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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Advertising, Commercial Speech and the Law (LAWS10194)

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
SummaryThe field of advertising law is an evolving and exciting field of commercial and communications law, stimulated by the rapid development of digital and online marketing. It is estimated that advertising revenues will reach 660 billion dollars in the US this year and the various regulations designed to protect consumers and competing businesses, as well as the increasingly international nature of commercial communications, make this a challenging field of study with clear practical relevance. This course will encourage you to think about the economic and social importance of advertising and its changing nature.
Course description You will explore the human rights dimension to advertising law and the public interests that underpin its regulation. Both general and advertising-specific rules will be covered, with specific reference to self-regulation in the field. There will be a particular focus on digital marketing, social media and the relationship between advertising and the mass media.

The indicative teaching programme will be as follows:

Session One: Brief history and discussion of the different forms of commercial speech, its economic and social impact and effects.

Session Two: The Legal and Regulatory Framework. This seminar will map the various sources of law that affect commercial communications and consider the advertising specific codes and regulatory bodies that operate in the field both in the UK and with reference to other domestic and international comparators.

Session Three: Commercial Speech ¿ the Human Rights Framework. Is commercial speech afforded the same level of protection as political speech in domestic and international human rights charters. Once again a comparative approach will be adopted.

Session Four: Identification of Advertisers and Surreptitious Advertising

Session Five: Misleading and Deceptive Advertising

Session Six: Comparative Advertising

Session Seven: Advertising Regulation in Europe: Country of Origin Regulation and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

Session Eight: Digital marketing, data protection and behavioural advertising

Session Nine: Digital marketing and social media/games

Session Ten: Outside speaker/topical issue such as the environment, health, advertising aimed at children etc.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
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.
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 a good understanding of the interplay between domestic and international law, including European Union law, in the advertising field. There will also be a comparative element. This will involve an understanding of general legal rules that intersect with the field of advertising as well as specific advertising rules. The course will explore the role of soft law and self or private regulation. Students will understand the major challenges facing regulators as a result of social, economic and technological developments and will have developed a legal framework for analysing a number of key topical issues, for instance relating to privacy or child protection, in the field.
  2. Have further developed their abilities and skills in respect of use of legal materials and legal resoning; appreciation of law in its context; evaluation and criticism of law; legal research and intellectual skills of collecting, organising, evaluating and synthesising material and arguments. Development of these skills will be supported through the group work exercises as well oral discussion and critical evaluation of their research in the seminars.
  3. Demonstrate general transferable intellectual skills, having formed groups to carry out research tasks for selected seminars and working together to present their findings. Students will be thus be required to develop their skills in managing time, working independently and in groups, and taking responsibility for their own work.
  4. Have further developed their comomunication skills, oral and writing, both in preparing course assignments and in engaging actively in seminar discussions and on the course forum.
  5. Have developed a technical and practical understanding of advertising law and regulation. They will gain a good factual knowledge of the field and an understanding of key principles and regulatory techniques. They will know how to analyse and apply this knowledge to concrete problems, taking into account the technical and social context, central in the advertisng field. They will be able to communicate this information clearly and effectively. These skills will be useful for subsequent employment in private legal practice, for work with domestic and international civil society and regulatory organisations and in the media sector itself. Advertising law itself raises a number of ethical questions that students will be encouraged to reflect on during the course, with reflection of the public interests that underpin advertising regulation.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On completion of this course students will be able to:

(i) draw on relevant legal materials and use these effectively to develop their legal reasoning;
(ii) understand the application of the law in its wider social, economic and political context;
(iii) evaluate and criticise the law, using a variety of legal, policy-based, and theoretical arguments;
(iv) carry out legal research in the field, in part so that the knowledge and understanding gained may be applied and adapted in future; and
(v) draw on learned transferable skills: (a) communication skills, oral and in writing; (b) intellectual skills, of collecting, organising, evaluating, synthesising and presenting material and arguments; (c) general skills, in managing time, working independently and with others, and taking responsibility for their own work.
KeywordsAdvertising,Commercial Speech,Advertising Law,Commercial and Communications Law
Course organiserDr Rachael Craufurd-Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 2061
Course secretaryMr Ryan McGuire
Tel: (0131 6)50 2386
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