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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Legislation (Honours) (LAWS10221)

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
SummaryLegislation is the principal source of new law in the Scottish legal system. This course will examine where legislation comes from and how it is construed and interpreted in practice (both inside and outside the courts). The course will consider policy formulation, the instruction and drafting of legislation, the legislative process, and take a detailed look at the interpretation of statutes.
Course description This course will give students an understanding of where legislation comes from and how it is construed and interpreted in practice (both inside and outside the courts). With the benefit of contributions from those involved in the preparation of legislation for the Scottish government, students will examine policy formulation, the instruction and drafting of legislation, the legislative process, and critically examine the approach taken to the interpretation of statutes. Students will have the opportunity to enhance their drafting skills through preparation of draft legislative clauses or draft instructions for the preparation of legislation. In addition, students will have the opportunity to develop advanced problem-solving skills through the application of principles and approaches to statutory interpretation in advising on the interpretation of a problem.

Course seminars will cover the following topics

1. Policy formulation;
2. Translating policy into instructions for the drafter (with examination of instructions);
3. Drafting;
4. Drafting;
5. The parliamentary process, including a consideration of parliamentary pressures and the procedure for amendments.

The final five seminars concentrate on issues relating to interpretation including:

6. The meaning of legislative intention and the purposive approach to interpretation;
7. Pepper v Hart and pre parliamentary materials;
8. Other external aids to interpretation;
9. Internal aids to interpretation;
10. Presumptions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Scottish Legal System (LAWS08128)
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.

Visiting students from non-common law jurisdictions should take Scottish Legal System (LAWS08128) before enrolling on the course.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
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) There will be two components of assessment:
(a) The first, relating to the first half of the course, will be a drafting exercise (50%). (The form of exercise and the required word limit, which will not exceed 3,000 words, will be indicated by the Course Organiser from year to year).
(b) The second, relating to the second half of the course, will be a take-home problem-solving exercise on interpretation of a statute (50%). It will be 3,000 words in length and students will have one week to complete it.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of (i) the concepts and values underpinning the legislative process and (ii) legal concepts, values, principles and rules applicable to the interpretation of statutes and be able to give reasons for them and to explain the the relationships between them in a number of complex areas
  2. Students should be able to demonstrate a comprehensive and accurate knowledge and understanding of the detail of the law and the theoretical issues involved in the legislative process and statutory interpretation.
  3. Students should be able to apply their knowledge to difficult situations of significant legal complexity assessed through a problem solving exercise, to analyse facts and to produce well-supported conclusions in relation to them.
  4. Students should be able to use the English language and legal terminology with care and accuracy in a drafting exercise the presentation of which is moderated to suit the need of the intended audience (eg for drafting legislation ¿ to the wider public, or for preparation of instructions for legislation ¿ to the parliamentary drafter instructed).
  5. Students should be able to take initiative in the design of their drafted text (whether in an area of law they have previously studied or otherwise) and find their own sources (both legal ¿ primary and secondary sources - and non-legal) to identify complex issues in a topic.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserMr Scott Wortley
Tel: (0131 6)51 4307
Course secretaryMiss Robyn Blyth
Tel: (01316) 514550
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