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A Roman Introduction to Private Law

This subject is an introduction to the legal concepts and legal thought of Roman private law, which inspired and influenced our modern private law. The course therefore shows where many of the ideas which we take for granted have come from. The course is based on primary materials, the set texts from Gaius (second century AD) and Justinian (sixth century AD). The texts are studied in translation. No Latin is needed, nor is Latin an advantage. Contact with primary materials is one of the great merits of the study of law. It allows the mind to form its own judgments, freed from second-hand opinions.

The course has five sections: I. Sources of Law and the Scheme of the Institutes; II. Property; III. Obligations (A) Contract, (B) Delict (Tort); IV. Influence of Roman Law.

 

 

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe

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Academic Skills for Criminologists

Professor Carolyn Hoyle

All students participate in the Academic Skills for Criminologists sessions which run through weeks 1-8 of Trinity term, and have two main aims: to assist students in translating the theoretical and methodological knowledge they have gained on the course into coherent and ‘do-able’ research projects; and to help students to develop their academic skills in respect of hosting and responding to academic seminars.

For the first 6 weeks, academics, contract research staff and current DPhil students from the Centre and elsewhere will present to the class their ongoing or recently finished criminological research, focusing where relevant on their methodological approaches and challenges. Each week, a different small group of the MSc cohort will take responsibility for hosting the seminar (under the guidance of the tutor). One student will introduce the speaker, 4 will act as respondents at the end of the presentation and one will write a short blog on the talk for the Centre blog. By the end of the 6 weeks all of the MSc cohort should have had the chance to take on one of these roles. Hence the group will learn both about the challenges and rewards of academic empirical research as well as practice their broader academic skills.
   

The final two weeks will comprise all day workshops where each MSc student will make a short presentation on their dissertation topic, and other students will be expected to ask questions and make helpful comments. The presenters will also receive feedback from the tutor.

Compulsory for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Administrative Law

Administrative Law is concerned primarily with judicial control of the activities of the executive branch of government. The main topics covered are: (1) the grounds on which decisions and rules made by the executive can be challenged in the court - some of these relate to the substance of the decision or rule and others to the procedure by which it was made; (2) the remedies which can be obtained by applicants challenging administrative decisions; (3) the liability of public authorities in contract and tort.

Some tutors also deal with tribunals, public local inquiries, next steps agencies, contracting out and public sector ombudsmen. Some of these topics are the subject of lectures, which also occasionally deal with more theoretical aspects of the subject. Administrative Law is now one of the compulsory standard subjects within the Final Honours School syllabus. It also covers material in the “foundations of legal knowledge” and so must be taken by those seeking a professional qualification in England and Wales. The subject is taught in tutorials arranged by your college tutor.

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

Optional for these programmes: Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Advanced EU Tax law

Elective


The objective of the Advanced EU Tax Law course is to advance students' independent ability to analyse the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the field of taxation as well as their knowledge of the Court's methodology. The course will be based on in-depth examination of the basic concepts used in the EU direct tax case law.

Several branches of cases will be discussed, including those concerning:

  • Relation of EU law and DTCs
  • Prevention of tax avoidance and tax abuse
  • Cross-border loss relief
  • Exit taxes
  • Taxation of passive income

This course will also consider the EU tax directives and the related case law, including:

  • The Parent Subsidiary Directive
  • The Mergers Directive
  • The Savings Directive
  • The Interest & Royalties Directive
  • The Mutual Assistance Directive
  • The Recovery of Taxes Directive

The Court’s jurisprudence in the tax field continues to expand each year, so it is imperative for tax advisers to remain on top of the most recent developments.

The course is taught by Dr Anzhela Cédelle (née Yevgenyeva), OUCBT and Dr Adam Zalasiński, European Commission

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Advanced Property and Trusts

The course explores the foundations of the institutions of property and trusts. It combines conceptual and functional analysis of doctrine with more abstract theoretical enquiry. Ideas and perspectives are drawn from moral and political philosophy, history, and economics, as well as more formally legal, comparative and jurisprudential analyses. Some knowledge of the legal details of property in one or other legal system will be essential for students taking the course. A common-law background is not a prerequisite; much use will be made of English law and other common law systems, but we will also draw upon civilian legal systems in our explorations. The course gives students an opportunity to study fundamental institutions of private law with wide ramifications in the social sciences and humanities. Students will be exposed to the widest possible range of research and teaching in property law and trusts drawing on visiting scholars as well as Oxford faculty. The topics discussed are all ripe for exploration as areas of future research.

The course will divide into three areas: A. Boundaries of Property (conceptual and functional analysis of property) B. Justifying Property (mainstream and novel defences and critiques of property) C. The Trust (the distinctive contribution of trust and fiduciary institutions in blurring the lines between proprietary and personal claims; trust systems in common law and civilian jurisdictions)

The course will be taught by means of seminars supplemented by lectures and tutorials, led in 2016/17 by Joshua Getzler, Simon Douglas, and Luke Rostill. Other lecturers will take an occasional part, drawn from Oxford and other universities and also from the world of practice. The core seminars are spread over Michaelmas and Hilary terms. Students will be provided with course materials accessible through the internet and the intranet, together with material in university and college libraries. Students will explore the reading materials and address a set of thematic questions, on which they will be asked to prepare brief notes. Seminars and lectures will be augmented with tutorials; in tutorial weeks students will be asked to prepare essays on given topics and meet in small groups with teachers for debate and discussion. Each student will have the opportunity to take a set of up to four tutorials in the midst of their seminar learning across the first two terms. In Trinity Term students will be given the opportunity to consolidate their learning in occasional seminars, with guest speakers and extra readings supplied to help with deeper exploration of issues. The tutorials and third-term seminars will assist students in preparing for assessment.

Assessment will take the form of a three hour written examination at the end of the course. Candidates will be required to answer three essay questions from a wide choice of topics, which may cut across themes covered in the course. Candidates will be expected to show a detailed knowledge of relevant theoretical debates and also applicable legal materials, including judgments in cases, and statutory and constitutional provisions. They will also need to display an ability to synthesise complex materials and to present their own analysis of the arguments.

In 2016/17 the course is taught mainly by: Joshua Getzler, Professor of Law and Legal History, Fellow of St Hugh's College; Simon Douglas, Associate Professor of Law, Fellow of Jesus College; Luke Rostill, Associate Professor and University Lecturer in Property Law, Fellow of Trinity College..

 

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Asset Management

Asset Management

This elective covers foundation principles and modern topics in Asset Management. Students will learn in detail three types of assets: mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and hedge funds. These asset classes are those that are most debated nowadays and of foremost importance in practice. The course is mainly organized around newspaper articles, guest lectures, and case studies.

This is an elective course for MLF students taking the finance stream.

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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Capital Raising and Finance

This course examines the role of capital raising for entrepreneurs, investors and companies by analysing theory, using cases and financial modelling, hearing from a range of visiting practitioner speakers and taking part in a project following the ‘Connect Theory with Practice‘ approach, which aims to enable students to acquire not only the required theory of the finance instruments and methods but also to develop their execution and modelling skills for interviews and their future career.

The course covers:

1. Finance instruments: Debt (loans and bonds), quasi-equity (shareholder loans, convertible bonds, preference shares), equity (preferred ordinary shares, ordinary shares)

2. Finance methods: Equity and quasi-equity finance: growth capital, IPO (primary & secondary offer), primary (rights issue and capital increase), secondary (follow on), equity linked (convertible bonds) and debt finance: leverage finance, project finance, infrastructure finance.

This is an elective course for MLF students taking the finance stream.

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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Cases in Finance and Investment

The purpose of this course is to provide real cases and modelling experience to students in the finance areas of leverage finance, mergers & acquisitions, private equity finance (LBO and distress), project and infrastructure finance based on:

Information memorandum and financial modelling analysis by the Lecturer

  • Case analysis & financial modelling by the students

  • Case presentation and interaction with industry executives

  • Project development by a group of students

This is an elective course for MLF students taking the finance stream.

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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Children, Families and the State

The aim of this Option is to examine a number of the most significant issues affecting the legal regulation of children, children and their families, and families more generally.

The readings have been selected to integrate deep, theoretical debates with contemporary legal, policy, and empirical developments.  We are particularly concerned to understand the embeddedness and broader impact of the governing law.

Our intention is that, after completing the Option, you are uniquely empowered and challenged to both critique and reassess the value of theoretical arguments made in this context, as well as reconsider how best to address real world problems.

This Option will naturally appeal to students with a particular interest in family law and human rights law.  More generally, it will appeal to students interested in broader debates that affect everyday life:  Do children have rights?  Do parents have rights?  What should we value when deciding who should be seen as ‘parent’ in law – genetics, caring for the child, and so forth?  It will also appeal to students who enjoy blending theoretical and conceptual arguments with the practical messiness of everyday life.  Finally, it will appeal to students who are interested in bringing international sources of law to bear on such problems.

The following are some of the key substantive topics in the course:

  1. Theories of children’s rights;
  2. International children’s rights;
  3. Children’s welfare and wellbeing;
  4. Parental responsibilities and rights;
  5. Gender and family law;
  6. Family violence;
  7. Diversity, religion, and families;

In each topic, we will examine illustrative ‘case study’ case law and statutory materials from English law, other jurisdictions, and international law.  This will involve considering a broader range of key theoretical, policy, and empirical materials to enable us to situate the legal debate within its complex context.

The course is taught by means of 12 two-hour seminars given over Michaelmas and Hilary Term and four interspersed tutorials, two in each of the two core teaching terms.  In addition to the substantive topics, there will be an introductory seminar in which we outline the basic concepts, and a concluding seminar in which draw together the different perspectives examined and explore some of the larger, thematic concerns.

 Learning outcomes: Through studying this Option, you will be able to:

  1. Understand and critically evaluate theoretical approaches to ‘rights’, ‘children’s rights’, ‘welfare’, and ‘wellbeing’;
  2. Analyse the application and relevance of theoretical perspectives to topical legal issues relating to the regulation of children’s lives;
  3. Acquire a deep knowledge of topical legal issues that relate to the regulation of children in English law, the law of selected other jurisdictions, European and international law;
  4. Appreciate and be sensitive to the value of European, international, and cross-jurisdictional legal perspectives for the improvement of the English legal approach to regulating children and their families;
  5. Integrate and synthesise cross-disciplinary perspectives from theory, public and social policy, and empirical research, to generate enriched, holistic insights into the most significant difficulties in the legal regulation of children and their families

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Commercial Law

Part of the fascination of commercial law springs from its responsiveness to the changing needs of the business community. Through the ingenuity of those in business and their legal advisers new instruments and procedures are constantly being devised which have to be tested for their legal effect against established principles of the law of property and obligations.

The core of the course involves a rigorous examination of personal property law in the context of commercial transactions, together with contractual issues of central importance to commercial transactions. The first part of the course looks at issues related to the sale of goods, such as implied terms, transfer of property and title disputes with third parties. Basic principles of commercial transactions, such as assignment, agency and possession are then examined. The last part of the course looks at real security in personal property, including priorities (between secured interests) and the characterisation of, and justification for, real security. There are also lectures covering negotiable instruments and documents of title to goods.

A feature of the whole course is that the student learns how a desired legal result can be achieved, or a legal hazard avoided, by selection of an appropriate contract structure.

Though students will be expected to analyse statutory materials as well as case law, a distinguishing feature of the course is its concentration on fundamental concepts and their application in a commercial setting. The course thus offers an intellectual challenge and provides a good foundation for those contemplating practice in the field of commercial law.

 

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Commercial Negotiation and Mediation

The aim of this option is to (i) introduce students to a conceptual approach to negotiation and mediation (negotiations assisted by a neutral third-party) and to the most important economic, game theoretic, psychological and legal issues and findings regarding the resolution of commercial disputes by means of negotiation and mediation; (ii) develop students’ skills in negotiating and mediating such disputes by engaging in role plays and other practical exercises, highlighting also the intercultural dimension of dispute resolution; and (iii) let students benefit from the experience of seasoned practitioners in the field who report on specific problems that arose during negotiated and/or mediated cases and provide feedback on students’ negotiation and mediation performance. By attending the course, students will gain the theoretical insights and practical skills to resolve commercial disputes by way of negotiation and/or mediation. The course will be taught by a combination of lectures, seminars, and tutorials, and will also feature practical workshops involving negotiation and mediation role-play exercises.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Commercial Remedies

This course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of remedies in a commercial context, interpreting that phrase in a wide sense. So it will cover remedies for civil wrongs (ie, breach of contract, tort and equitable wrongs) but will exclude any direct consideration of damages for personal injury and death. The course will build on knowledge which all law undergraduates ought to have and, in some areas, will enable students to look in greater depth at matters dealt with at undergraduate level. The approach will be avowedly traditional in that the focus will be on case analysis and doctrine. As with the Restitution of Unjust Enrichment course, with which this will dovetail, the anticipation is that developments at the cutting edge of the law will be constantly debated. An important and novel aspect of the course will be to discuss alongside remedies for the common law wrongs of breach of contract and torts, remedies for the equitable wrongs, such as breach of fiduciary duty.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Company Law

The company is one of the most important institutions in our society. There are over two million registered companies which, of course, vary radically in size and commercial significance ranging from the "one person" company to the large public companies. By virtually any measurement the company is the dominant vehicle through which business is conducted. There are a number of reasons for this but principally it is because it is a very flexible commercial institution and it is made conveniently and cheaply available.

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the basic conceptual apparatus of company law and to analyse some of the policy issues raised in regulating this pervasive commercial form. It is important to note that the course is of relevance not only to those who wish to pursue a career as commercial or company lawyers, but also to those who have no such aspirations, as a knowledge of the company and how it works is relevant to many aspects of legal practice. The course involves an analysis of not only cases but also statute law and, although the Companies Act 2006 is among the largest statutes on the statute book, the course is not overly dominated by the study of statutory materials.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Comparative and Global Environmental Law

Environmental law regimes now operate at the local, national, transnational and international levels in relation to a wide range of environmental problems. This course is a study of these regimes in comparative perspective so as to highlight not only the similarities and differences between them, but also the types of intellectual challenges they create for scholars and lawyers. In particular, a feature of these regimes is their legal and regulatory complexity. Topics covered include the role and nature of environmental principles; the role of courts; the nature of environmental decision-making processes (including the roles of science and participation); environmental impact assessment; nature conservation; chemicals regulation; transgenic agricultural regulation; integrated pollution control; emission trading schemes; commercial transactions; and private law. Reading will be drawn from case law, policy, legal, socio-legal and interdisciplinary literature and consists of 13 seminars and 4 tutorials which will run over Michaelmas Term, Hilary Term and the first third of Trinity Term. There are no pre-requisites for the course.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Comparative Corporate Law

The course consists of a comparative study of major areas of the company laws of the UK, continental Europe (in particular, Germany) and the United States as well as an assessment of the work done by the European Union in the field of company law.

The three areas or jurisdictions selected for comparative study have, collectively, had a very significant impact on the development of company law throughout the world. An understanding of these thus assists students in understanding both the content of, and influences upon, many others. The approach taken is both functional and comparative, looking at a series of core problems with which any system of corporate law must deal, and analysing, from a functional perspective, the solutions adopted by the systems in question. The course seeks to situate these solutions in the underlying concepts and assumptions of the chosen systems, as these often provide an explanation for divergences. To this end, the course begins with a contextual overview of ‘systems’ of corporate governance, which material is then applied in the following seminars on more substantive topics. Such a comparative study is intended to enable students to see their own system of company law in a new and more meaningful light, and to be able to form new views about its future development. Finally, a study of the ways in which the European Union is developing company law within its boundaries is also important, not only as illustrating, by a review of the harmonisation programme, the benefits to be derived from a comparative study in practice, but also because it shows new ways in which corporate vehicles can be developed to meet particular policy objectives.

The course assumes students have knowledge of the basic structure of corporate laws, such as would be gained from an undergraduate course (regardless of jurisdiction). 

The teaching group comprises Professors J Armour, H Eidenmüller, L Enriques, and Dr J Prassl. Teaching consists of a combination of lectures, seminars, and tutorials. Guest lectures by visiting academics may also be given at various points.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of the operation of corporate law in the UK, US, and EU, and a capacity to apply that knowledge to other jurisdictions.

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Comparative Corporate Tax

Elective


The Comparative Corporate Tax course considers the basic elements of corporate tax systems in a structural setting. The focus is on three artificialities that arise from the nature of a corporation: the artificiality of a corporation as an income deriving entity; the artificiality of a corporation as a source of income in the form of dividends; and the artificiality of shares in corporations as assets separate from the assets held by a corporation. The course focuses on the corporate income tax systems of Australia, Germany, the UK and the US. The course does not deal with generic income tax issues (applicable to both individuals and corporations), such as the calculation of business income.

The course includes the following topics:

  • Derivation: identifying corporations, group taxation, tax treatment
  • Distribution: debt/equity distinction, hidden profit distributions, dividend relief
  • Incorporation, transfer of shares, change of control
  • Return of capital, share buy-backs, liquidation
  • Bonus shares, convertibles, options, reconstructions, mergers, demergers

The course is taught by Professor Peter Harris, University of Cambridge and Professor Judith Freedman

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Comparative Criminal Justice, Security and Human Rights

Dr Liora Lazarus and Natasha Simonsen

This course examines the relationship between human rights, criminal justice and the pursuit of security in a range of different jurisdictions. In addition to policing, sentencing, trial and pre-trial processes, the course considers the impact of national security measures in areas such as surveillance and extradition. Students are encouraged to think critically about the application of rights in all of these contexts, and to compare and contrast the approaches taken in different jurisdictions. The option is largely based on case law from jurisdictions including the UK, the US, Israel, South Africa and Germany, as well as judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Students will need to become familiar with reading and analysing cases, but no formal legal training is required.

Topic outline

Week 1 – Introduction and General Themes

 Week 2 – Security, Policing and the Right to Life

 Week 3 – Targeted Killing

 Week 4 – Liberty, criminal justice and security

 Week 5 – Torture, terror and policing

 Week 6 –Torture and expulsion

 Week 7 - Fair trials and secrecy

 Week 8 – Privacy, surveillance and security

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Comparative Equality Law

The right to equality is ubiquitous in human rights instruments in jurisdictions throughout the world. Yet the meaning of equality and non-discrimination are contested. Is equality formal or substantive, and if the latter, what does substantive equality entail? Which groups should be protected from discrimination and how do we decide? How do we capture conceptualisations of equality in legal terms and when should equality give way to other priorities, such as conflicting freedoms or cost? The aim of this course is examine these and other key issues through the prism of comparative law. Given the growing exchange of ideas across different jurisdictions, the comparative technique is a valuable analytic tool to illuminate this field. At the same time, the course pays attention to the importance of social, legal and historical context to the development of legal concepts and their impact.

The first half of the course approaches the subject thematically, while the second half of the course addresses individual grounds, ending with a consideration of remedial structures. Theory is integrated throughout the course, and the relationship between grounds of discrimination and other human rights is explored. The course will be predominantly based on materials from the US, Canada, South Africa, India, the UK, EU, and ECHR, although some materials from other Commonwealth countries or individual European countries will be included. International human rights instruments are also examined. Employment related discrimination is generally dealt with in the International and European Employment Law course. The course does not require previous knowledge of equality or discrimination law. . Students are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, which is directed by Professor Fredman. Guest seminars organised by the Oxford Human Rights Hub take place on alternative Tuesdays at lunchtime during term time. The Hub website features daily blogs on cutting edge new developments in human rights and equality law, and students on the course are encouraged both to read and to contribute to the blog. The Hub also produces webinars and podcasts on pressing current issues in comparative human rights  and equality law.

