percy on Negligence 13th edn (2014)
W E Peel et al (eds) Winfield and Jolowicz on Tort, 19th edn (2014)
NJ McBride and R Bagshaw, Tort Law, 4th edn (2012) and companion website at
P Giliker, Tort Law, 5th edn (2014)
J Murphy, Street on Torts 13th edn (2012)
S Deakin et al, Markesinis and Deakin's Tort Law 7th edn ( 2013)

All of these texts are in the Law Library.

Students will also require to make heavy use of electronic resources including Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Justis.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNegligence law,Delictual liability
Course organiserDr John MacLeod
Course secretaryMiss Susie Morgan
Tel: (0131 6)50 2339
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