LLAW6267 Courts

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6267 / JDOC6267
Course name: Courts
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: First
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits
Cap on student numbers: 20

1.2 Course description

This course takes an interdisciplinary, comparative, and empirical perspective on politically relevant questions concerning the design and operation of courts. Potential topics include the manner in which social scientists study courts; the nature and basis of judicial power; the practical effects of judicial review; the different ways in which a system of judicial review can be designed; the role of courts in nondemocratic environments; the challenges of defining and achieving judicial independence; and the dynamics by which courts expand into the domain of politics. Students should be prepared for copious reading assignments commensurate with a graduate-level course in the social sciences and consisting primarily of academic scholarship rather than cases. The readings are intended to introduce participants to the major debates and empirical arguments found in the scholarly literature on courts. The course will be conducted as a true graduate seminar, meaning that class time will consist primarily of collective critical discussion of the readings rather than passive absorption of the instructor’s views. Each week, students will be required not only to demonstrate knowledge of what is in the readings, but also to offer their own evaluation and critique of the empirical arguments found in the readings and to articulate arguments of their own. The expectation is that students will engage in critical and original thinking and become active participants in the scholarly debate rather than passive consumers of scholarship produced by others.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor David Law dslaw@hku.hk CCT-3.06 By email

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Describe and explain the interaction between courts and their political environment, including the dynamics that lead powerful political actors to yield to courts.

CLO 2 Explain and contrast the role of courts in both democratic and nondemocratic environments.

CLO 3 Apply social science theories of strategic behavior to explain judicial behavior.

CLO 4 Demonstrate an understanding of why normative concepts such as “judicial independence” are stubbornly difficult to define and/or implement.

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

PLO A On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the body of legal knowledge and the capacity to conduct research on, critically analyse and evaluate legal principles, at a level required to meet the standards and expectations of the legal profession and the community at large.

PLO B On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply their legal knowledge and research skills to practical situations or theoretical challenges, and utilise their comparative understanding of the law and its political, social and cultural contexts to provide original and creative insights to legal problems.

PLO C On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply the knowledge, lawyering skills and legal reasoning to real and novel situations in life, with a view to resolving issues, problems and disputes within the legal parameters.

PLO D On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to present effectively legal arguments in the professional context, as well as conveying and explaining the law effectively to lay clients and members of the larger community.

PLO E On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to appreciate the underlying moral values of the law and ethics in the profession and the legal system in the broad social, economic, political and cultural contexts: justice, the Rule of Law, and protection of rights and liberties which form the fabrics of a civilised society, and the importance of upholding these values by the legal community.

PLO F On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to develop a strong awareness of social issues and conditions, and utilise analytical abilities and rhetorical advocacy to provide leadership for the betterment of the human community.

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course

CLO 1  ✓
CLO 2  ✓
CLO 3  ✓
CLO 4  ✓

3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Participation (including weekly papers & oral reports) TBC 25% 1, 2, 3, 4
Final paper 5 Dec 2020 75% 1, 2, 3, 4
  *Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/grading-criteria/


4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by the convenor(s).

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/

By the publication of the course profile online, the Faculty deems the student as having been notified of the course requirements.