 The course is taught by a series of 14 seminars, in MT and HT. There will typically be a tutorial at the end of each term and two further tutorials in TT. A series of guest seminars will be arranged throughout the year, but particularly in TT. The course is normally taught by Professor Sandra Fredman, Dr Tarunabh Khaitan, and Dr Barbara Havelkova. In 2015-16, Justice Kate O’Regan (one of the first justices on the South African Constitutional Court) will give a series of seminars in TT.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of theoretical concepts of equality, and of practical applications in different jurisdictions and comparative elements

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Comparative Human Rights

 

Human rights issues are both universal and contested. As human beings, we should all have human rights; yet there remains deep disagreement about the meaning and application of human rights. Courts in different jurisdictions face similar human rights questions; yet the answers often differ. At the same time, there is a growing transnational conversation between courts, with cases in one jurisdiction being discussed and cited in other jurisdictions. This course uses comparative methodology to examine the ways in which central human rights questions are addressed in different jurisdictions. On the one hand, the shared language of human rights and equality suggests that there should be similar solutions to comparable problems. On the other hand, there are important differences between legal institutions, socio-economic development, history and culture.

The course uses comparative human rights jurisprudence to examine these issues. Our main materials are judgments in different courts and the fascinating ways in which these difficult questions are decided. We are not a course in theory, but we use theory to understand the jurisprudence of different courts. We also use case-law to revisit our theory, even if this means radically different understandings of what a human right is. The course is unusual in that we contest the division between socio-economic rights and civil and political rights. So when we address the right to life and security, we look at capital punishment and abortion as well as the right to health, housing and welfare When we look at liberty rights, such as freedom of expression, we also look at the right to education. We are primarily court-centred, but we also take a critical look at a court-centred approach, by considering what constraints this might place on human rights, and by comparing to non-legal methods. This is a comparative course, rather than an international human rights course – so we look at a number of jurisdictions – English speaking and within the common law – but we also look at international instruments for the substance of the rights.

Teaching for this subject comprises of seminars and tutorials. In general the seminars aim to encourage extensive class participation and extended high-level discussion of particular topics of importance. Tutorials provide the opportunity to write essays and discuss essay and examination technique. The course as a whole aims to contribute to the legal education of the student by providing the opportunity for comparative study, during which the appropriateness and utility of comparative legal techniques will be considered.

The course is usually taught by Professor Sandra Fredman and Nicholas Bamforth. In 2015-16 Justice Kate O’Regan (one of the first justices on the South African Constitutional Court) will give a series of seminars in TT. Students are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, which is directed by Professor Fredman. Guest seminars organised by the Oxford Human Rights Hub take place on alternative Tuesdays at lunchtime during term time. The Hub website features daily blogs on cutting edge new developments in human rights law, and students on the course are encouraged both to read and to contribute to the blog. The Hub also produces webinars and podcasts on pressing current issues in comparative human rights  and equality law.

Teaching is in the form of a two-hour seminar which runs each week during Michaelmas and Hilary Terms.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of theoretical concepts of human rights and of how those concepts relate to legal concepts and are applied in different jurisdictions.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Comparative Private Law

Comparative Law is one of the most fascinating subjects in the legal syllabus. Comparative lawyers examine the differences and similarities of legal rules and doctrines across various legal systems. Students of comparative law soon realise that many of the legal issues that they have examined in the first two years of their degree are resolved in a very different manner in foreign jurisdictions.

English private law in particular has certain features that exist in a radically different shape, or are not present at all in other jurisdictions. These include the doctrine of consideration, the specific structure of tortious liability and the entire law of trusts.

An awareness of such differences is vital for students if they wish to be prepared for the challenges of legal practice in a globalised world, where many of them will be faced with cross-border dealings on a daily basis. It also enables them, at a time when they are approaching the end of their degree, to build on the knowledge of English private law that they have been able to acquire in their first and second year. Studying comparative private law allows them to draw together various threads of the wider discourse on the foundations of private law and to reflect critically on the English law by comparison with other legal systems. 

The course focuses on a number of selected topics, drawn from the areas of contract (the conception of contract; performance, non-performance and remedies), tort (the structure of extra-contractual liability; product liability), property law (ownership, title and possession) and trusts (trust and fiduciary devices). English law is mostly compared to the private laws of France and Germany, the two most influential jurisdictions within the Western legal tradition other than England and the US.

Teaching is provided throughout Michaelmas and Hilary. For each of the selected topics there is an introductory two-hour lecture and a two-hour class contrasting English law with the solutions found in other jurisdictions. In 2016-2017 there will also be a special series of lectures on relevant aspects of the new French contract law (which comes into force on 1 October 2016). Lectures and classes are followed by tutorials. Instead of producing four or more standard length tutorial essays students write two extended essays of 4,000-5,000 words on a topic of their choice (one in Michaelmas and one in Hilary). They receive four (one-to-one) tutorials overall: for each of the two essays there is a tutorial discussing the proposed plan of research and another one discussing the result.

The teaching also includes a general lecture series provided in Michaelmas. This gives a general overview of the discipline of comparative law and provides a theoretical and methodological framework for the actual comparison to be made in the classes and tutorials.

Students work with a wide range of materials including primary sources, such as cases and statutes, and legal writings drawn from articles and textbooks. All materials are made available in English, so no knowledge of foreign languages is required.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of how certain fundamental aspects of private law are dealt with in jurisdictions beyond England and Wales and a capacity to reflect on the differences and similarities between practices in those jurisdictions and those of English common law.

 

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe

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Comparative Public Law

Judicial protection against unlawful (and sometimes lawful) legislative and administrative acts or rules is of concern to individuals and companies in a variety of contexts. This course covers the central aspects of procedural and substantive judicial review under the public law of England, France and the European Union. The course will consider these issues against the constitutional framework which exists in the three systems. Throughout the course the emphasis will be on making comparisons between the different systems. To facilitate this each of the topics studied will be analysed within the same week's work.

The principal course objective is to enable students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the law in this area, and to be able to discuss at an advanced level elements of public law as they are evolving in England, France, and in the EU.

It is possible to undertake the course exclusively on the basis of English language materials, but the ability to read French is an advantage, since some of the secondary sources on French law are only available in the French language. There are, however, translations of the French case law used in the course.

Advice on this and other aspects of the course is available from the course convenor, Professor P Craig (St. Johns College). The course is taught by Professor P Craig, Professor A Young and Ms S Boyron.

Teaching is primarily through lectures and seminars. Tutorials will be available in Trinity term. The structure of the course is as follows. In Michaelmas term there will be lectures which deal with the central aspects of procedural and substantive review in UK and EU Administrative law, followed in the first half of HT by lectures dealing with analogous issues in French Administrative Law. The lectures are designed to lay the foundations for seminar discussion that will take place in the second half of Hilary term, and the first half of Trinity term. The lectures and seminars will cover the following topics: the constitutional foundations of the three systems; procedural review; review for jurisdictional error; improper purposes; irrationality; proportionality; legitimate expectations; equality; and fundamental rights; damages actions, including damages for losses caused by lawful governmental action; standing and remedies.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of public law of England, France, and the EU within the context of their respective constitutions and a capacity to make comparisons between aspects of/developments in the law within each of these entities.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Comparative Tax Systems

Elective


The Comparative Tax Systems course provides students with a comparative overview of the tax systems of various countries, with a view to developing a conceptual and practical understanding of the reasons why tax systems differ (and why they are sometimes so similar).  The objectives of the course are to help students understand the characteristics that tax systems have in common, the areas in which tax systems differ, and the factors (legal, institutional, political, economic, social and cultural) that cause the similarities and differences.

The course covers areas such as:

  • Tax structures
  • Tax at different government levels
  • Different types of tax (including income taxes, consumption taxes, capital and wealth taxes, environmental taxes)
  • Tax operating costs
  • Tax administration
  • Tax policy making and reform. 

The course seeks to answer a series of key questions such as: why is income tax the dominant tax in so many developed countries whereas developing countries rely so heavily on indirect taxes; why do some countries have more tax expenditures than others; why have value added taxes, or derivatives of such taxes, become the dominant consumption taxes worldwide; why are there so many differences in the way countries tax corporate income and capital gains tax; why do so few countries have wealth taxes; what are the best types of tax for different levels of government; how do tax systems and revenue authorities best manage issues of complexity;  what is the role of environmental taxes in modern tax systems; how are tax systems likely to develop in the future; and what are the keys to success in tax reform?

The course is taught by Professor Chris Evans, University of New South Wales and Professor Judith Freedman

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Competition Law

The objective of the course is to provide students with an understanding of this area of law, together with the ability to subject it to critical legal and economic analysis. The course aims to cover the main substantive laws relating to competition within the EC, including the control of monopoly and oligopoly; merger control; anti-competitive agreements; and other anti-competitive practices.

The emphasis is placed predominantly on EU competition law to reflect the importance it assumes in practice. UK competition law is also taught, both because of its value in providing a comparative study of two systems of competition law and because of its importance to the UK practitioner. The antitrust laws of the USA and competition laws of other jurisdictions are also referred to by way of comparison.

Lectures and Seminars: Competition law is normally taught in lectures seminars by Dr Ariel Ezrachi, Slaughter and May Professor of Competition Law, and Mr Aidan Robertson, QC, visiting Professor and barrister, Brick Court Chambers.

Tutorials: In addition to the lectures and seminars, a course of four tutorials will be given in the Hilary and Trinity terms. Tutorial arrangements will be made in due course. All students taking tutorials will be asked to submit written work before they attend tutorials.

Learning outcomes: a comprehensive understanding of the core principles of Competition Law and its application in the EU, UK and elsewhere. At the end of the course, students should be able to critically reflect upon the law, economic and legal principles underpinning competition law enforcement.

Visiting speakers:  For 2015-16, there is a programme of visiting speakers details of which are found on the CCLP website.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Competition Law and Policy

The aim of the course is to enable students to critically reflect upon the core principles and policies at the heart of competition law. In particular, to understand how the law governs business practices that may restrict competition in economic markets through private and public enforcement and to analyse how competition law can curb anticompetitive activities and facilitate free competition.

Learning outcomes: at the end of the course, students should be able to: (i) understand how the law controls: a. cartel agreements and concerted practices b. the abuse of monopoly power c. mergers and acquisitions d. enforcement of competition law through private enforcement and via the investigations of the Commission (ii) critically reflect upon the economic principles underpinning the definition and control of anti-competitive practices (iii) apply the law to solve practical problems concerning the control of anti-competitive practices (iv) critically analyse how far the law facilities the promotion of free competition. (v) develop their own critical perspective concerning how law should and could control anti-competitive practices and the role of the European Community in developing this law.

The teaching in this course is done by way of lectures, seminars and tutorial sessions. The lecture series is devoted to examination of the relevant statutory and case law framework and to the discussion of basic economic concepts (no prior knowledge of economics is required). Lectures are normally held on weeks 1-8 in MT. Each lecture lasts two hours. Two seminar sessions, each lasting two hours, will also be held in MT.

The tutorial series provides practical experience in the application of competition law through problem solving. Tutorials will be arranged centrally by the competition law group. There will be two tutorials in MT and two in HT.

For more information on the course see the Centre for Competition Law and Policy website at: www.competition-law.ox.ac.uk

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Diploma in Legal Studies

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Conflict of Laws

The Conflict of Laws, or Private International Law, is concerned with private (mainly commercial) law cases, where the facts which give rise to litigation contain one or more foreign elements. A court may be asked to give relief for breach of a commercial contract made abroad, or to be performed abroad, or to which one or both of the parties is not English. It may be asked to grant relief in respect of an alleged tort occurring abroad, or allow a claimant to trace and recover funds which were fraudulently removed, and so on. In each case, the court must decide whether to apply laws of English or foreign origin to determine the matters in dispute. This exercise in identifying the law applicable is the second of three areas around which this course in the Conflict of Laws is centred. Prior to this comes the issue of jurisdiction; that is, when an English court will find that it has, and will exercise, jurisdiction over a defendant who is not English, or over a dispute which may have little to do with England or with English law. Closely allied to this is the question of what, if anything, may be done to impede proceedings which are underway in a foreign court but which (in the view of one of the parties) really should not be there at all. The remaining third of the course is concerned with the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, to determine what effect, if any, these have in the English legal order.


In England the subject has had an increasingly European dimension, not only in relation to the jurisdiction of courts and the recognition and enforcement of judgements but also for choice of law as it applies to contractual and non-contractual obligations. The purpose of the course is to examine the areas studied by reference to case law and statute, and to aim at acquiring an understanding of the rules, their operation and inter-relationship, as would be necessary to deal with problems arising in practice in international commercial litigation.


The teaching is principally in the hands of Adrian Briggs, Edwin Peel and Andrew Dickinson. The course is introduced by a set of lectures, covered by a set of seminars which take the form of problem classes; and supplemented by a diet of tutorials.
Learning outcomes: an understanding of the concepts and practical applications of Private International Law.

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Constitutional Law (Mods)

This course covers the law of the constitution, including the structure and basic principles of the British constitution, and the impact of European Union law on the constitution. It also provides an introduction to the protection of human rights in English law.

It covers the following topics:

Structure: separation of powers, the role of the courts, the powers of the executive (including prerogative powers), devolution (to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the supremacy of European Community Law as it relates to national law, and the European principle of state liability. Questions will not be set on the detail of the legal effect of directives or on the detail of European Institutions. General principles: constitutional conventions (including ministerial accountability), parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law. Human rights: the structure and effect of the Human Rights Act 1998 (focusing in particular on its impact on parliamentary sovereignty and the judicial role); the application of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Coverage

Whilst all topics are examinable, not all of the topics in the syllabus are required to be covered in tutorials.  Tutors may focus on some parts of the course at the expense of other areas, and may include additional materials on their reading list that are not included on the core list. 

Learning outcomes

Familiarity with the structures and underlying principles of the British constitution, and the impact of EU Law on the constitution.

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe

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Constitutional Law (Senior Status)

This course covers the law of the constitution, including the structure and basic principles of the British constitution, and the impact of European Union law on the constitution. It also provides an introduction to the protection of human rights in English law.

Constitutional Law covers material in the “foundations of legal knowledge” and so must be taken by those seeking a profession qualification in England and Wales.

Students taking the BA in Jurisprudence (Course 1 and Course 2) take Constitutional Law as one of the three papers for Law Moderations and will in general cover eight topics in tutorials. Students taking the BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status may choose to take Constitutional Law as an option in the Final Honour School and these students will in general cover seven topics in tutorials.

The precise pattern of tutorial teaching varies from college to college. Lectures are given in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms on most aspects of the course.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

Senior status only.

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Constitutional Principles of the EU

Constitutional Principles of the EU

The purpose of this course is to provide an advanced understanding of the constitutional questions of the EU. We pose the general question whether the law of the European Union can make sense as a coherent order of principles. The subject matter is EU Law as it stands today, in light of the case law of the European Court of Justice and general principles at can be borrowed form domestic constitutional theory or public international law. The readings will constitute mostly of cases of the ECJ and opinions of the Advocate General, combined with some cases from the United Kingdom and suitable readings in law and jurisprudence. Topics will include the nature of the EU as a constitutional state in the making or a sui generis international organisation; the ECJ doctrine of the ‘autonomy’ of EU law; the principle of direct effect; the principle of supremacy; non-discrimination; citizenship; human rights; remedies and procedural autonomy. We shall discuss the diverse approaches in the works of scholars such as Lenaerts, Von Bogdandy, Kumm, Habermas, Weiler, MacCormick, Wyatt, Weatherill, Craig, Hartley, Kirchoff and others. We shall also examine the constitutional implications of the Eurozone crisis and its aftermath.

Compulsory for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL)

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Constitutional Theory

The course is concerned with the theory of the nature, authority and legitimacy of constitutions. Topics include the historical origins and development of constitutional concepts; methods of separating the powers of governmental agencies; the ideal of the rule of law; institutional consequences of theories of democracy; the structure and function of legislatures and techniques for limiting their powers; the role of courts in review of legislation and executive action; the structure and operation of executive agencies; the framing and interpretation of written constitutions; the role of citizens and institutions in times of constitutional emergency; the nature and appropriate constitutional protection of basic rights; federalism and the constitutional implications of multiculturalism.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Contract

The syllabus comprises the general principles of the law governing enforceable agreements. It is not concerned with special rules governing specific types of contracts, such as sale, carriage or employment, except where these are significant for the general principles. The principal topics normally discussed are: (a) the rules relating to the formation of agreements and to certain further requirements which must be satisfied to make agreements legally enforceable; (b) the contents of a contract and the rules governing the validity of terms which exclude or restrict liability and unfair terms in consumer contracts; (c) the nature and effects in a contractual context of mistake, misrepresentation, duress and undue influence; (d) the general principle that right and duties arising under a contract can only be enforced by and against the parties to it and its main exceptions; (e) performance and breach, including the right to terminate for failure in performance and the effects of wrongful repudiation; (f) supervening events as a ground of discharge under the doctrine of frustration; (g) remedies for breach of contract by way of damages, action for the agreed sum, specific performance and injunction. (h) the basis of contractual liability.

Contract is one of the compulsory standard subjects within the Final Honour School syllabus. It also covers material in the “foundations of legal knowledge” and so must be taken by those seeking a professional qualification in England and Wales.

The subject is taught in tutorials arranged by your college tutor. Particular areas are also explored in lectures.

Syllabus:

Candidates will be required to show a knowledge of such parts of the law of restitution as are directly relevant to the law of contract. Questions may be set in this paper requiring knowledge of the law of tort.

Teaching Conventions:

The teaching is based on the assumption that questions will not be asked on contracts that are illegal or contrary to public policy or on gaming and wagering contracts; and that detailed knowledge will not be expected of formal requirements, agency, assignment or contractual capacity.

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

Optional for these programmes: Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Copyright, Patents and Allied Rights

It is commonplace to say that we live in an age in which expressive, informational and technological subject matter are becoming increasingly important. Intellectual property is the primary means by which the law seeks to regulate such subject matter. It aims to promote innovation and creativity, and in doing so to support solutions to global environmental and health problems, as well as freedom of expression and democracy. It also seeks to stimulate economic growth and competition, accounting for its centrality to EU Internal Market and international trade and development policies. And it is of enormous and increasing importance to business. According to the Hargreaves Report of 2011, for example, “[e]very year in the last decade, investment by UK business in intangible assets has outstripped investment in tangible assets: by £137 billion to £104 billion in 2008. Global trade in IP licences alone is worth more than £600 billion a year: five per cent of world trade and rising.”

In Copyright, Patents and Allied Rights we introduce two of the central intellectual property regimes. Copyright protects authorial works and recordings/transmissions of them (such as music and films), and patents protect inventions of industrial and commercial value (such as biotech, medical and computer products and processes). We ask why we have these regimes and how they operate at a national and European level. The course should have broad appeal, including for those interested in the arts and entertainment industries, technology, research and development, unfair competition, medical law and ethics, European harmonisation, and science and technology. It will be taught in 8 seminars and 6 tutorials spread over Michaelmas and Hilary Terms by Lord L Hoffmann ,Dr D Gangjee and and Mr Luis Porangaba. 

