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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Child Law in Comparative Perspectives (LAWS11416)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to explore the differences in the law relating to children and young people across a range of comparative global jurisdictions, using Scots law as the base jurisdiction. Discussion will focus on the UNCRC, alongside detailed analysis of how different cultures, religions, traditions, etc, contribute to state laws. Students from jurisdictions outwith Scotland will be invited to share research findings from their home countries.
Course description The course will focus on the legal regulations as well as legal theory underlying jurisdictional practices. A key focal point that will permeate the course will be how legal regulation reconciles with the civic, cultural, economic, political and social rights of children as enshrined in the UNCRC. The course will also look at the overall protections and their adequacy given to children in the different jurisdictions.

Indicative Teaching Programme:

Seminar 1 » Introduction to the course and historical development of legal rights for children and young people with reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNCRC, etc.
Seminar 2 » The legal definitions of 'child' and 'young person' and reasons for the lack of uniformity amongst global jurisdictions; related rights, responsibilities and protections.
Seminar 3 » The meaning of 'welfare'; welfare v protection; parental control v evolving capacity.
Seminar 4 » Welfare on a global scale; is welfare the same as wellbeing?
Seminar 5 » The right of the child to express a view.
Seminar 6 » Culture, religion and tradition - limitations and freedoms
Seminar 7 » The age of criminal responsibility and criminal prosecution - jurisdictional consequences; international standardisation?
Seminar 8 » Dealing with children who commit criminal offences - global comparisons.
Seminar 9 » UNCRC - is ratification enough to ensure protections?
Seminar 10 » Best interests v significant harm: who takes the final decision?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
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) Formative Assessment:

At each of the first five seminars, nominated students will be required to submit a 2-page reflective report describing the methodology they use in the preparation for seminars, essays, dissertations, etc. This exercise will help each student to identify, develop and consolidate an individualised and workable research methodology that will be a transferable skill to be used in other areas of research work.

Summative Assessment:

This course will be assessed by a mid-semester essay of 2000 words that will represent 30% of the final mark; and an end of course essay of 3000 words that will represent 70% of the final mark.
Feedback Formative Assessment Feedback:

The submitted 2-page written methodology piece will be read by the seminar leader and feedback given at the following seminar.

Summative Assessment Feedback:

Written feedback will be provided for both the 2000 word (30%) and the 3000 word essays (70%). Feedback will be made available in Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop and enhance their understanding of the historical background that paved the way for the current legal status of children in the UK and other jurisdictions.
  2. Evidence a fuller knowledge and understanding of the current issues that help direct the focus of research in comparative child law.
  3. Demonstrate an extensive knowledge of the legislative, policy and other sources that apply across the range of studied jurisdictions in order to achieve the desired aims and outcomes.
  4. Critically appreciate the reasons for the differences between the law relating to children and young persons from a global comparative perspective.
  5. Exhibit an extensive knowledge of the ways in which law changes to address the fast pace of societal changes.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills and Abilities in Research and Enquiry:
- Students will be required to undertake comprehensive research in relation to the UK and other jurisdictions via paper and online research methods.

Skills and Abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy:
Students will acquire the ability to:
- carry out detailed preparation and research for each seminar;
- develop a working methodology that fosters research skills;
- develop independent skills including how to prioritise reading and research materials;
- learn to analyse rigorously academic and other sources; and
- develop verbal and written skills that will enable clear presentation of findings and conclusions.

Skills and Abilities in Communication:
These will include the ability to:
- contribute to the seminars by engaging in class discussions;
- learn skills that will allow coherent presentation of arguments that support opinions and research conclusions;
- learn interpersonal communication skills of listening and taking on board other arguments;
- prepare and deliver short presentations; and
- develop the skills of presenting finished work for marked assessments.

Skills and Abilities in Personal Effectiveness:
These will include:
- developing study skills;
- gaining confidence to lead in-class short presentations; and
- developing effective time management skills including skills to help with prioritising important and relevant materials.
KeywordsChild Law,Law,Postgraduate,Comparative Perspectives,Family Law
Course organiserMrs Katy MacFarlane
Course secretaryMiss Bethan Walters
Tel: (0131 6)50 2386
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