NOTE: MJur and DLS students are welcome to take this course. The course may not be taken in conjunction with Copyright, Trade Marks and Allied Rights.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of intellectual property law with specific reference to copyright and patents, and of various applications of this area of law.

 

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Copyright, Trade Marks and Allied Rights

It is commonplace to say that we live in an age in which expressive, informational and technological subject matter are becoming increasingly important. Intellectual property is the primary means by which the law seeks to regulate such subject matter. It aims to promote innovation and creativity, and in doing so to support solutions to global environmental and health problems, as well as freedom of expression and democracy. It also seeks to stimulate economic growth and competition, accounting for its centrality to EU Internal Market and international trade and development policies. And it is of enormous and increasing importance to business. According to the Hargreaves Report of 2011, for example, “[e]very year in the last decade, investment by UK business in intangible assets has outstripped investment in tangible assets: by £137 billion to £104 billion in 2008. Global trade in IP licences alone is worth more than £600 billion a year: five per cent of world trade and rising.”

In Copyright, Trade Marks and Allied Rights we introduce two of the central intellectual property regimes. Copyright protects authorial works and recordings/transmissions of them (such as music and films), and trade marks protect signs that indicate the commercial origin of goods and services (such as the Nike name and swoosh logo). We ask whey we have these regimes and how they operate at a national and European level. The course should have broad appeal, including for those interested in the arts and entertainment industries, brand management, the consumer society, unfair competition, and European harmonisation. It will be taught in 8 seminars and 6 tutorials spread over Michaelmas and Hilary Terms by Professor G Dinwoodie and Dr D Gangjee. 

NOTE: MJur and DLS students are welcome to take this course. The course may not be taken in conjunction with Copyright, Patents and Allied Rights.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of intellectual property law with specific reference to copyright and trade marks, and of various applications of this area of law.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Core Course II - Understanding Criminal Justice

Professor Julian Roberts

This course provides an exploration of the criminal justice process in England and Wales. The seminar will examine a series of important issues in the criminal justice system and in so doing will encourage students to think critically about the institutions of criminal justice and the State response to offending. This weekly ninety-minute seminar is compulsory for all students. The discussions taking place in class will be invaluable in assisting students with the final examination of the Core course. Students are expected to come prepared to contribute for each seminar and this requires reading the materials in advance.

Compulsory for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Corporate Finance Law

The limited company is a hugely popular business vehicle, and the primary reason for this is its ability to act as a successful vehicle for raising business finance and diversifying financial risk. All companies need to raise money in order to function successfully. It is these "money matters" which are at the heart of corporate law, and an understanding of the ways in which companies can raise money, and the manner in which their money-raising activities are regulated, is central to an understanding of how companies function. The aims of the course are (a) to explain the complex statutory provisions governing the issue and marketing of corporate securities, against the background of business transactions; (b) to explore the fundamental legal propositions around which corporate finance transactions are usually organised and (c) to examine the means by which money is raised by borrowing and quasi-debt and different methods of securing debt obligations. Technical issues will therefore be placed in their economic and business context. There is a strong emphasis on the policy issues underlying the legal rules. The course focuses on the forms of corporate finance and on the structure and regulation of capital markets. The course also examines the attributes of the main types of securities issued by companies and the legal doctrines which are designed to resolve the conflicts of interests between shareholders and creditors. Consideration is given to the EU directives affecting the financial markets, especially the manner in which they have been implemented into English law. Many of the issues arising are of international importance and the course examines the harmonisation of these matters within the EU.

This course will be of interest to any student wishing to develop a knowledge of corporate law, as well as to those who are corporate finance specialists. No prior knowledge of the subject is required, nor is it necessary to have studied company law, though this will be of significant advantage. Those with no knowledge of company law will need to do some additional background reading prior to the start of seminars, and advice can be given on this issue. MJur students are welcome, especially if they have prior knowledge of corporate finance in their own jurisdictions, but they must be prepared to engage with the case law and with UK statutes where appropriate.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Corporate Insolvency Law

The insolvency of a company gives rise to a number of fascinating questions.  Why are formal (state-supplied) procedures needed for the treatment of distressed companies?  When should such procedures be triggered, and for whose benefit should they be conducted?  To what extent should they be geared towards the rescue of the company or its business?  What rights should those to whom the company is indebted - its creditors - have over the conduct of the proceedings?  In what order of priority should their claims be paid? How should the managers of the distressed company be dealt with, in and outside of formal insolvency proceedings? 

 

In this course, students explore these questions in three ways: first, by reading and evaluating theoretical and empirical literature on the purpose and design of corporate insolvency laws in general; second, by a close study of the formal insolvency and restructuring procedures available under English law, considering their operation in both purely domestic cases and in those with one or more cross-border elements; third, by exploring some of the core features of the insolvency laws of other jurisdictions, with a view to evaluating the procedures available under English law from a comparative and functional perspective.

 

Students taking the course can thus expect to acquire:

  • an advanced understanding of English corporate insolvency law;

  • knowledge of some of the core features of the corporate insolvency laws of other jurisdictions, including US, German and French law;

  • knowledge of the core features of European corporate cross-border insolvency law (particularly the European Insolvency Regulation), as well as of other legal rules that influence the treatment of cross-border insolvencies;

  • advanced understanding of seminal literature on the purpose and design of corporate insolvency laws, and the ability to draw on this literature to critique the laws (particularly English laws) studied in the course.

 

Many students taking the course intend to embark upon or continue a career in corporate or commercial law, where an advanced understanding of English corporate insolvency law (on which the insolvency laws of many other jurisdictions are modeled) is particularly valuable.  However the course has also proven to be of interest to students who are interested more generally in understanding the purposes of mandatory corporate law rules, and their impact on the cost and availability of finance.  No prior knowledge of corporate insolvency law is required, nor is it necessary to have studied company law, though this is of some advantage.

The course was historically known for its rather large reading list, but this list has been progressively reduced in recent years, and this trend will continue in advance of the commencement of the 2015-2016 course.  100% of respondents to a survey of the 2014-2015 course indicated that the course workload was ‘about right’.

The teaching group comprises Professor H Eidenmuller, Professor J Payne, Professor G Moss QC, and Dr K van Zwieten. Teaching is delivered through lectures, seminars and tutorials. Lectures and seminars are paired, with lectures providing an introduction to each seminar topic. Students read for seminars in advance, and discussion is structured around a list of seminar questions. 4-5 tutorials are offered.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Corporate Tax Law and Policy

Are multi-national companies escaping taxation by tax planning and shifting profits? Where should they be paying tax and on what basis? Should we abolish corporation tax altogether and find some other way to tax business? Recent discussions in the G20 and at the OECD, prompted by debates  the media and by politicians and pressure groups have underlined that this is not just a technical area. It raises ethical, political, constitutional and economic questions at both the national and international level. Major actions are underway from the OECD and G20 as well as the EU and individual countries.

This course is unusual in the extent to which it integrates a  a rigorous examination of the legal issues with the economic and other questions arising,, making it suitable both for thosewith a wide interest in the area as well as those wishing to specialise in and become practitioners of taxation and/or corporate and business law.

Tax law is central to all businesses and of significance to many business transactions. It helps to shape business law and many commercial decisions. The Corporate Tax Law and Policy course is designed both for  tax specialists and for all students interested in business and commercial law at a practical or theoretical level. The course aims to introduce students to the issues surrounding taxation of domestic and multi-national corporations as well as that of unincorporated businesses. It uses a detailed examination of  UK tax law, requiring study of case law and statute , as a starting point for a broader study of tax principles, concepts and policy issues relevant to all tax systems at a national level. Using the same starting point, the course also examines some of the problems surrounding cross-border taxation (‘international taxation’). EU law on business taxation has influenced UK tax law significantly to date and will be examined in relation to that, and more generally. Detailed legal issues are studied in depth, always placed in their theoretical, economic and business context. Critical analysis of the policy underlying the law and the way it is implemented is encouraged, as is the introduction of comparative material from other jurisdictions. The course is therefore appropriate for students from a variety of backgrounds, whether or not they have studied tax before. It is regularly taken successfully by BCL and MJur students and MLFs also find that the course fits well with their other studies.

The course is taught by Judith Freedman, Pinsent Masons Professor of Taxation Law, and Dr Glen Loutzenhiser, Associate Professor in Tax Law, with lectures from leading researchers at the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, and from other distinguished tax practitioners (including QCs and partners at leading law and accounting firms) and visiting academics. Dr Loutzenhiser is the author of the leading textbook used for the course. For further information please contact Professor Freedman at judith.freedman@law.ox.ac.uk For information about the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation please see http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/faculty-research/tax The Centre holds many seminars and events to which students on this course are welcome.

No prior study of tax law, company law or economics is required to study this course, although those with no knowledge of company law may need to do a small amount of background reading, on which advice will be given. Students who have studied tax as undergraduates in Oxford or elsewhere will usually find the course builds on their previous studies well. There will be NO CALCULATIONS. Students must be prepared to read many types of material and consider how policy issues and technical law interact. UK tax law, which forms a key component of the course, is statute based, so legislation must be studied, but case law is also important. Readings from public finance and accounting literature will be recommended on some topics: these will be accessible without specialist knowledge. Many of the readings will be available electronically and detailed reading lists, materials and guidance are posted on Weblearn. The syllabus is wide and the subject fast moving, so that the precise focus may vary from year to year.

Central themes are

·         The tax base- i.e. what should be taxed and when? If we are to tax profit, how should this be defined? What are the alternative bases for taxation?

·         The unit of taxation i.e. who should be taxed? The individual? The single company? The corporate group as a whole? A multi-national group as a whole? The ultimate shareholders? Consumers?

·         How are taxes at each level integrated with each other?

·         What are the special problems of small business taxation?

·         What distortions and problems are encountered in corporation tax, especially corporate financing, and how are these used in tax planning - e.g. the debt/equity differential; use of tax incentives; corporate residence; transfer pricing in multinational groups?

·         Who should do the taxing and set the rules? How should taxation be allocated between jurisdictions in the light of increasing mobility of capital and technological developments? What is the role of national governments, international bodies such as the European Union, the EU Court of Justice and the OECD? What is the role of double taxation treaties? What is tax avoidance in a business context and how, and to what extent, should it be restricted? To what extent and how can this be done by national tax authorities and what forms of international co-operation are possible for controlling transfer pricing, the use of low tax areas and similar activities? How will the OECD’s Action plan for Base Erosion and Profit Shifting change the operation of international taxation and is more reform needed?

The examination format allows students to focus on areas and approaches that interest them, although the entire course must be studied to gain a complete overview and understanding. The teaching consists of lectures and seminars spread over Michaelmas and Hilary terms with two or three lectures in Trinity Term. Some of the lectures provide background structure for the seminars and some are given by very distinguished guest lecturers drawn from practice and academia. There are four tutorials given by the course lecturers - one in MT and three later in the year. Written work is set and marked for each tutorial.

For an excellent book on the need for radical reform of tax law, see the Mirrlees Review

For full reading guides see Weblearn resources. Full reading guides are provided for each topic.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of the issues surrounding taxation of domestic and multi-national corporations as well as that of unincorporated businesses.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Corporate Valuation

Managers of firms have many responsibilities. A critical one is to ensure that the firm makes appropriate investment and financial decisions. This course focuses on how to make good decisions. While this course will focus to some extent on the mechanics of corporate valuation, the main area of focus is how to create (and destroy) corporate value. One of the core objectives of this elective is to demonstrate that valuation is not a precise science, and that the strategic fit and successful integration of projects is as important as the calculation and analysis of a number of variables. Corporate valuation incorporates several guest lectures from practitioners and hosts guest speakers from consulting firms, commercial banks, investment banks and funds.

This is a mandatory course for MLF students taking the finance stream.

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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Criminal Justice, Migration and Citizenship

Prof Mary Bosworth and Prof Lucia Zedner

Immigration and its control are highly charged topics in contemporary policy and politics. Over the past two decades they have become subjects of extensive scholarly analysis, primarily in fields such as anthropology, sociology, human geography, refugee studies, and human rights law. It is all the more surprising then, that, with some notable exceptions, criminologists have been relatively slow to pay them much attention.

All states have criminalized at least some aspects of immigration, establishing networks of immigration detention centres and extending their powers to deport. Under these conditions, as those within the burgeoning field of border criminology observe, traditional distinctions between criminal law and immigration law are eroding. Students who take this course will gain an understanding of the shifting nature of criminal justice under conditions of mass mobility. They will also piece together the connections between migration control, race and gender, and will explore the methodological implications and challenges of this emerging field of research.

Schedule of seminars

1: Mass mobility in an era of globalization

2. Citizenship, Migration and Criminology

3: Citizenship, Migration and Criminal Law

4: Citizenship, Migration and Policing

5: Citizenship, Migration and Punishment

6: Immigration Detention

7: Deportation

8: Immigration status is irrelevant to the criminal justice system and should not concern criminologists: A Debate

 

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Criminal Justice, Security and Human Rights

This course adopts a comparative and jurisprudential approach to human rights, criminal justice and security. It covers the development of human rights principles in relation to the criminal justice system and security more broadly (with a particular reference to counter-terrorism), in a range of relevant jurisdictions (UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Union and Israel). After beginning with a general look at the themes of national security, rights balancing and exceptionalism theory, the course examines a number of discrete topics in terms of the theoretical underpinnings of the particular right, the reasoning adopted by the courts, and the implications for criminal justice and security policy.
Among topics examined are: the principles of proportionality and legality; the effect of positive obligations on security and criminal justice; the relationship between policing and the right to life; targeted killing in the context of counter-terrorism; the right to privacy in relation to mass surveillance; the prohibition on torture, inhuman and degrading treatment in the context of policing, counter-terrorism, criminal trials, and the principle of non-refoulement; the protection of personal liberty with respect to counter-terrorism and imprisonment; the relationship between fair trial procedures, intelligence gathering and secrecy; and prisoners’ rights.
In 2015-16, the course is co-ordinated by Liora Lazarus who teaches alongside Eirik Bjorge and Natasha Simonsen.  Guest teachers on the course in 2015-16 include Ben Emmerson QC (UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights); Edward Craven (Matrix Chambers), and Rajendra Desai (Matrix Chambers).  
Teaching in 2015-16 will be delivered in the form of weekly seminars, held for eight weeks in Michaelmas Term, and four weeks in Hilary Term. Tutorials in this subject will be available in the second four weeks of Hilary term, and in Trinity Term.
 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Criminal Law (Mods)

The course deals with the following: (i) General principles of criminal liability: actus reus and mens rea, omissions, causation, negligence, strict liability, complicity and inchoate offences. (ii) General defences. (iii) The law relating to offences against the person (including sexual offences) and offences against property and other economic interests.

The subject requires attention to cases and statutes, and is an important bridge to subjects studied for the Final Honour School, in particular the opportunity it provides to study problem questions. It is hoped that students will find it interesting for its intellectual challenge, as well as for the colourful material.

The subject comprises the following topics:

1. General principles of criminal liability: actus reus (including liability for omissions); mens rea (including different kinds of fault, such as intention, negligence, strict liability); causation.

2. General defences to criminal liability.

3. Liability as a party to a crime, including participation as a principal and secondary participation (including ‘joint enterprise’). Questions will not be set on sections 4 or 5 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 (assisting offenders after the fact and compounding offences).

4. Liability for the inchoate offences of statutory conspiracy, attempt and the offences created by sections 44, 45 and 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.

5. Liability for the following kinds of homicide: murder; manslaughter (excluding corporate manslaughter). No question will be set requiring knowledge of infanticide or of encouraging or assisting suicide.

6. Liability for the offences created by sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Candidates will be expected to know of the existence of the other offences created by that Act.

7. Liability for the following offences: common assault and common battery; the offences created by the following sections of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861: 16, 18, 20, 23, 24, 47.

8. Liability for the following offences: the offences created by the Criminal Damage Act 1971 sections 1-3; the offences created by the Theft Act 1968, sections 1, 8 and 9; and the offences created by the Fraud Act 2006, sections 1-4. Candidates will be expected to know of the existence of the offences created by sections 12, 21, 22 and 25 of the Theft Act 1968 and section 3 of the Theft Act 1978.

NB Second BA students taking Criminal law study a slightly different syllabus and should refer to the FHS Handbook for details of what that syllabus covers.

Coverage

Examiners may set questions on all the topics listed above. In every case, candidates are expected to have knowledge of the statutory provisions and case law relevant to the interpretation of the examinable offences

Learning outcomes

A general understanding of the principles and theory of criminal law and a specific knowledge of criminal liability for the offences listed above. An ability to demonstrate this knowledge in both essays and problem questions.

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

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Criminal Law (Senior Status)

The course is not available for those who have taken the subject in Law Moderations and is intended for those who have transferred to Law after Mods, and for senior status students. The syllabus is the same as for the Law Moderations course, but only covers topics 1 - 7 (it does not include topic 8). The paper in the Final Honour School is examined separately, and is intended to be more challenging.

Criminal Law covers material in the “foundations of legal knowledge” and so must be taken (if not taken in Law Moderations) by those seeking a professional qualification in England and Wales. The subject is taught in tutorials arranged by your college tutor.

Teaching Conventions:

The following matters are examinable. In every case, candidates are expected to have knowledge of other statutory provisions which are relevant to the interpretation of examinable offences. 1. General principles of criminal liability: actus reus (including liability for omissions); mens rea (including different kinds of fault, such as intention, negligence, strict liability); causation. 2. General defences to criminal liability. 3. Liability as a party to a crime, including participation as a principal and secondary participation (including "joint enterprise"). Questions will not be set on sections 4 or 5 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 (assisting offenders after the fact and compounding offences). 4. Liability for the inchoate offences of statutory conspiracy, attempt and the offences created by sections 44, 45 and 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. 5. Liability for the following kinds of homicide: murder; manslaughter (excluding corporate manslaughter); the offence created by the Suicide Act 1961, s.2(1). 6. Liability for the offences created by sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Candidates will be expected to know of the existence of the other offences created by that Act. 7. Liability for the following offences: common assault and common battery; the offences created by the following sections of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861: 16, 18, 20, 23, 24, 47. 8. Liability for the following offences: the offences created by the Criminal Damage Act 1971 sections 1-3; the offences created by the Theft Act 1968, sections 1, 8 and 9; and the offences created by the Fraud Act 2006, sections 1-4. Candidates will be expected to know of the existence of the offences created by sections 12, 21, 22 and 25 of the Theft Act 1968 and section 3 of the Theft Act 1978.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of the criminal law of England and Wales including criminal liability, general defences, offences against property and economic interests.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

Senior status only.

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Criminology and Criminal Justice

Why are criminal laws made? Why are they broken? How do we, and how should we, react to the breaking of criminal laws? These three questions are the stuff of criminology. They also occupy a central and controversial place in public and political debates about the condition and future of contemporary liberal democratic societies. This course provides students with the chance to study them in depth.
Criminology and Criminal Justice offers students an opportunity to study crime and the ways in which it is dealt with by the criminal justice and penal systems. It enables students to explore the nature of crime and its control by examining the issues at stake using the resources of legal, penal and social theory. It also offers students the chance to think about crime as a social phenomenon and to explore using criminological research and analysis how criminal justice and penal systems operate in practice.
The course is structured as follows: 18 lectures; four classes and four tutorials.
Reading lists and handouts are available via the link in the left menu bar or here.
Lectures, classes and tutorials are provided by several academics from the Law Faculty who are also members of the Centre for Criminology.
More information about the Centre for Criminology, including the All Souls Criminology Seminar Series, can be found on the Centre's website.
 

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Current Issues in Taxation

Elective


The Current Isssues in Taxation course will explore issues of topical importance in the field of taxation. The content will vary from year-to-year, and the course will be taught primarily by visiting lecturers, with contributions from Oxford-based academics.

In 2017-18, the topic will be ‘Tax Treaties in a post-BEPS world’. The focus of the course will be the current OECD work on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and the impact of that work on tax treaties and other aspects of the international tax regime. The course will consider issues at the cutting edge of modern treaty problems and students will analyse some of the most difficult problems in tax treaties.

In 2017-18 the course will be taught by Professor Richard Vann, University of Sydney and Dr Glen Loutzenhiser

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Death Penalty

Professor Carolyn Hoyle

This course aims to provide students with a good understanding of the scope and practice of capital punishment and the movement - backed by international organizations and human rights treaties - to abolish the death penalty worldwide. Students will learn about the extent to which defendants in capital cases are protected by due process and have access to qualified defence counsel, and where they lack protection from police abuse, unfair trials, and painful forms of execution. They will explore what happens when the due process safeguards fail and innocent people are convicted and sentenced to death. Further, they will consider whether capital punishment can ever be administered equitably, without discrimination on grounds of race, geography, gender or other non-legal variables. Throughout this course students will draw on recent and controversial cases and decisions, as well as the social scientific literature.

Schedule of Seminars

  1. Abolition and Retention: a brief tour of the world

  2. Capital punishment in law and practice

  3. Procedural Protections for the Accused

  4. Protecting Vulnerable Defendants

  5. Inequity and Arbitrariness in the Administration of Capital Punishment

  6. Convicting and Sentencing the Innocent

  7. Alternatives to death: is life imprisonment better than death row?

Guest Lecture, Carlton Gary: a case study of a wrongful conviction

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Dissertation

A BCL, MJur or MLF student can offer a dissertation, in lieu of one law option. The dissertation must be written in English. It must not exceed 12,500 words which includes notes, but which does not include tables of cases or other legal sources. The subject must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. The Committee will take account of the subject matter and the availability of appropriate supervision. Candidates must submit the proposed title and description of the dissertation in not more than 500 words, not later than Monday, Week Minus Two of Michaelmas Term  to the Academic Administrator (Paul Burns).

You should be aware that the demand for supervision for such dissertations may exceed the supply, especially from particular Faculty members, and where this is the case a potential supervisor may elect to supervise only those dissertations which he or she judges most promising. Although in principle the option of offering a dissertation is open to all BCL, MJur and MLF students, therefore, in practice it is possible that some students who wish to offer a dissertation will be unable to do so, as a suitable supervisor with spare capacity cannot be found.

The dissertation (two copies) must be delivered to the Clerk of the Examination Schools for the attention of the Chairman of the BCL and MJur Examiners, or the Chairman of the MLF Examiners, as appropriate. It must arrive not later than noon on the Friday of fifth week of the Trinity Full Term in which the examination is to be taken.

The topic of your dissertation may (and often will) be within the area of one or more of your taught courses, and/or in an area which you have studied previously. But any part of the dissertation which you have previously submitted or intend to submit in connection with any other degree must be excluded from consideration by the BCL, MJur and MLF Examiners.

Although BCL students cannot take the List III courses, they are allowed to offer a dissertation within these fields. BCL students may offer a dissertation which does not fall into the field of any BCL course, if a suitable supervisor within the Faculty can be found. Candidates for the MJur will not normally be given approval to do a dissertation on a subject which falls within List I (those subjects which entail an advanced knowledge of the common law).

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance, Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Dissertation

Where a student can show evidence that he or she is capable of a long dissertation of 12,000 words and wishes to submit such a long dissertation, this may replace two of the electives, subject to agreement on a topic by an MSc in Taxation programme director. A programme director must be satisfied that the dissertation topic is of sufficient scope and depth to be appropriate to replace two courses. The director shall make the decision in consultation with the other directors.

The long dissertation may cover material not covered expressly by any other course on the programme or may build on material covered in another course within the programme provided it has the necessary element of originality, analysis and independent research.  A teacher on the MSc in Taxation must have the suitable knowledge to supervise the dissertation before it can be accepted as an appropriate topic. The topic must, however, be sufficiently different from that chosen for the Tax Research Round Table extended essay to avoid overlap and unfair reduction of burden. It may not be a dissertation, or part of a dissertation, that has been or is being submitted for any other degree in Oxford or elsewhere.

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Entrepreneurial Finance

The Entrepreneurial Finance elective aims to help future executives, facing financing and investment decisions in a broad range of entrepreneurial environments, to make better decisions and achieve better outcomes. The course covers all stages of the financing process from initial financial planning to harvesting value.

 

While the course will inevitably involve looking at a number of technology driven businesses the emphasis is on gaining insights into the entrepreneurial financing process rather than looking at the financing of technology businesses per se.

 

Entrepreneurial environments considered will include not just young, growing, independent businesses but also those around the buy-outs and spin-outs of units from more established businesses as well as entrepreneurial joint ventures that are established with a view to their becoming independently viable entrepreneurial businesses in their own right. One of the eight sessions will also be devoted to looking at the venture capital industry with a view to providing candidates with a broad understanding of current developments in this area and the likely future impact on the range of financing options and alternatives available from these sources going forward.

 

The course is designed to focus on the numbers and analytic techniques for gaining insight, although continual attention will also be paid to the incentives facing each of the parties in the financing process. The course will be highly relevant for future executives who may be involved in an entrepreneurial venture at some point in their careers, whether in a turnaround, a management buy-out, a young company or a start-up. The course will also be highly applicable for future private equity and venture capital decision makers.

 

This is an elective course for MLF students taking the finance stream.

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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Environmental Law

This course is an introduction to the subject of environmental law and covers the main areas of substantive UK (with the focus on England) and – as far as applicable - EU environmental law. Environmental law is concerned with the law relating to the protection of the environment and includes areas such as planning law, pollution control law, nature conservation, environmental impact assessment as well as waste law which have been significantly shaped in the past also by EU law, such as the provisions on the free movement of goods. Environmental law therefore builds on the core subjects of Administrative Law and EU law. It also applies legal concepts from other areas such as criminal law and tort law.

The course will take into consideration the socio-political context in which environmental law operates and it will explore the innovative, complex and ever expanding case law and legislation on the subject.

A major theme of the course is an exploration of the type of challenges that environmental problems provide for law and legal reasoning. In the last decade environmental law has given rise to difficult legal questions including:

  • what should be the rights of citizens to legally challenge ‘public’ environmental decision-making?

  • what should be the limits of discretion placed on administrative decision-makers in their pursuit of environmental protection?

  • how should environmental protection be balanced with other social and economic goals?

  • what are the best means of achieving environmental protection?

Learning Outcomes: knowledge of the substantive  legal aspects of environmental law in the UK; understanding of the complexity of environmental problems and how that complexity affects the application of the law; knowledge of how environmental law relates to core legal areas, particularly administrative law and EU law where relevant.

In the light of Brexit the course will provide a really interesting opportunity to think about the direction that environmental law in the UK may and can take in the future. Will a distinct ‘UK approach’ towards environmental law (re-)emerge, despite the fact that environmental law in the UK in the past has been significantly shaped by both general and specific EU environmental and energy law?

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Ethical Issues in Tax Practice

Elective


The Ethical Issues in Tax Practice course focuses on some of the ethical issues that arise for those involved in the tax world, whether as tax advisors, in-house tax counsel, tax officials, or tax policy makers. The emphasis is on the classroom discussion of several scenarios that raise ethical issues.  Guests are invited to the class to speak on related issues, including corporate social responsibility, and on the limits of acceptable tax avoidance. It is an opportunity for tax professionals (or potential tax professionals) to work through and think through some of the potential ethical issues they will face (or may already have faced) in practice.

The course is taught by Dr Philip Baker, QC

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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EU Tax Law

Elective


The EU Tax Law course provides a comprehensive introduction to EU tax law. It covers the fundamentals of EU tax law, allowing students to acquire an in-depth understanding of legal constraints imposed by EU law on Member States’ tax systems.

The course includes the following topics:

  • Introduction to Taxation and the Internal Market
  • EU Competences, Institutions and Procedures in the Field of Taxation
  • EU Directives in the Field of Taxation
  • Coordination of Tax Policies within the EU
  • The Role of the Fundamental Freedoms
  • EU Law and Procedural Matters
  • Fiscal State Aid
  • Current Issues in EU Tax Law

The course is taught by Dr Anzhela Cédelle (née Yevgenyeva), OUCBT and Dr Adam Zalasiński, European Commission

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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European Business Regulation: the Law of the EU's Internal Market

This course examines the legal basis of the "level playing field" of the internal market of the European Union, covering the law of free movement across borders (goods, establishment and services), as well as competence to regulate the internal market, with special reference to the function of harmonisation of laws. Some or all of selected topics in public procurement, consumer law, company law, intellectual property, state aids and energy law will be addressed. The principal course objective is to enable students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the law in relation to the above subject matter, and to be able to discuss critically at an advanced level the legal and policy issues arising therefrom - including in particular the relationship between the judicial and the legislative contributions to the making of the EU's internal market.

The normal pattern of teaching involves seminars and lectures in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms, and tutorials in Trinity Term. The teaching group includes, but is not necessarily limited to, Professor S R Weatherill, Dr Angus Johnston , Dr Wolf-Georg Ringe, Professor D A Wyatt, Dr C Quigley, Professor S Enchelmaier, and Professor Katja Ziegler.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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European Private Law: Contract

This course explores the law of contract comparatively, using as its focus English contract law and the contract laws of national jurisdictions in continental Europe, set against the backdrop of the approximation of the national private laws of the European Union’s Member States and attempts over the last two decades to harmonise contract law in Europe. The course involves a deep comparative study of contract law, and is aimed equally at students with a common law or a civil law background, and indeed from any jurisdiction, within or outside Europe.

The modern ‘Europeanisation’ of private law has two dimensions. The first is extremely relevant to legal practice. It concerns the implications of existing legislation and case-law emanating from the organs of the EU for national private laws of Member States. Within the UK, the understanding of the implications of EU law for English private law has a particular contemporary significance in light of the decision in the 2016 referendum that the UK should leave the EU. Although the full repercussions of that referendum are yet to be worked out, the broader question of the impact of EU law on national private laws remains. The second dimension of ‘Europeanisation’ is of a more scholarly nature. It relates to a number of academic proposals for common European rules and principles in the area of private law (such as the so-called ‘Draft Common Frame of Reference’), based on thorough comparative research and drawing on the common European legal heritage. European Private Law therefore combines issues from at least three branches of legal scholarship, ie European Law, (national) Private Law and Comparative Law.

The course attempts to combine these disciplines by approaching particular problems from a European point of view as well as from the angle of various national private laws, thus necessarily adopting a comparative approach. The lecture series accompanying the course seeks to elucidate the different facets of European Private Law in a broader perspective by examining its historical foundations in the ius commune (‘the past’), the development of national private law systems and their interaction with today’s EU law (‘the present’) and the political and constitutional prospects for further harmonisation (‘the future’). The main part of the course consists in eight seminars devoted to a number of specific substantive issues taken from the law of contract, one of the core areas of private law in Europe and beyond. These are studied, as far as possible, with reference to primary materials, ie legislation and case law, and they are likely to include topics such as pre-contractual liability, formation of contract, third parties in contract, mistake, good faith, standard terms, supervening events, breach of contract and remedies. Examples from national legal systems will mainly be drawn from English, French and German law. If, however, another legal system offers an interesting and original solution, this will also be taken into account. All the required reading is in English.

This approach already indicates that the course does not aspire to cover the whole of contract law with all its, say, constitutional and procedural implications, in all European legal systems, but is necessarily of a more topical nature, with a focus on selected core jurisdictions. The search is for – common or diverging – solutions to legal problems arising in all legal systems (including EU law and various proposals for further harmonisation, and taking into account reforms within national systems, notably the reform of the German law of obligations in 2002 and the reform of the French law of contract in 2016). These are looked at both from a technical point of view and with respect to the underlying principles, so that a balance is struck between the discussion of ‘black letter’ law and general policy issues. Participants will thus be in a position to evaluate existing national laws, and European/EU contract law, the potential for further harmonisation and the methodological implications of such a process.

Learning outcomes: to enable students to acquire knowledge and understanding in the area of comparative contract law, in a European context, and to discuss and assess critically at an advanced level the legal and policy issues arising therefrom. Participants may expect to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of contract law, basic knowledge of the major European traditions in this area of the law, the ability to master a wide range of strongly heterogeneous sources, and an awareness of harmonisation projects at EU level.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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European Private Law: Tort

European Private Law: Tort is concerned with the comparative study of tort/delict within a European framework. The so-called Europeanisation of private law has two dimensions. One concerns the implications of existing legislation and case-law emanating from the organs of the EU for national private laws (eg product liability (Dir 85/374), environmental liability (Dir 2004/35), liability of the Member States and the non-contractual liability of the European Union). The other is of a scholarly nature and relates to various academic proposals for common European rules and principles in the area of private law based on comparative research: the European Group on Tort Law and the Study Group on a European Civil Code have both independently from another introduced proposals for restatements of European tort law.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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European Union Law

The law of the European Union is based largely on the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, and legislation made under the Treaties by the Council, the Parliament, and the Commission. The case law of the European Courts is of considerable importance and looms large in the study of EU law. EU law takes immediate effect in English Law, and is enforceable by English courts. EU law raises issues of intrinsic theoretical interest, and considerable practical importance. No linguistic expertise is necessary, since EU legislation and case law are published in all official EU languages, including English.

 The Oxford course deals with: (i) the institutions of the EU, including the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice and General Court; (ii) the essential features of the EU law, and its incorporation into national law; (iii) the principle of free movement of persons and services within the EU; and (iv) the rules governing the free movement of goods within the EU. Study of the institutions entails consideration of the majority voting rules used by the Council in making EU legislation, and examination of the roles of the Commission and European Parliament in decision-making. Emphasis is placed on the scope of the law-making competence of the institutions, in particular as regards the internal market, and on the principle of subsidiarity, which is intended to act as a brake on the exercise of such competence. Most of the course, however, is concerned with the nature and operation of rules of EU law rather than with institutional matters.

 The ‘general part’ of the course covers such matters as the aims and policies of the European Union, the sources and supremacy of EU law, its direct effect before national courts and its impact on domestic legal rules, procedures and remedies, including the principle of State Liability for breach of EU Law. The court of final recourse in matters of EU law is the Court of Justice of the European Union. It has jurisdiction, e.g., to give preliminary rulings on references from national courts (references are an increasingly common occurrence in the U.K.), and to review the legality of EU legislation. Such matters receive detailed treatment in the course.

 The free movement of persons aspect of the course presents a combination of social and commercial law. The rights of EU employed and self-employed persons to free movement and non-discrimination graphically illustrate the significance of the EU legal system for such persons, while at the same time being of considerable significance to commercial undertakings and their advisors. General principles applicable to mutual recognition of qualifications are covered, as are the Directives on establishment and service provision by lawyers. All nationals of Member States are also “EU Citizens” and this status is of increasing importance as regards rights of free movement, residence and equality. The syllabus also includes study of EU rules on the free movement of goods. These have been given wide-ranging effect by the European Court and have given rise to considerable litigation in English courts, which have made many references to the European Court.

 The subject is taught in tutorials arranged by your college tutor.

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

Optional for these programmes: Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Family Law

This course focuses on the legal regulation of individuals’ intimate personal and family lives. The fact that the definition of ‘family’ itself is both highly contested and much assumed offers some insight into the hotly contested nature of much of Family Law.

Studying Family Law often involves taking a legal concept or underpinning idea with which most have some familiarity from daily life, such as marriage, divorce, parenthood, or children’s rights, and then exploring exactly how the law regulates that subject and why. Key issues are examined within their historical, social, economic, and theoretical context. For example, what is the purpose of the consanguinity restrictions on marriage and should those have been extended to civil partnership? What does it mean to say a child is a rights-holder? If we cannot offer a coherent account, is there no such thing as ‘children’s rights’? Why do so many people believe the ‘common law marriage myth’? Should the courts and Parliament care that these people think that legal benefits and obligations exist when they do not? The syllabus lists the precise topics covered.

Our focus is on the substantive law, though an awareness of the family justice system in practice adds an important additional perspective to key debates. We currently examine through essay questions only so as to enable students the opportunity to devote sufficient attention to the interplay between law and the larger social and policy issues that are critical to an in-depth understanding of the Family Law field.

Family law is inter-disciplinary in terms of the range of materials students are expected to read and the nature of the arguments and debates with which students are expected to engage. This includes working with social science research, government publications, and non-government public and social policy materials. Family law involves an examination of statutory law, which is more extensive than in many other subjects.

Property law and trusts law are relevant to discussing the legal position of relationships outside of marriage and civil partnership. Students may find the background from having studied these as part of their core Land Law and Trusts courses useful, though the Family Law perspective is distinctive. Underlying conceptual ideas and a little substantive detail covered in Contract Law are also relevant to private ordering and adult intimate relationships more generally. Discussion of contentious issues in parenthood and disputes over who should raise and see children when interested adults do not live together (residence and contact disputes) includes children born as a result of fertility treatment, which is discussed from a different perspective as part of the Medical Law and Ethics course. The child’s capacity to make medical treatment decisions also features as part of both courses; in Family Law, it is one aspect of a larger discussion of children’s rights and children’s involvement in decision-making affecting them in a number of contexts. Examination of the legal approach to child protection includes limited discussion of public authority liability in negligence, as explored in Tort Law.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Finance

Students on the Finance course study the financing, valuation and governance of firms. This course is very similar to courses of the same name that are taught on the MBA, but tweaked slightly to ensure they are particularly relevant for MLF students.

This course will cover:
The valuation of a firm’s assets
The determinants of a firm’s structure
Capital Asset Pricing Model
Pricing of financial options
Investment and financing decisions
How financial markets operate
New issues of securities

Debt and dividend policy
Relevance of different financial institutions to the financing of firms
Takeover process
Corporate restructurings
Financial distress

Compulsory for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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First Principles of Financial Economics

This class builds the conceptual foundation required for the economic analysis of corporate financial policy, competitive asset markets and the regulation of both corporations and financial markets. The course's lectures will focus on: rationality, the Coase Theorem, property rights, competitive markets, the market for risk, market failures, asymmetries of information, and aggregation of information.

Compulsory for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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History of English Law

This option studies the history of the judicial system and sources of English law and of the principal features of the branches of law that are today known as tort, contract, land law, and trusts. The course is taught using a selection of primary sources (in translation where necessary) and of academic literature. The timespan covered varies with the particular topics, but is roughly between the thirteenth and the nineteenth century. This period, of course, contains a large number of separable issues, and the course is designed so that individuals can follow to some extent their own preferences, both amongst and within the major heads of study.

The examination paper contains an above average number of questions, (currently 12), which reflects this flexibility. The treatment of the subject is primarily legal, though the political, social and economic constituents in the story are referred to whenever this assists our perception of specifically legal ideas.

The teaching presumes a familiarity with the notions of property, tort and contract law and is virtually exclusively taught as a final year option. The legal history does not serve as an introduction to the modern law; if anything, the converse is the case. It is in this sense an advanced course; the feedback to the modern law is conceptual or theoretical, though a study of the history may occasionally illuminate a modern problem. There is, however, absolutely no need to have studied any other kind of English history, nor is familiarity with foreign languages necessary since the course is designed around translated materials.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of the origins of English law and the judicial system and a more specialised knowledge of developments in English law during the period between the thirteenth and nineteenth century, including an understanding of relevant social, political and economic contexts.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Diploma in Legal Studies

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Human Rights Law

The objective of the course is to provide a thorough grounding in the law of human rights which applies in the United Kingdom. The primary aim is to introduce students to the substance of these applicable rights and to their interpretation and enforcement. This will include an analysis of general principles as well as broad themes arising from the interpretation and limits of several specific rights (such as fair trial, protection of private life, and non-discrimination). The course will also follow developments in the reform of human rights law in the United Kingdom, and its content will reflect changes in a fast moving field of law.   The course will incorporate domestic UK law, as well as the relevant law of the European Convention on Human Rights and other international human rights norms which apply directly to UK human rights law.

Teaching will take place over Michaelmas and Hilary Terms, and will consist of a combination of lectures, seminars, classes and tutorials.

Learning outcomes: by the end of the course, students will: have a sound understanding of the significance of human rights and civil liberties, and their theoretical dimensions; be familiar with and able to apply the relevant provisions to practical problems concerning a range of the rights and liberties; have a knowledge and understanding of the human rights system as a whole; and have an understanding of the institutional procedural requirements for bringing human rights claims.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Intellectual Property Law

The course in Intellectual Property Law covers all the main forms of intellectual property (principally, copyright, trade mark and unfair competition, and patent). It explores the theoretical foundations of and justification for the different rights as well as their application in a number of settings. Intellectual property industries now make up a sizable proportion of the global economy. And the most contested issues in intellectual property law are closely connected to developments throughout the arts and technology, as well as to evolutions in marketing and popular culture. Thus the course will be of interest to students from a number of backgrounds and with a variety of interests. In the United Kingdom, intellectual property law is increasingly Europeanised, so we necessarily examine the European instruments and case law that shape UK law. And because the content of intellectual property law is increasingly framed by international obligations and evolves with some regard to developments in other countries, the course also has an international and comparative dimension. The course is suitable for students with or without undergraduate experience of IP law. It is taught by Professor Graeme Dinwoodie, Professor Ansgar Ohly, Dr Justine Pila and Dr Dev Gangjee  in a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials over Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity terms. Teaching is through sixteen seminars (with mini-lectures at the beginning of the seminars) and by the provision of six tutorials. Reading lists are posted using WebLearn. With prior permission, it may also be possible to accommodate a small number of auditors in the undergraduate Copyright, Trade Mark and Patents seminars of Prof. Dinwoodie, Dr Gangjee, and Lord Hoffmann; for permission please write to Prof. Dinwoodie. (MJur students may enrol in an undergraduate IP option provided they are not taking this MJur course in Intellectual Property Law.)  Note that this course has sometimes previously been called International IP Law, or European IP Law.

The course will be taught by Professor Dinwoodie, Professor Ohly, Dr Gangjee and Dr Pila in a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials held in Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity terms.

Learning outcomes: a knowledge of theoretical foundations of property law, including copyright, patent, trade mark, unfair competition and trade secrets; and an understanding of the practical applications of intellectual property rights in various contexts.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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International and European Employment Law

This course has the aim of providing a general understanding of international and European labour or employment law. For this purpose, the course compares and contrasts international and regional labour standards with those of the EU, particularly by examining the interaction between the international labour standards which have been developed and maintained by the International Labour Organisation and the Council of Europe, and those of the EU's laws and policies.

Recent decades have witnessed a series of transformations of the aims of the European Union. The founding assumption in the Treaty of Rome that economic integration would naturally bring about social development has been abandoned. The Treaty of Amsterdam included a proper legal basis for EU employment law and strengthened and expanded EU equality law. The Treaty of Lisbon elevated the status of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, with its extensive social and labour rights content. Yet, the social dimension of the EU remains contested, and arguably subordinated, to policies designed to maximize the competitiveness and flexibility of the European labour market, in particular in order to create employment under the European Employment Strategy. Meanwhile, significant evolutions have also occurred in the policies and strategies of the ILO itself; and all these evolutions now have to respond to a growing sense of economic and social crisis which is both European and global.

This course aims to develop a critical perspective whereby students can assess these developments against the background of international labour rights and labour standards, including those of the International Labour Organisation and the Council of Europe (both ECHR and European Social Charter and Revised European Social Charter). It will begin with an examination of the development of the roles of the ILO and the EU in employment law from a historical, theoretical and institutional perspective, and proceed to focus on particular rights and issues, most notably, the right to collective bargaining and action and strike; the regulation of non-standard work; civil liberties at work; the right to participate in enterprise governance; the right to job security and ‘fair and just working conditions’; and the right to equality in employment across various grounds, in particular sex, race, age, disability, sexual orientation and religion. These rights will be studied in depth to illustrate the complex interplay between the EU and international norms, and between various forms and sources of protection.

The course does not presuppose that students should have taken an undergraduate labour law or EU law course. The course will be taught in a varied format, including seven seminars in Michaelmas Term and seven in Hilary Term. The teaching is coordinated by Professor Alan Bogg, and the course will this year be taught by him with Professor Hugh Collins, Dr Cathryn Costello, Professor Anne Davies, Professor Mark Freedland, Professor Sandra Fredman and Dr Jeremias Prassl. Other academics may also contribute from time to time in areas of their particular expertise. There will be tutorials to back up the seminars, each student receiving to up to four tutorials from a wide menu. These tutorials are offered throughout the academic year, in order to give practice in writing essays in this subject.

Any students who would like to discuss this course further are encouraged to contact one of the members of the teaching group.

Learning outcomes: a knowledge of employment law as it has developed and is practised within the EU and internationally.

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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International Commercial Arbitration

In a world of increasing global trade and commerce arbitration has become the preferred mechanism for resolving transnational commercial disputes. As global transactions have expanded they also have become more complex. Scholars, arbitrators and courts around the globe have developed highly sophisticated solutions to respond to these challenges making international commercial arbitration one of the most fascinating developments in the law. The course will study international commercial arbitration within its international and national legal frameworks from the substantive and procedural law point of view.

Starting with the study of international instruments such as the New York Convention the course will then examine how different national legal systems have treated international commercial arbitration. The course aims to focus on a comparison of the approaches taken by US courts and the national courts of Europe. International commercial arbitration often exposes marked differences between the common and the civil law yet the body of law being created in common and civil law jurisdictions forms an arbitral ‘ius commune’ – a common body of a globally applicable international arbitration law. In order to explore the real or perceived advantages of international commercial arbitration over transnational litigation the course intends to examine the problems commonly associated with transnational litigation such as service of process, jurisdiction, lis pendens and recognition of judgments. Moreover, the course aspires to introduce the theoretical foundations of international commercial arbitration and discuss the repercussions international commercial arbitration may have for national legal orders. The course will cover every stage in an arbitral proceeding from the arbitration agreement, the arbitral proceeding to the arbitral award and its recognition and enforcement.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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International Criminal Law

This seminar aims to provide an in-depth understanding of international criminal law from theoretical, institutional and substantive perspectives. The theoretical dimension assesses both the legitimacy of the development of international criminal institutions as well as the principles that underpin the law. The institutional dimension examines the various mechanisms by which prosecutions for international crimes takes place. The focus in this part of the seminar will be on the jurisdiction of international courts, with special attention to ad hoc criminal tribunals, with respect to international crimes. Finally, the substantive perspective provides an in-depth exploration of the principles of international criminal law. In this context, we will examine the content and definition of international crimes, as well as the general principles of international criminal liability, including the defences that are available in international criminal law.and modes of liability. The seminar will examine the extensive case of the law of the ad hoc international criminal tribunals, and the emerging case law of the International Criminal Court.


The seminar will be divided into two parts. The first part will comprise lectures, with discussion, on the historical development of ICL and individual criminal liability, on the role of customary law and the principle of legality, on the core crimes (genocide , crimes against humanity, war crimes), as well as sexual violence, on modes of liability, and on the relationship between international humanitarian law and international criminal law. We shall try to integrate some case law even in the lecture part. The second part of the seminar will discuss the principal case law of international criminal courts.


Some students will be admitted to internships in the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals at The Hague.


Learning outcomes: a comprehensive understanding of the international criminal law from theoretical, institutional and substantive perspectives.

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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International Dispute Settlement

The course on International Dispute Settlement is concerned with the peaceful settlement of international disputes, including inter-State disputes, and disputes between States and individuals or corporations.

The first part of the course is dedicated to the study of a range of methods of and institutions concerned with dispute settlement such as arbitral tribunals, the International Court of Justice, and more specialised bodies such as the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, the World Trade Organisation, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and other institutions. The institutions selected for study vary from year to year.

The second part of the course provides an outline of the principles of procedural law that operate in international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice and international arbitral tribunals. This part of the course involves the study of issues such as jurisdiction and admissibility, the determination of law governing procedure and the law governing the merits of a case, remedies, and the recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitral awards.

Learning outcomes: a knowledge of the methods of and the institutions concerned with the settlement of international disputes, and the procedural laws which govern their activities.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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International Economic Law

This course introduces students to the main principles and institutions of international economic law. It focuses primarily on the institutions and substantive law of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In addition to introducing participants to the major legal disciplines under the GATT/WTO and the basic principles and cores concepts of the GATT/WTO (Base on in-depth study of the relevant GATT/WTO case law), the course considers the underlying philosophy of free trade and a number of the controversies concerning the future evolution of the WTO and its relationship to globalisation, regionalism, and the attempt by States to achieve other policy objectives (such as protection of the environment). No prior knowledge of international law or economics is necessary. Students without such knowledge will be directed to basic reading in these fields.

Lectures will be delivered in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms. Tutorials will be scheduled in due course. The examination is held at the same time as the other BCL/MJur examinations. Detailed reading lists are distributed at the start of the course.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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International Law and Armed Conflict

This course will examine the international law issues which arise in relation to armed conflicts. The course covers the law relating to whether States may use force, the law that applies during armed conflicts, as well as other legal problems that arise with regard to armed conflicts. One of the themes running through the course will be how international law regulates cross-border conflicts involving non-State actors. The course will be divided, broadly speaking, into two parts. Part one will consider the international legal issues relating to whether and when States are entitled to use armed force. In this part of the course, we will examine the content of the prohibition of the use of force contained in the UN Charter as well as the exceptions to that prohibition. In particular, we will examine the scope of self-defence in international law, (especially as it applies to attacks by non-State groups). Questions to be considered include the criteria for a lawful response in self-defence and the legality of anticipatory/preemptive self defence. This part of the course will also consider other possible exceptions to the prohibition of the use of force - such as the doctrine of humanitarian intervention or responsibility to protect. The last section of the first part of the course will examine the powers of the United Nations to authorize the use of force for peacekeeping and peace enforcement.

The second part of the course examines the law that applies during an armed conflict. We will address the distinction between the law applicable to international armed conflicts and that applicable to non-international armed conflicts. We also consider the extent to the which the so called “Global War on Terror: should be considered an armed conflict to which international humanitarian law applies. In this part, we will also gain an overview of the “Geneva law” relating to the humanitarian protection of victims of war and the “Hague law” relating to the means and methods of warfare. In particular, we will examine the distinction between combatants and non-combatants and the law that applies to the detention of lawful and unlawful combatants in time of armed conflict. We then turn to the law that applies to the conduct of hostilities, examining in particular the rules relating to targeting and weaponry. Finally, we consider the extent to which international human rights law applies in time of armed conflict.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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International Law of the Sea

The Law of the Sea course is concerned with public international law and not with commercial shipping law.

The course provides a comprehensive grounding in the subject, combining the study of maritime zones (such as the territorial sea, Exclusive Economic Zone, Continental Shelf and High Seas), with the study of the main bodies of law regulating users of the seas (such as navigation, fishing, pollution and military activities).

The teaching involves relating the problems of the law of the sea to underlying principles and policy factors and to other relevant areas of general international law, including sources, the law of treaties and principles of state responsibility.

The teaching consists of weekly classes in the Michaelmas and Hilary Terms, in some of which students will present short papers for discussion by the group as a whole.

Lectures/Seminars: each is one two-hour session.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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International Trade

This course takes as its subject matter a sale of goods by a seller in one country to a buyer in another, and examines the contractual relations between various parties that may be involved in the making and performance of such a sale. Accordingly, it is concerned first with the relations between buyer and seller, emphasising the special features of the sale which are due to its international character. Secondly, it is concerned with the carriage of goods from the seller to the buyer, once again emphasising the special rules which govern international carriage. So as to keep the course within reasonable bounds, it deals only with carriage by sea; it does not cover the special rules governing international carriage by air, road and rail. Thirdly, the course deals with an aspect of banking law. Payment in international sales is often made, not directly by buyer to seller, but through the mechanism of a banker’s commercial credit; the law relating to such credits forms the third part of the course.

Looked at from another angle, the course is concerned with the special problems that arise in overseas sales because the parties are often comparative strangers to one another, and because there is often a long interval of time between the despatch of goods and their receipt. During that time, the parties are exposed to certain financial and physical risks. The financial risk to which each party is exposed is that of the other’s insolvency: to protect himself against this risk the seller will want to be paid as early as possible while the buyer will want to pay as late as possible. One major topic for discussion is the way in which the law and commercial practice seek to reconcile these conflicting desires. So far as the physical risks are concerned, there is the possibility that the goods may be lost or damaged or delayed in transit. Sometimes that risk has to be borne by one of the parties to the contract of sale; sometimes it has to be borne (at least in part) by the carrier; and exactly how it is to be borne has obvious repercussions on the decisions to be made by each party with regard to insurance.

Although its name might suggest something different, the course is about a branch of English domestic law. Our concern is with the English rules governing international transactions (though these rules are often applied to contracts which have no physical connection with this country). It follows that the materials and methods of this course are almost entirely those of the traditional law course, i.e. that it consists largely of a study of decided cases and legislation, though the latter is to a considerable extent influenced by international conventions. Internationally accepted customs and practices figure prominently in the banking section of the course; but the course contains nothing that anyone with the standard equipment of a common lawyer cannot handle.

The course has three principal attractions. Firstly, it raises not only complex and fascinating analytical issues but also fundamental issues of legal policy. Secondly, a study of International Trade will help candidates very considerably with their understanding of the law of contract, particularly in the areas of privity, breach, frustration and remedies. Thirdly, the course forms a useful background to one of the most intellectually satisfying types of legal practice.

Lecturing and other guidance is important in this subject because there are no suitable student books for students to study it for themselves at the right level. The books available are either too simple, or are large practitioners’ works in the use of which students need guidance.

Lectures in Michaelmas Term usually cover carriage by sea and on letters of credit. There are handouts for each set of lectures. In the Hilary Term (second of the year) there is normally a weekly class where the three contracts are treated together and their interaction studied. For this there are separate lists of cases and questions. Tutorials (which include practice in analysing problems) are also available in that term, and that is the term in which the bulk of the student’s own personal work on the subject (other than attending lectures) should be done.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe

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Jurisprudence

Jurisprudence is one of the compulsory standard subjects within the Final Honour School syllabus. It is, however, taught and examined in a distinctive way (see below).

Jurisprudence, in the sense relevant to this subject, is the philosophy of law. In studying it you will learn to reflect in a disciplined and critical way on the nature, role, and importance, of legal systems, legal reasoning, and legal institutions, often using examples from other parts of your law studies. By choosing a suitable ‘mini-option’ (see below) you could also examine the philosophy of a particular area of law such as criminal law or tort law.

Teaching: In the second year of the Final Honour School your Jurisprudence teaching will be as follows:

(i) Core topics:   You will have six tutorials covering some core topics in philosophy of law, in the traditional way.

(ii) Mini option: You will then choose a mini-option from a list that the teaching group will provide. The mini-options will be taught in classes and you will not necessarily be taught by the same person who was your tutor for the core topics.

Authoritative guidance on the range of topics in the core will be issued in Michaelmas Term, together with an indicative list of mini-options. You will choose your mini-option from a finalized list in HT or TT of your second year, when you are studying Jurisprudence (all Jurisprudence tutorials take place in HT and/or TT of the second year).

Examination:

Core topics: your Jurisprudence unseen written examination (at the end of your final year) will take a new form. Instead of our traditional finals paper taking three hours and requiring you to answer three out of sixteen questions, your finals paper will take two hours and will require you to answer two out of ten questions. This examination paper will cover only core topics on the tutorial syllabus.

 Mini option: your mini-option will be examined by an essay that you must write in your own time during the summer vacation at the end of your second year (this applies to Law with Law Studies in Europe students too). You will be provided near the end of TT with a list of questions arising from your mini-option and you will choose one to answer. The essay writing will be unsupervised. However guidance on what is expected will be given, including one or more classes on how to write an essay for assessment.

 Arrangements for lectures and other teaching will be explained in full during the course.

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

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Jurisprudence and Political Theory

Students taking Jurisprudence and Political Theory have the opportunity to participate in wide-ranging but analytically precise discussions of the presuppositions and methods of legal, political, and moral philosophy, and of related social theories in their bearing on the institutions, norms and methods of law or legal systems and the explanation of legal rights and obligations, as well as the of the normative significance of institutional actions and practices. The syllabus covers the concepts of law, legal system, legal right and legal obligation; the nature of adjudication; the idea that law is a means of social control; the question whether the law has an essential function or purpose; the relation of legality to the use of organized force; the individual’s moral duty of obedience or the moral duties of a different character that obtain because of the law; the individual’s moral rights against his or her government; and the nature and justification of political authority. Much of, for example, Dworkin’s Law’s Empire, Raz’s The Morality of Freedom, and Finnis’s Aquinas was earlier presented and discussed in this course’s seminars, which provide a good context for critical testing of advanced work-in-progress. The seminars do not necessarily cover all of the topics mentioned in the syllabus, and of those covered some may be covered in much greater depth than others. Nevertheless the syllabus gives a good general indication of the field to which the seminars and the eventual list of examination essay topics relate.

 

The course is a philosophy course, and in that sense is a specialist rather than a generalist pursuit. Through it students may expect to develop some of the skills and dispositions of professional philosophers. An acquaintance with some undergraduate-level jurisprudence is presupposed; those who enter on this course without having formally studied jurisprudence should prepare themselves by a careful reading of at least some of the following (or comparable) works: Hart, The Concept of Law, Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously or Law’s Empire, Raz, The Authority of Law, or Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights. But this list should not lead anyone to think that, in the course itself, the topics to be discussed are narrowly ‘jurisprudential’ or that the authors to be read are narrowly ‘Oxford’. Students with an Oxford Jurisprudence background, and others, could well prepare for the course by careful reading of (for example) Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia, Raz, The Morality of Freedom, Nagel, Equality and Partiality, or Cohen, Rescuing Justice and Equality.

 

Seminars specifically designed for students on this course are convened by Professors J Dickson, T A O Endicott, P Eleftheriadis, J M Finnis, J Gardner, L Green, A M Honore, and N Stavropoulos. However, those taking the paper are also encouraged to participate in seminars taking place elsewhere in the university, particularly in some of those advertised on the Philosophy Lecture List. The same holds for lectures. Those who are not conversant with the basics of political philosophy, in particular, should consider whether to attend lectures on the undergraduate courses in Ethics (see the Philosophy Lecture List) and the Theory of Politics (see the Politics Lecture List). Lectures from the undergraduate Jurisprudence course in the Law Faculty would also help those who need to be more familiar with the basics of legal philosophy.

 

This course is among those supported with detailed material on the Legal Philosophy in Oxford website.

 

Four tutorials will be provided in HT, usually in groups of two or three. These are arranged by the teaching group and neither students nor college tutors need take any steps to organise them. Learning outcomes: an understanding of fundamental questions concerning the nature of law and its application, and a capacity to approach legal issues from a philosophical perspective.

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Labour Law

Issues in labour law affect most people during their working lives. What rights does a worker have if he or she is dismissed? Is there a right to strike? What can the law do about discrimination? This is a rapidly changing field, particularly in the past decade, which has witnessed a transformation in labour law. Most major industrial disputes are now fought out in the courts rather than on the shop-floor, in stark contrast with the traditional view that strikes are best resolved by the parties themselves. Of growing importance is the impact of EU law on British labour law, particularly in the field of discrimination. Labour law will be of considerable interest to anyone who is concerned with the interaction between law, politics and society. All British governments in recent decades have regarded policies on labour law as central to their political programmes.

Labour Law is also useful in practice. Many young barristers acquire invaluable experience by appearing before employment tribunals; and most solicitors’ firms, whether in the City or elsewhere, require specialists in employment law. It remains truer than ever that “the law governing labour relations is one of the centrally important branches of the law - the legal basis on which the very large majority of people earn their living. No-one should be qualified as a lawyer - professionally or academically - who has not mastered its principles.” (Kahn-Freund).

The course covers the law concerning individual employment law (including discrimination law), as well as trade unions, industrial action and collective bargaining. The student is not expected to acquire a detailed knowledge of the whole of this relatively large and complex field, but to pick out the central themes, and integrate them into a wider social and theoretical context.

The main relevant statutes are supplied to examination candidates. It has normally been the case that candidates are not expected to have detailed knowledge of any legislation which has not received the Royal Assent by the beginning of the calendar year in which the examination takes place. Candidates will be required to answer four questions from a choice of twelve.

The subject is taught by means of a programme of lectures/seminars in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms, and by college tutorials which are co-ordinated with them.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Diploma in Legal Studies

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Land Law

The focus of attention within the course is on interests in land: interests which do not merely operate not merely between the parties to a particular transaction involving the land, but can also affect third parties - other people coming into contact with it, such as later purchasers. Examples of such interests are the fee simple (virtually equivalent to ownership of the land), leases, easements and mortgages. The course concerns itself with questions such as: What interests count as interests in land? How are they created? Exactly when will they affect third parties?

Land Law has a well established set of principles, often regulated by statute, to govern it. In part this is because people dealing with land need to know with certainty what the result of a particular transaction will be. Even so, there are many areas of the subject which are currently being developed by case law.

The course is not about conveyancing, the buying and selling of land. It is true, however, that in Land Law we are conscious of the needs of purchasers. Thus, for example, the circumstances in which purchasers will be bound by interests are inextricably tied in with the way land is bought and sold.

Land Law covers material in the “foundations of legal knowledge” and so must be taken by those seeking a professional qualification in England and Wales. Candidates in the FHS examination must offer both Land Law and Trusts.

The subject is taught in tutorials by your college tutor. For an introduction to the subject see Simon Gardner with Emily MacKenzie, An Introduction to Land Law (Hart Publishing, 3rd edn, 2012).

 

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

Optional for these programmes: Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Law and Economics of Corporate Transactions

This course, which runs during the Hilary and Trinity terms, gives students a toolkit for structuring common corporate transactions. It acts as the fulcrum for the programme as a whole. We begin with sessions on the economic theory of contracting: the nature of the agency, hold-up costs, and other strategic behaviour to be expected in a contracting relationship. We then move on to consider six practical applications to well-known corporate transactions. In each case, an overview of the relevant legal background is introduced in class, and students are then given document packs based on real transactions to work on in a group before presenting their work to the class and academics from the disciplines of law, finance and economics. Practitioners from the leading law firms who completed the transactions under review will then talk to students about the case studies, giving their views and explaining what happened in the real scenario.

Compulsory for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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Law and Society in Medieval England

This course offers an in-depth study of core areas of property and obligations law in later thirteenth and early fourteenth century England and their relationships - through legislative and judicial change and legal writing - to the medieval society of which they were part.

The topics covered are: law and the family; family settlements; lordship and ownership; property remedies; the enforcement of tenurial obligations; debts and securities; contracts, leases and property management; wrongs; problems of jurisdiction.

The materials studied are statutes, case reports, and treatises and instructional literature from the period, together with the modern academic literature on the topics. All the sources used are provided in translation, so that knowledge of Latin and French is not required. Prior knowledge of the history of English law is not required.

The primary teaching method is by eight fortnightly seminars running from mid Michaelmas to early Trinity terms.

This course is normally taught by Dr Paul Brand and Dr Mike Macnair.

Learning outcomes: a comprehensive knowledge of the law of property and obligations in late thirteenth-century and early fourteenth-century England; fundamentals of English legal history methodology.”

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Law in Society

Considering law in society means asking a number of questions: What does law do? Where does it come from? What forms does it take? How do we understand its meaning and significance? Socio-legal scholars discuss the role of law in providing stability to private relations, law as the foundation of social order, and law as an instrument for directing society and solving social issues. They also investigate the social origins of different laws. Anthropologists may be more interested in the forms that law takes, and matters of meaning and symbolism. Asking these questions ultimately leads scholars to address the issue (whether explicitly or implicitly) of what law is. Using empirical studies as the basis for such enquiries is what largely distinguishes these projects from those of legal philosophers.

The first part of the course (4 weeks in MT) introduces some of the main sociological thinkers to have addressed these questions, including Durkheim (the notion of law as a mirror of social life and the basis of social solidarity), Weber (law as an instrument of the ruler), and Ehrlich (living law). We will use case studies, along with the writings of more recent scholars, such as Roberts, Cotterrell, and Galligan, to assess the relevance of their approaches for contemporary scholarship and social issues.

The second part of the course (8 weeks in HT) uses anthropological and historical case studies to address the same questions. The focus is largely on understanding the different systems of law found in other societies and historical periods. How are we to understand the laws and legal processes of non-literate societies, for example, or the codes of medieval European kings, or the feuding relations of contemporary Tibetan pastoralists? What do they mean and do, and where do they come from? On what grounds can we even define them as law? We do not, however, neglect contemporary studies from the western world, also considering studies of court use, the appeal of human rights, and new forms of transnational law. The diversity of such examples challenges us to ask what unites them as examples of law. Asking about what is unfamiliar causes us to reflect on the parameters and cultural specificity of our own concepts of law and students will be encouraged to think constructively and critically about familiar legal phenomena and their universal application.

The course is normally convened by Dr Fernanda Pirie or Professor Denis Galligan of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. There are normally 4 seminars in Michaelmas term (odd weeks) and 8 in Hilary term (weekly).

Assessment is by a three hour written examination.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Legal Concepts in Financial Law

The purpose of this course is to explore the most significant legal concepts and private law issues encountered in commercial finance and in commercial and investment banking. . This is particularly topical, as many of these issues have been brought into sharp focus by the recent financial crisis.

Students will be introduced to the various concepts in contract, property and fiduciary law which are used to allocate, manage and transfer risk in transactions on capital markets and in commercial banking. They will also be invited to consider the legal nature of property, money and payment, and the conceptual basis for corporate personality and limited liability. By examining a range of transactions, and critically considering relevant case law and legislation in the light of market practice, this course will provide a deep understanding of the part that private law plays in the operation of financial markets. Transactional structures covered will include loans, guarantees, documentary credits and first demand bonds,, security, debt issues on the capital markets (and other intermediated securities), derivatives and structured finance.

The focus will be on English law, although the law of other jurisdictions (particularly common law jurisdictions) will be studied where appropriate for criticism and comparison.

Whilst the course will primarily be a doctrinal law course, involving close study of cases and legislation and analysis of their underlying principles, the reading lists will contain a significant amount of secondary material examining wider policy issues, different theoretical approaches and possible legal reform.

It is anticipated that the course will be taught in eleven seminars, each supported by lectures, and four tutorials. Teaching is normally by Professor Louise Gullifer, Mr Christopher Hare and Mr Richard Salter QC, with input from others practising in this area of law

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Media Law

Media Law is a fast developing and increasingly high profile area of law. It is an area that allows scholars to look at advanced issues relating to freedom of expression and the right to communicate, and the way these rights intersect with competing interests. The course covers a number of key themes in Media Law and will begin by looking at the justifications for and meanings of media freedom. This introduction will provide a theoretical background against which the later topics will be evaluated. The topics in the course can be grouped into three broad categories:

(1) Liability for media content – for example, when can the press publish facts about a person’s private life? Do public figures have weaker rights to reputation? Will media coverage prejudice a jury trial?

(2) Legal assistance and control of newsgathering – can the police seize journalists’ notebooks? When do journalists have a right not to disclose the identity of confidential sources?

(3) Media regulation – what system of regulation should govern the press? Why do we have different regulatory systems for television and newspapers (and where should the internet fit in this scheme of things)? How much media should any person or company be allowed to control?

In different weeks, the course will build on areas already studied in Tort Law, Criminal Law and Constitutional and Administrative Law. The course will analyse these various issues in the light of the political and social functions (and responsibilities) of the media. In doing this, aspects of media theory and policy may be drawn on in the readings and discussion. At the end of this course students will have a good understanding of the key debates and principles underlying the legal controls on media and communications.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Diploma in Legal Studies

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Medical Law and Ethics

The Medical Law and Ethics course provides students with the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of the legal and ethical difficulties that arise in the provision of health care. The primary focus will be on UK law, but the issues to be covered have global relevance and we encourage students to contribute insights from other jurisdictions wherever possible. Students must be prepared to read many types of material and to consider how legal, ethical and policy issues interact. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Topics to be covered include consent to treatment, abortion, ownership of body parts and organ donation, death and dying, medical negligence, and the legal regulation of human reproduction. As the course progresses, we will also encourage students to be aware of the current issues in medical research and healthcare provision that are being reported in the media.

The course will be taught by Dr Imogen Goold and Professor Jonathan Herring with contributions from other members of the faculties of law and medicine in Oxford, and visiting speakers. There will be twelve seminars, eight in Michaelmas term and four in Hilary term, and four tutorials, two in Michaelmas and two in Hilary. The seminars will involve extensive class participation and the tutorials will provide an opportunity to practise essay writing and to prepare for the examination.

Learning outcomes: a critical understanding of the legal and ethical difficulties that arise in the provision of health care.

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Medical Law and Ethics (FHS)

This course covers selected legal, ethical and medical issues arising in medical practice and research. It focuses on issues of consent, autonomy and best interests of the patient and other interested parties, and how these create intersections with other areas of law, such as tort, criminal and personal property law.

Four core areas of medical law are covered: intentional torts and clinical negligence; reproductive medicine and rights; organ donation and transplantation; and end of life issues. Lectures cover both the legal and ethical issues arising in those areas of medicine, and assume knowledge of the relevant law already covered in the Law Moderations Criminal Law course, and the FHS Tort Law course. Students will be encouraged to take a critical approach and consider where the law may require reform, drawing on the legal and ethical literature to support their views. The course also includes lectures on reasoning in ethics, which will cover various methodologies in ethics for determining about how to act, to give students a grounding in how conclusions about ethical issues are reached (and critiqued), and on a range of issues in medical ethics not covered elsewhere in the course.

The subject is through five tutorials and a series of 20 lectures. The lectures are intended to be interactive and students should be expect to be called upon to participate in discussion and debate. Lectures will cover the syllabus, and a number of guest lecturers will also speak on topics of interest in medical ethics. These guests will include barristers, medical practitioners, religious leaders and members of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

The course is assessed entirely by means of extended writing assessment, undertaken at the end of Hilary Term.  

Learning outcomes: a critical understanding of the principal areas of medical law and of the social and ethical considerations relating to his field of law.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Diploma in Legal Studies

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Mergers, Acquisitions and Restructuring

The market for corporate ownership is one of the hallmarks of capitalism. Within that market, vast amounts of corporate wealth have been created – and destroyed. The objective of this course is to understand the market, the institutions that were created in order to execute these complicated transactions, and the strategies that are employed by the major players.

One role of the market is to allocate assets to the owners who can extract the maximum value out of them; bankruptcy is an alternative mechanism. Hence, the two mechanisms are often studied together under the heading of restructuring.

The first four sessions are taught by Oren Sussman and focus on finance. Subsequently, Duncan Angwin will teach four additional sessions that focus on strategy and organisational behaviour.

This is an elective course for MLF students taking the finance stream.

 

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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Moral and Political Philosophy

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the fundamental questions of moral philosophy and some central issues in political philosophy. The course is divided into two parts: Part A covering the nature of moral philosophy, and Part B dealing with the topics in political philosophy.

Part A takes a philosophical perspective on fundamental questions about the nature of morality. It asks whether moral values are (or can be) ‘objective’, or whether they are simply ‘subjective’ or ‘relative’, and what reason(s) we have (if any) to be moral. Part A also examines three of the most prominent approaches to the nature of morality—-consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics. Finally, it raises questions about our relationship to morality: Do we really have the freedom to choose whether or not to act in the morally right way? Does morality always provide us with a permissible course of action?

Part B examines some central topics in political philosophy, namely, democracy, liberty, equality and justice.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe

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Personal Property

The objective of this course is to provide students with an overview of the law of personal property, focusing in particular on underlying concepts and subjecting those concepts to a detailed, critical examination. The course aims to broaden students’ knowledge by introducing them to fundamental ideas which the FHS compulsory subjects do not cover: such as the role of the tort of conversion in protecting interests in property; and the means by which gifts of interests in property can be made. The course further aims to deepen students’ understanding of important concepts which feature in the core subjects of Land Law and Trusts: students will be re-introduced to and, more importantly, invited to re-examine concepts such as the nature of ownership and the need for security of transactions.

This special subject may not be taken by any student who is also taking the standard subject Principles of Commercial Law.

i) Introductory Seminar/Lecture: 1 x 2hr session
ii) Seminars: 7 x 2hr sessions
iii) Tutorials: 4 x 1hr sessions

These sessions will be spread over Michaelmas Term and Hilary Term.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Personal Taxation

Taxation comprises a difficult and complex mass of material. It is hard to deny that proposition, but the Oxford Personal Tax course is designed to be questioning and challenging. For a start, only a limited range of taxes is within the syllabus: income tax on trusts and annual payments, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. Legislative and judicial methods of countering tax avoidance are dealt with in depth. We attempt to teach the material in such a way that the detail is much less important than the cases and the ideas underpinning the law. Company taxation is not covered in the Personal Tax course, but is dealt with in the Corporate and Business Taxation course. The two tax courses on the BCL are complementary but are also completely freestanding so may be taken alone or together depending on the student's interest. It is not essential to have studied tax previously in order to take either the Personal Taxation course or Corporate and Business Taxation but students who have studied the subject at undergraduate level will find that the material in the graduate courses will flow on well from their initial courses and will enhance their existing knowledge of taxation. A theme that runs through a significant proportion of the course is the way in which trusts are affected by taxation, particularly in comparison with taxation of individuals. This involves considerable use of trusts cases and theories - not surprising when one remembers the number of trusts cases that have arisen in a taxation context. Accordingly, it is not advisable to study Personal Taxation unless you have covered Trusts already or are taking it as an option in the MJur. Personal Taxation offers the opportunity to consider an almost entirely statutory area and study the reaction of the judiciary to it. This is particularly revealing in the fast developing area of judicial reaction to tax avoidance schemes. This is an area of intense judicial activity and disagreement, at its heart being the question as to how far the courts should go to defeat schemes that set out to frustrate the intended effect of taxes or exemptions from taxation. This is an area that benefits from comparisons with other countries, although most of Personal Taxation has its focus on purely English taxation provisions.

Lectures in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms set out to cover virtually the entirety of the syllabus. Tutorials are normally arranged after lectures are completed. There is a "Tax Problem Class" in Trinity Term which combines the objectives of developing the necessary skills to handle problem questions on taxation and of enabling seminar discussion of some of the more perplexing issues in the subject. Anyone who wishes to have further information before deciding whether to take Personal Taxation is welcome to contact Mr R J Smith (Magdalen College).

This course covers selected topics within (a) Income Tax; (b) Capital Gains Tax; (c) Inheritance Tax and other methods of taxing capital; (d) general responses to tax avoidance. The taxes are to be studied with particular reference to the taxation of gifts and settlements. Candidates will not be examined on the details of the Finance Bill or Act of the year of examination. Candidates are advised not to offer this paper unless they have studied the law of Trusts in their first law degree course. Income Tax comprises: (i) Principles of the general charge to tax on individuals and families: personal reliefs and allowances in general; (ii) taxation of settlors, trustees and beneficiaries; foreign element relating thereto. Capital Gains Tax comprises: (i) General charge to tax on individuals; (ii) disposals and acquisitions of assets in general; (iii) gifts and settlements; (iv) disposal on death and administration of estates; (v) computation of gains and losses in general (but not the rules relating to leasehold interests, or wasting assets); (vi) exemptions; (vii) foreign element. Inheritance Tax comprises: (i) historical background; (ii) general charge to tax on individuals; iii) settled property; (iv) administration of estates; (v) reliefs and exemptions; (vi) valuation; (vii) foreign element.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Philosophical Foundations of the Common Law

This course explores the principles which may be thought to underlie each of the three areas it is concerned with – contract, tort, and the criminal law – and the relations between them.

Do notions such as causation, intention and foresight, which figure in all three areas, lend them doctrinal unity, or do these branches of the law represent different (complementary or conflicting) principles? For example: can one or other of them be understood as embodying principles of corrective justice, while the others are based on considerations of distributive justice? Does the law, in these areas, reflect moral concerns, or pursue efficiency or some other goal, or is it the case that no underlying principles can be discerned? Does the law make sense only in the light of certain assumptions about the nature of persons (e.g. that they are rational choosers, that they are autonomous beings)? These are some of the issues explored in this course.

The course presupposes knowledge of the basic doctrines of contract, tort, and criminal law. While some philosophical background might be helpful, it is not essential.

The main teaching is by seminars. At least two but not necessarily all three of the areas identified in the syllabus (criminal law, torts, contracts) are covered in depth in any given academic year. Up to four tutorials are also provided, and these are arranged centrally via the seminars. The course is among those supported with detailed material on the Faculty's Jurisprudence website.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Politics of Crime Control

Prof Ian Loader

This option is an opportunity to make sense of the important shifts in the ordering of contemporary societies. Its aim is to encourage students to think politically about crime and its regulation, by examining the intersections between political ideologies, key concepts and traditions in political thought, the dynamics of electoral politics and political mobilization, and current developments in crime control. The course will examine the ways in which political debates over crime control are inescapably entangled with wider ideological contests between different political traditions and their competing conceptions of the good society (e.g. conservatism, liberalism, socialism, feminism, communitarianism and republicanism), and with struggles over the meaning and import of some core ideas in political thought (e.g. order, authority, legitimacy, justice, freedom, rights). Examining trajectories of crime control and penal policy in these ideological terms will enable consideration of the range of issues that are in play, and at stake, in debates about the criminal question. The course, in this sense, rests upon and explores the claim that the question of how to respond to crime is always, in part, a contest of competing (political) ideas.  The running order of the course looks like this:

1.            Neo-liberalism and crime control – new orthodoxies?

2.            Thinking politically about crime – rediscovering ideologies?

3.            Conservatism and crime control – what kind of creed?

4.            Liberalism and crime control – an idea in retreat?

5.            Social democracy and crime control – a lost cause?

6.            Populism and technocracy – competing ideological formations?

7.            Identities and equalities – doing justice differently?

8.            Debate – ‘manifestos’ for a better politics of crime

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Principles of Civil Procedure

The aim of the course is to acquaint students with the fundamental principles of Civil Procedure. These principles are not specific to England but are common to all advanced systems of law. The operation and implications of these principles is discussed against the background of English law and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. A short introduction to English civil procedure is provided so that students not familiar with the English system could soon acquire a working knowledge. However, students coming from other jurisdiction are encouraged to consider how the principles and the ideas discussed in the lectures can play a part in their own home litigation systems.

 Both lectures and seminars involve active student participation. The course consists of approximately 20 lectures (most of 2 hours duration), 6 guest lectures and seminars and 3 to 4 tutorials. The lectures are normally held in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms and the seminars in Trinity Term. The lectures will be given by Professor Zuckerman and Dr Higgins. The seminars address central issues in contemporary procedure in England and elsewhere. The sessions are conducted by Professor Zuckerman with guest speakers, such as scholars, practitioners and judges from England and abroad. Tutorials are given in all three terms and may be spread over two or three terms. Tutorials will be taken with Dr Higgins and Professor Zuckerman.

 The course contains the following topics:

  1. General theory of civil adjudication and its relationship to the rule of law
  2. The common law right to fair trial and procedural implications of the European Convention on Human Rights including the right to an independent and impartial tribunal, right of access to evidence, right to reasons and the principle of open justice.
  3. An introduction to English civil procedure
  4. Adversarial litigation; case management and sanctions for non-compliance with rules or orders; fraudulent litigants
  5. Summary adjudication
  6. Interim remedies including super injunctions, freezing orders and search orders
  7. Disclosure
  8. Exceptions to disclosure including public interest immunity, closed material proceedings, legal professional privilege, privilege against self-incrimination and without prejudice privilege
  9. Expert evidence
  10. Collective redress including class actions
  11. Alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation
  12. Appeals and finality of litigation
  13. Costs and funding
  14. Litigants in person

Learning outcomes: a comprehensive knowledge of the principles which underpin the laws governing the adjudication of civil lawsuits.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Principles of Financial Regulation

Financial regulation is subject to rapid change, and its optimal content is hotly debated. This course will introduce you to the underlying principles which various forms of financial regulation seek to implement. The focus is on the financing of firms and their interaction with capital markets. Students completing this course will be able to understand the regulatory goals of market efficiency, investor protection, financial stability and competition, and the principal regulatory strategies that are employed to try to bring these about in relation to financial markets and financial institutions. The course will conclude with a consideration of the structure of financial regulators, both at the domestic and international level. Students having taken the course will be able to assess critically new developments in financial regulation and their implementation in novel contexts.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Principles of International Taxation

Core Course


The Principles of International Taxation course introduces students to the general principles of international taxation. It is also a foundation course for subsequent international tax courses.

The course includes the following topics:

  • Comparative Tax Policy
  • International fiscal law and policy
  • History of international tax law
  • Cross-border enforcement of tax debts
  • Developing Countries and International Taxation
  • Causes of International Double Taxation and methods of relief
  • Indirect Taxation and International Tax Law
  • International co-operation between tax administrations
  • International Tax Issues for Multinational Groups

The course is taught by Dr Philip Baker, QC, Professor Michael Devereux and Dr John Vella

Compulsory for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Prisons

Prof Mary Bosworth and Dr Inez Hasselberg

The prison is one of the most fundamental and yet controversial element of any nation’s criminal justice system.  Despite academic and first-hand evidence pointing to a generalised failure of incarceration to stem crime or to reform criminals, for example, imprisonment continues to be viewed as the appropriate and necessary response to a wide range of illegal activity.  More puzzling still, despite its economic and social costs, critical questions about the legitimacy of imprisonment are rarely posed.

By examining aspects of life behind bars as well as some of the justifications of imprisonment, this course will seek to understand the complex role played by the prison in contemporary society.  Students will develop a critical understanding of the origins of the prison, of its daily practice and of how the growing recognition of prisoners’ rights in national and international law has effected prison conditions and staff-prisoner relationships.  Particular attention will be paid to the experience of women and ethnic minorities behind bars.  Topics that will be considered will range from staffing to education as well as from how institutions deal with prisoners’ children to how they maintain order. 

Schedule of Seminars

  1. Why Prison?

  2. How Can we Study and Understand Prison?

  3. Life Behind Bars: The Sociology of Imprisonment

  4. The Pains of Imprisonment: When Prisoners Don’t Cope

  5. Prison Law and Human Rights

  6. Maintaining Order: Rules, Regimes and Resistance

  7. Current Challenges, Future Trends: Privatization, Globalization and Penal Moderation

  8. Revisited: Why Prison?

 

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Private Equity

There are three main objectives of the private equity course:

1. To develop an understanding of the roles played by the various participants involved in private equity. The course will consider the attractions of private equity as an investment class. The organisation and incentive structures of private equity funds, and the complex relationship with the companies in which they invest are also analysed.

2. To apply many of the ideas and theories developed in the core finance courses to a particular sector of the financial industry. The private equity sector – involving both venture capital and buy-outs – is a particularly interesting sector to analyse. Private equity is used to finance many companies where the generic problems encountered when financing companies – such as uncertainty or asymmetric information – are especially acute and complex.

3. To critically evaluate the valuation techniques employed in private equity transactions. By their very nature, private equity investments (which lack market valuations provided by public equity markets) are those where valuation is often difficult, being highly sensitive to assumptions and methodology. This course reviews a variety of valuation techniques in the context of real private equity transactions.

This is an elective course for MLF students taking the finance stream.

 

 

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Law and Finance

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Private Law and Fundamental Rights

The enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU as a binding treaty has provoked new questions about the relation between fundamental rights and the legal principles and rules elaborated in fields of private law, principally contract, tort, and property.  Questions that have been raised include: Is private law based on or derived from fundamental rights?  Can fundamental rights provide a source for new private law rights and obligations? Does the enactment of fundamental rights in a legal order collapse the distinction between public and private law, and if so, what are the consequences for theories of law? Do fundamental rights have the same meaning in a horizontal dispute between private parties?  How should the fundamental rights of private parties be balanced against each other?  As well as examining these broad questions, the course critically examines and assesses the case-law concerning the impact of fundamental rights on contract law, tort law, property law and other fields of private law.  Cases and examples are drawn primarily from the common law in the UK and decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Court of Human Rights, but selective comparisons from other jurisdictions are occasionally introduced.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Public and Private Policing

Dr Ben Bradford and Prof Ian Loader

This course examines police and policing in 21st century Britain and beyond. It considers processes of change and stability in the organizational and institutional structures of policing, and their implications for criminal justice and for wider society. 

Topics covered

  1. Policing and social order

  2. Policing, privatization and markets

  3. Policing, legitimacy and democracy

  4. Governing policing

  5. Change and innovation in police organizations

  6. The ‘scientific turn’ in policing

  7. Policing, harm reduction and public health

  8. Debating stop and search

 

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Public International Law

There has never been a more exciting time to study Public International Law (PIL). Issues of PIL and international justice are at the forefront of public debates to a greater degree than ever before. International law provides the technical and intellectual underpinnings to large areas of international co-operation, including the prosecution of war crimes (both internationally and nationally), the legality of the use of force against States (e.g. Syria and Iraq), environmental protection, the scope of human rights protection, the economic effects of globalisation promoted through the work of institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the settlement of land and maritime boundary disputes, and the resolution of jurisdictional conflicts arising in the context of economic regulation by States.

PIL today not only impacts and shapes decisions by States to a greater degree than ever before, but it also penetrates into the national legal order – often through national court decisions – to give rights to individuals and corporations to an extent that is unrivalled in the history of the subject. These developments have in turn led to the growth of lawyers and law firms who specialise in the practice of PIL. This is in addition to the demand for PIL lawyers in governments, inter-governmental organizations (such as the United Nations and the large number of UN Specialized Agencies), and non-governmental organizations. For those who do not intend to follow a career in international law, the subject provides a broad sweep of issues which illuminate not merely questions of international law but the problems and processes of the world of diplomacy.

The PIL course at Oxford covers the major areas of general international law and is not over-specialized. The lectures cover the core tutorial topics on the nature and sources of international law, the law of treaties, international legal personality, jurisdiction and immunities, State responsibility, the use of force and the procedures for peaceful settlement of disputes. In addition, the lectures introduce students to selected special subject areas such the law of the sea, international humanitarian law and investment arbitration. The consideration of these subject areas takes place within their broader policy context and having regard to recent experience.

Although in principle the syllabus is extensive, both the teaching practice and the mode of setting the FHS paper avoid any drawbacks which might result from this wide scope. Students will find that it is not necessary to know the whole syllabus from A to Z, and  the Schools paper provides a wide selection of questions.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of a variety of areas of Public International Law selected from a list which covers laws relating to international relations, international economic issues and human rights, amongst others.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Punishment, Security and the State

The proposed course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the theoretical underpinnings, justifications, and contemporary practices of punishment and security. The subject is approached from criminological, socio-legal, philosophical, and historical perspectives. The course explores the role of the state in the exercise of its most coercive functions against individual citizens – whether punishing those found guilty of criminal wrongdoing or taking security measures against those deemed to pose a risk to the safety of the public and the nation.

In Michaelmas Term it will focus on ‘why we punish’ by examining major debates in penal theory concerning the authority of the state to punish and the various justifications and rationales for punishment - not least desert theory and its critics, communicative and consequentialist theories. The second half of the term considers ‘how we punish’ by exploring diverse social, economic and political aspects of punishment and examining whether it is possible to do justice to difference.

In Hilary Term the focus shifts from punishment to the pursuit of security and critically examines what is meant by security (whether, for example, as pursuit, commodity, or public good). Successive seminars consider whether the growth of markets in private security and the development of communal and personal security provision evidence the fragmentation or dispersal of state power. They examine exercises in state sovereignty in the name of risk management, counterterrorism, and migration and border control. These reassertions of state power permit significant intrusions into individual freedom and the deployment of exceptional measures and the course will address important questions about the limits of legality and the balancing of liberty and security.

In Trinity Term two final seminars provide an opportunity for critical reflection and engagement with issues raised throughout the course. The first will examine the relationship between public and private security and consider the commodification of security and the second examines new technologies of crime control.

 The course is normally taught by 12 seminars and 4 tutorials spread across Michaelmas and Hilary Terms (six seminars and two tutorials in each) with 2 further summative seminars in Trinity providing an opportunity for critical reflection on the whole course. The standard exam for the BCL (ie 3 hour closed book) will be set.

The focus of teaching will be the weekly seminar, which all those taking the course are required to attend. Students will be expected to read and think about the assigned materials in advance of the seminar. The seminar will be introduced by a Faculty member, followed by discussion around a set of questions distributed in advance. In addition, the Centre for Criminology organizes seminars during the academic year at which distinguished invited speakers discuss current research or major issues of policy. This programme is advertised on the Centre's website and all students are encouraged to attend.

Learning outcomes: an in-depth understanding of the theoretical underpinnings, justifications, and contemporary practices of punishment and security.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Quantitative Analysis for Social Sciences

Dr Ben Bradford

This course is designed for students who want to learn quantitative analysis techniques for use in criminological contexts. Students will learn both basic statistical concepts and how to use SPSS, a statistical package widely used in the social sciences. The course will be taught using a version of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) dataset. By the end of the course, students will be able to understand and critically assess papers containing quantitative data, use appropriate statistical methods, and present their analyses effectively in their dissertations.

The course will enable students to:

  • Understand and interpret quantitative criminological research.

  • Conduct analysis of existing datasets using SPSS.

  • Present findings in an appropriate manner.

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Race and Gender

Dr Alpa Parmar

The aim of this course is to explore how race and gender impact on criminological theory and understand how people’s experiences within the criminal justice process varies, depending on their ethnicity and/or gender. A focus of the course will be to analyse the operation of racism at various stages of the criminal justice process. Through adopting an intersectional lens the course will consider the ways in which race, gender, generation and class work together to shape people’s experiences of the crime and the criminal justice system. In this option, students will examine the victimisation and offending experiences of minority ethnic groups and the criminological theories, which aim to explain the different patterns and outcomes for people according to their ethnicity and gender. Police practices, sentencing, and imprisonment are key topics covered in the course. In addition to examining processes of racism, disproportionality and discretion in the sphere of crime and criminal justice, the course also explores contemporary issues such as the impact of counter-terrorism policies and consequences on notions of citizenship and belonging for minority groups. This option will largely draw on UK and USA scholarship to explore these debates.

Topics covered

1. Setting the Scene: Conceptual and theoretical approaches to understanding race and gender

2. Victims 

3. Offenders

4. Policing

5. Sentencing

6.  Imprisonment

7. Criminalization, Security and Citizenship

8. Race, Gender, Crime and Representation

 

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Regulation

Regulation is at the core of how modern states seek to govern the activities of individual citizens as well as corporate and governmental actors. Broadly defined it includes the use of legal and non-legal techniques to manage social and economic risks. While regulation is traditionally associated with prescriptive law, public agencies and criminal as well as administrative sanctions, the politics of the shrinking state and deregulation have meant that intrusive and blunt forms of legal regulation have given way at times to facilitative, reflexive and procedural law which seeks to balance public and private interests in regulatory regimes. Policy debates have addressed whether there is actually too much, too little or the wrong type of regulation.

This course examines what role different forms of law play in contemporary regulatory regimes. It thereby analyses how legal regulation constructs specific relationships between law and society and how legal regulation is involved in mediating conflicts between private and public power. The first section of the course critically examines key conceptual approaches for understanding regulation. How can economic reasoning be employed in order to justify legal regulation? Does a focus on institutions help to understand the operation of regulatory regimes? What rationalities, and hence ‘governmentalities’ are involved in regulating through law? What role do emotions, such as trust, play in regulatory interactions? The second section of the course examines specific regulatory regimes against the background of the conceptual frameworks explored in the first section. This second section discusses ‘regulation in action’ in specific fields of current significance, such as: - the regulation of the legal profession, - the regulation of the carbon market in the EU - the regulation of the provision of health care in the UK - the regulation of education policy-making in the EU - the regulation of the internet and the regulation of housing The course thus provides an opportunity for students to examine the pervasive phenomenon of regulation with reference to different disciplinary perspectives, in particular law, sociology, politics and economics and to gain detailed knowledge of substantive regulatory law in specific fields of current relevance.

The course is taught through 16 two hour seminars - which provide opportunities for active student participation – over Michaelmas and Hilary terms. Four tutorials spread over Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity terms will also support students’ exam preparation. The 3 hour written examination at the end of the course involves essay questions.

The convenor of the course is Dr Bettina Lange and the course is taught by a small group of faculty members. If you have any questions about the contents, approach or teaching methods of this course do not hesitate to contact me: bettina.lange@csls.ox.ac.uk, Room 280, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Social Science Building, Manor Road.

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Research Design and Data Collection

Dr. Ben Bradford and Dr Rachel Condry

How can social scientists be sure that the data used in research are valid and reliable? This course is focused on the challenges and the opportunities that different methods of data collection have for validity and reliability of data. Such methods include experiments and quasi-experiments; questionnaires and survey research; field research, and crime/ criminal justice and victimization statistics. The scientific method, theory testing and research design will also be discussed. This option will provide students with a knowledge base from which to choose appropriate ways to collect valid and reliable data given a particular research question. It will also help students assess the weight that can be placed on the findings of published research in the field of criminology. These weekly ninety-minute classes are compulsory for all students. Students are expected to come prepared to contribute to each class. Note that, as in the Core Course, students will be divided into two groups for this class in order to maintain a reasonable class size.

Compulsory for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Restitution of Unjust Enrichment

Restitution of Unjust Enrichment is concerned with how and when a claimant can compel a defendant to surrender an enrichment gained at the claimant’s expense. Long neglected, the subject has in recent years been one of the most exciting in the postgraduate curriculum. It draws its cases from areas of the law which have resisted rational analysis, largely because they have tenaciously preserved the language of an earlier age.

Common lawyers found themselves unable to escape from money had and received, money paid, and quantum meruit, while those on the chancery side became defensively fond of the unsolved mysteries of tracing and trusts arising by operation of law. In the result, down to earth questions about getting back money and value in other forms have been made to seem much more difficult than they need be. The aim of any course on restitution must be to understand what has really been going on and to play back that understanding to the courts in accessible modern language.

This course is concerned only with restitution of unjust enrichment. Restitution for wrongs is not part of the course and is dealt with in the Commercial Remedies course.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of the laws by which a claimant can compel a defendant to surrender an enrichment gained at the claimant’s expense.

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Risk, Security and Criminal Justice

Prof Lucia Zedner

The rise of risk management and the pursuit of security are key features of contemporary crime control. This course analyses the ways in which risk is conceptualised, measured and managed in the pursuit of security and public protection. In particular, it examines how risk and security are transforming criminal justice policy and practice in domains such as policing, crime prevention, preventive detention, and counter-terrorism. It explores the benefits, as well as the burdens, of these developments and examines their implications for justice and for individual liberty.

The seminar topics are:

Week 1: Risk and the pursuit of security

Week 2: Policing, crime prevention, and risk management

Week 3: Risk assessment, actuarial justice and dangerous offenders

Week 4: Public protection and preventive detention

Week 5: Counter-terrorism laws and security policies

Week 6: The burdens of seeking security

Week 7: Security and justice

Week 8: Debate

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Roman and Civilian Law of Contracts

The purpose of the course is to study the Civilian Law of Contracts, particularly the Law of Sale, as it developed from ca. 1100 AD till the end of the 19th century, with some limited comparison with the development of English law in the same period and the English use of civilian contract ideas. The Roman law of Justinian’s codification, as it was picked up in the late Middle Ages, provided the basis for this development. It was the subject of mediaeval and later commentaries; study of these will show how the texts were interpreted and eventually adapted to contemporary use. Key topics are the emergence of a general contract law with some of its aspects and the law of Sale.

The course is structured as follows: I. The doctrinal history of civil law from the high Middle Ages to the 19th century (classes 1 and 2). II. The emergence of a general contract concept; types of contract; the role of stipulatio; innominate contracts (classes 3 and 4). III. Aspects of contract law: Conditions, agency, error (class 5). IV. Sale contracts in particular: Formation, transfer of ownership, warranty of title (class 6); passing of risk, breach of contract, specific performance, damages (class 7); the same, ctd., and latent defects (class 8).

Learning outcomes: An understanding of how modern civilian doctrines emerged from the adaptation of Roman Law texts and how the emergence from a university environment gave these doctrines its distinct scholastic flavour. An understanding of basic concepts of the general civilian idea of ‘contract’ and of the civilian contract of sale in particular.

 

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur)

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Roman Law (Delict - FHS)

The Roman law option focuses on set texts from the Institutes and Digest. Its primary aim is to understand those texts and the ideas and methods of the great Roman jurists who wrote them. The secondary aim is, by comparison, to throw light on the law of our own time. It caters for the interests of those who are interested in making use of their classical background or of developing the knowledge of Roman law they have acquired by taking the ‘A Roman Introduction to Private Law’ course in Law Moderations, although it is not essential to have done the Moderations Roman law course. It allows students to study in some detail the outlook and methods of reasoning of the classical jurists, who provide the models on which professional legal argument has ever since been based. In practice, this will lead to discussion of fundamentals of the law of delicts/torts, aided by comparisons with English cases.

The lectures are based, so far as the Roman law is concerned, on the set texts, in English translation. Indeed, one of the advantages of this course from the point of view of students is that the body of relevant texts and other authoritative material is more limited than it is in most, perhaps all, the other options. It is possible to concentrate on detail. In the examination, candidates are required to comment on selections from the set translated texts and on questions regarding the literature provided in relation to the texts. Knowledge of Latin is not required or necessary; sensitivity for philological dimensions of the original texts, where relevant, is. Much literature will quote Latin phrases but in practice this should not cause problems; for sources on the reading list, translations are provided either in the sources or separately.

By its nature, this course attracts and is suitable for only small numbers. This fact tends to dissolve the distinction between tutorials and lectures. However, it remains true that the backbone of the course is an exposition of the set texts, supported by further lectures on associated topics.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of the concepts of Roman law and of the ideas and methods of classical jurists, and a capacity to reflect on their influence on English common law.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, Diploma in Legal Studies

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Sentencing

Prof Julian Roberts

The aim of this option is to explore some of the legal, theoretical and empirical issues of sentencing, largely by reference to England and Wales but also other common law jurisdictions. As well as analysing the sentencing framework and the definitive sentencing guidelines, the seminar also discusses the use of imprisonment, arguments about previous convictions and sentencing, and the justifications for allowing certain factors to mitigate or aggravate sentence.

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Tax and Accounting

Elective


The Tax and Accounting course will explore the relationship between accounting and taxation. We shall discuss issues such as the following:

  • Do tax and commercial accounts have the same objectives?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of following financial or commercial accounts (book) without modification for tax purposes?
  • What will be the effect of developments in accounting standards on the taxation debate?
  • What was the impact of the recent banking crisis on taxable profits and on the debate about fair value accounting?

The course is taught by [TBD] and Professor Judith Freedman

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Tax and Public Policy

Elective


The Tax and Public Policy course provides students with the essential tools to assess tax policy, with a particular emphasis on economic analysis. After discussing where economic analysis fits in the complete toolbox for assessing tax policy, students will be taught the essential tools from economic analysis in some detail. Having equipped students with these tools, the course then guides them through some fundamental issues in tax policy design. The course ends with a case study, in which students will be asked to evaluate in class a recent proposal for the introduction of a new tax.

This is an elective course. Issues of tax policy will be considered in other compulsory and elective courses on the MSc. However, this course will cover these various issues in tax policy in a coherent and more detailed manner and with a greater emphasis on economic analysis.   

The course includes the following topics:

  • Tax Design and the Complete Toolbox
  • Economic Tools and /Concepts (including efficiency and optimal tax theory)
  • Some Fundamental Tax Policy Choices (including tax base, taxation of capital, rents)
  • Corporation Tax Policy
  • International Tax Policy

 The course is taught by Professor Michael Devereux and Dr John Vella

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Tax Principles and Policy

Core Course


Tax Principles and Policy

This core course introduces students to fundamental principles in taxation as well as enabling students to meet with each other and exchange ideas.  Students taking this degree come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and have varying levels of experience, but all will have something to learn and something to bring to the table during this interactive  course.

 The focus is on themes and concepts that will provide students with the necessary grounding to study a range of topics in tax law within their political and economic context. The aim is to create an understanding of the requirements of a tax system and the difficulties encountered in designing, legislating for and administering such a system.

The course includes the following topics:

  • Tax Concepts (including objectives and function of tax, tax base, capital vs income distinction in tax law, relationship betweentax and accounting profits, sources of tax law and constitutional issues)

  • The Tax Unit (individuals, couples or families?Taxing companies, partnerships, trusts and other entities)

  • Tax Avoidance (including the meaning of tax avoidance, and judicial and legislative responses)

The aim of the course is to provide students with a common foundation of key principles, concepts and policy issues in tax. Students will be able to draw upon their understanding of these principles, concepts and issues, including the objectives of tax and tax avoidance, in developing their understanding of the material covered on their other compulsory and optional courses.

The course is taught by Professor Judith Freedman, Dr Glen Loutzenhiser and Professor Michael Devereux

*Note: The course description is preliminary and has not been finalised. Course content and teachers are subject to change*

Compulsory for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Tax Research Round Table

Core Course


The Tax Research Round Table course will expose students to emerging ideas in the taxation field. Lecturers will be drawn from Oxford University, including non-tax faculty who will cast light on recent developments in other areas of law, for example public law, restitution, legal theory, or who will discuss research in economics, accounting or finance where these developments are significant for tax experts. In addition we may call on International Research Fellows of the Centre for Business Taxation or other external experts to give a paper regarding their research. Students will also have an opportunity to present an aspect of their own exploratory work during the course, testing out early ideas for their extended essay in order to receive some feedback from different perspectives prior to meeting with their tutor to settle the scope of their paper. 

This course involves lectures during the residential week in Michaelmas Term Week Minus One of Year 2 (during the same week as the Year 1 residential week), plus a research methods/skills session and a tutor meeting for preparation for writing an extended 6,000 word essay on one of a choice of set topics. At this meeting, students will discuss their topic choice and will receive help in scoping their essay, research methods and sources. Tutors will be assigned partly on the basis of essay topics, but since the discussion will be of a fairly general nature there will not be a problem if many students choose one topic. One further meeting with a tutor will be available in person or by electronic methods during the year.

The extended essay topics will be based on the presentations offered but there will also be scope for writing about a different area provided that was a topic approved by the course programme directors.

The course is taught by Professor Judith Freedman, Professor Michael Devereux, Dr Philip Baker, QC, Dr Glen Loutzenhiser, Dr John Vella and Dr Anzhela Yevgenyeva

Compulsory for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Tax Treaties

Elective


The Tax Treaties course focuses on the operation of double taxation conventions (more colloquially referred to as “tax treaties” and often abbreviated as “DTCs”). The emphasis is on the interpretation and application of DTCs, though students will also learn something about the negotiation of DTCs.

The course includes the following topics:

  • Introduction to the structure and operation of the principal model DTCs – the OECD MTC and the UN MTC
  • General provisions and definitions – especially the definitions of “resident” and “permanent establishment”
  • Business profits – Arts. 7 and 9 OECD MTC
  • Passive income – Arts. 10, 11, and 12 OECD MTC
  • Individuals – Arts. 15, 16, 17 and 18 OECD MTC
  • Methods of relief from double taxation – Art. 23 OECD MTC
  • Non-discrimination – Art. 24 OECD MTC
  • Settlement of international fiscal disputes – mutual agreement procedure – Art. 25 OECD MTC
  • The future role of DTCs

The course is taught by Dr Philip Baker, QC and Dr Glen Loutzenhiser

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Taxation Law

Taxation pervades every area of life, including property, family, employment and business affairs. Tax law is well suited to interdisciplinary study, intersecting as it does with economics and politics. It also offers rich opportunities for the study of many areas of law, given that tax factors have frequently influenced development of legal concepts and principles. In turn, tax laws are shaped by concepts of property, commercial, corporate and employment law and approaches to drafting and interpretation of legislation. This course introduces students to selected issues in the law of taxation, chosen to illuminate fundamental concepts and to link to other parts of the undergraduate law course. The focus is on tax law, but the technical issues are examined by focusing on themes and principles and placing the law within its political and economic context, in order to create an understanding of the requirements of a tax system and the difficulties encountered in designing, legislating for and administering such a system.

Students taking this course are required to use a variety of sources, ranging from statute and case law to easily accessible literature from other disciplines, such as economics and political theory, of which no prior knowledge is required. All the material is non-mathematical and no computation is required in any part of the course. The approach taken and topics chosen ensure that the course is of interest to a wide range of students.

Those entering the legal profession will find that knowledge of taxation is of value whether they intend to specialise in taxation, for which there are many opportunities, both in the City and in private client work, or as background to practice in other areas. The course will provide a valuable intellectual framework for the tax element in the professional legal training courses. Students interested in careers outside the legal profession will also find that the tax course provides a thorough grounding in a topic of central importance to business, politics and government.

The course examines the objectives and functions of a "good" tax system and how these affect what society chooses to tax. The focus of the course is on direct taxes - income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax in relation to individuals and businesses and the application of these taxes to private trusts. The issue of tax avoidance is of central concern in most tax systems. The course examines the way in which our tax system has lent itself to ingenious tax avoidance (or tax planning?) schemes and the attempts of the judges and the legislature to combat these activities.

The course is taught by lectures and co-ordinated classes commencing in Michaelmas and continuing to 4th week in Hilary. These lectures and classes are key elements of the teaching. The five tutorials are also spread through Michaelmas and Hilary.

Learning outcomes: an understanding of the fundamental concepts and instruments of taxation law and of the political and economic contexts within which taxation law operates.

Optional for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe

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Taxation of Corporate Finance

Elective


Corporate finance is a portmanteau subject, covering major activities carried on by banks and companies of all descriptions, in order to raise capital, return value to shareholders, and acquire, reorganise and dispose of businesses. The Taxation of Corporate Finance course provides a specialist subject in its own right, affords insight into the role of taxation in corporate decision-making and both deepens and widens general knowledge of taxation and commercial law.

This course focuses on the UK tax treatment of debt, equity and derivative contracts. The aim of the course is to provide practical knowledge and insights into the rules and principles of corporate finance taxation and their impact on financing and investment decisions. It also aims to alert students to some of the most important theoretical debates surrounding the decision to tax corporate capital and the use of taxation as a means of regulating corporate behaviours. In particular, students will learn about the UK tax treatment of: trading and non-trading income earned through holding securities and lending money; and capital raised by issuing securities and borrowing money. Students will also acquire the ability to identify the tax implications of the most common corporate financing decisions and those corporate investment decisions that relate to shares and other financial instruments.

 

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Tort

Tort is one of the compulsory standard subjects within the Final Honour School syllabus. It also covers material in the “foundations of legal knowledge” and so must be taken by those seeking a professional qualification in England and Wales. The law of tort is mainly concerned with providing compensation for personal injury and damage to property, but also protects other interests, such as reputation, personal freedom, title to property, enjoyment of property, and commercial interests.

The subject is taught in tutorials arranged by your college tutor. Lectures in Michaelmas and Trinity terms cover most, but not all, of the topics on the agreed reading list. Revision lectures on contract and tort take place in Hilary term.

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

Optional for these programmes: Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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Transfer Pricing

Elective


The Transfer Pricing course provides an overview of transfer pricing from both a theoretical and practical perspective using case studies to illustrate the key principles, with a focus on the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations. The course draws from areas such as economics, taxation, law, accounting, management and finance to emphasis the multidisciplinary nature of transfer pricing.

The course includes the following topics:

  • Fundamental Sources
  • The Arm’s Length Principle and Comparability
  • Functional Analysis
  • Transfer Pricing Methods
  • Comparability analyses in practice
  • Intra-group services
  • Financing
  • Intangible property
  • Business restructurings
  • Permanent Establishments
  • Compliance issues
  • Avoiding Double Taxation/Dispute Resolution

The course is taught by Dr Richard Collier, PWC and Dr Glen Loutzenhiser

 

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Transnational Commercial Law

With the growth of international trade has come a growing recognition of the benefits to be obtained through the harmonization of international trade law. Transnational commercial law consists of that set of rules, from whatever source, which governs international commercial transactions and is common to a number of legal systems. Such commonality is increasingly derived from international instruments of various kinds; such as conventions, EC directives and model laws, and from codifications of international trade usage adopted by contract, as exemplified by the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits published by the International Chamber of Commerce and the Model Arbitration Rules issued by the UN Commission on International Trade Law. Underpinning these are the general principles of commercial law (lex mercatoria) to be extracted from uncodified international trade usage, from standard-term contracts formulated by international organisation and from common principles developed by the courts and legislatures of different jurisdictions.

The first part of the course concentrates on the general framework, policies and problems of transnational commercial law, while in the second part these are examined in the context of specific international trade conventions, model laws and contractual codes, so that the student gains a perception of the way transnational law comes into being and helps to bridge the gap between different legal systems.

The course will be taught by Dr Thomas Krebs (convenor) and Professor Stefan Vogenauer. There will be eight lectures in Michaelmas Term. There will then be a weekly two-hour seminar in Hilary Term. There will also be four tutorials. The lectures and seminars will examine the following main areas: General issues of harmonisation; Recurrent problems in harmonisation through conventions; Harmonisation through specific binding instruments (Vienna Sales Convention); Harmonisation through contract and institutional rules; Harmonisation through model laws; The future development of transnational commercial law.

Note. This course is open to a maximum of twenty-four students in any one year. If applications exceed this number, a ballot will be held.

Optional for these programmes: Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), Magister Juris (MJur), MSc in Law and Finance

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Trusts

The institution of the Trust is one of the most important ideas in English law. Its very definition is heavily contested, but most would agree that a trust arises where someone (a trustee) nominally owns property, and may wield many of the powers of ownership, but is generally unable to take advantage of that ownership. Instead the trustee-owner holds the property to the benefit of some other person (known as a beneficiary), a class of persons, or an object such as a charitable purpose bringing benefit to the public. Trusts can arise in two main ways – by intention; or because the law has other reasons to make an owner into a trustee. The purpose of the intentional trust is to transfer wealth in a more complex way than would be easy or possible to achieve by straight-out conveyance, such as to have the property distributed on particular terms and conditions, or to disperse ownership to win tax advantages, or to allow ongoing management of the asset. There are myriad situations in which the law has other reasons to make an owner of property into a trustee; one very important one is where a couple’s home is nominally owned by only one partner, but the other partner deserves a share in it. The course looks at the scenarios in which the different kinds of trusts arise, and at how they behave.

In one respect, the course also looks outside trusts. A trustee is a fiduciary, being someone having a duty to act for another’s benefit through the control of property. But there are other examples of fiduciaries too, such as solicitors, who must act for their clients’ benefit; or agents who can contract on behalf of their principals. The course looks at the law’s control of fiduciaries in general, whether they are trustees or persons otherwise charged with promoting the interests of others.

Trusts is one of the compulsory standard subjects within the Final Honours School syllabus. It also covers material in the “foundations of legal knowledge” and so must be taken by those seeking a professional qualification in England and Wales.

 

Compulsory for these programmes: BA in Jurisprudence, BA in Law with Law Studies in Europe, BA in Jurisprudence with Senior Status

Optional for these programmes: Diploma in Legal Studies, Magister Juris (MJur)

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US International Tax

Elective


The US International Tax course covers the principal features of United States federal income taxation of cross-border activities, including both inbound and outbound transactions, and both corporate and individual taxpayers. The aim is to provide students with a working knowledge of US tax concepts and terminology relevant to international transactions, as well as the main tax issues that arise under US law in respect of cross-border trade and investment. US income tax treaties and administrative practices are also covered, along with an overview of current US international tax policy initiatives in Congress and the Treasury Department.

The course is taught by Professor Stephen E Shay, Harvard Law School and Dr Glen Loutzenhiser

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Value Added Tax

Elective


VAT raises a lot of revenue for the UK government. It is the UK’s main consumption tax and the theory behind it might even be described as elegant. However, the problems on the ground caused by an uncertain tax base, varying rates and the failure to adopt either a universal destination or origin basis, contribute to the problems that the tax causes for HMRC and the taxpayer alike. At the European level, this course explores direct effect, procedural aspects, principles and avoidance. From a UK perspective, the Value Added Tax course considers the nature of supplies (including exempt and zero-rated supplies), consideration and who constitutes a taxable persons.

 In 2016-17, it is anticipated that the course will be taught by Philip Ridgway, Temple Tax Chambers, Dr Glen Loutzenhiser, Michael Ridsdale, Wedlake Bell LLP and Professor Rita de la Feria, Durham University

 

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Taxation

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Victims and Restorative Justice

Prof Carolyn Hoyle

This course will examine the development of victimology and, in particular, the developing role of victims within the criminal process, in the UK and in other jurisdictions. In doing so, it will encourage students to think beyond the rather narrow definition of 'victims' under consideration in the development of victim policy to look at how society responds to victims of atypical crimes and offenders who are, in many respects, victims. One of the main responses to the needs of victims has been restorative justice - a term of unsettled meaning, but seen as encompassing a diverse and developing set of values, processes and aims which share an orientation towards repairing the harm caused by crime and giving a voice to victims. The most well-known restorative processes involve victims and offenders coming face-to-face to discuss the offence, the harm it caused, and how this might be put right. This course considers the role of victims, offenders and communities, integrating theoretical and empirical knowledge and sociological critiques of different restorative approaches. It also tackles such difficult philosophical questions as whether restorative justice can operate satisfactorily when power imbalances between offenders and victims are great, as in cases of domestic or sexual violence or crimes against humanity.

Schedule of Seminars

  1. Identifying the victim
  2. Victims of miscarriages of justice
  3. Experience of victims and offenders with learning disabilities
  4. The participation of victims in the criminal process
  5. Restorative Justice: from philosophy to practice
  6. Victims in post-conflict justice
  7. New challenges for Restorative Justice
  8. A Debate: Can Restorative Justice satisfy victims’ needs and expectations?

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time

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Violence and Civilisation

Dr Jonny Steinberg

The aim of the course is to explore how a major argument in European criminology travels to Africa. In his celebrated book, The Civilizing Process, the German sociologist Nobert Elias argues that contemporary Western societies are less violent, less cruel and more peaceful than at any other time in their history. As a result of the formation of large states, he argues, shame, repugnance and self-inhibition have come to shape human relationships in the West, turning what had always been endemically violent societies into largely peaceable ones.

Sub-Saharan Africa has not experienced state formation on the scale that Europe has. Does this mean that African societies are more prone to violence than Europe is? Or, alternatively, that civilising processes not imagined by Elias are at work? The course thus examines the foundations of violence and peace both in the West and in Africa, in course of asking how well theory travels from one historical context to another. Case studies will include examination of policing in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; inner-city violence in North America; Liberia’s civil war; and urban violence in twentieth-century South Africa.

The seminar topics are:

1. State Formation and the Civilising Process

2. Modern States and Violence

3. Hurricane Katrina and the Civilising Process in New Orleans

4. Violence and Civilisation in Sub-Saharan Africa

5. Urban Violence in Twentieth-Century South Africa (I)

6. The Rwandan Genocide

7. The Liberian Civil War                                                       

8. Urban Violence in Twentieth-Century South Africa (II)

Optional for these programmes: MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice/ MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice Part-time