First Year Law Modules – An overview – OurWarwick

First Year Law Modules – An overview

Yesterday, the annual module fair took place in the Law School and whoa – so many choices!! In your first year, you don’t have to choose any modules though, which I think was great because you don’t have to worry about picking modules before even getting to university, having maybe never heard of the word “tort” before. You will have the chance to pick some of your modules in your penultimate and final year from a wide range of options, once you have a better understanding of the law and which areas you like best. As I personally found it hard to imagine what my first-year modules would entail, I thought I’d give you guys an overview of my experience with them. I also recommend having a look at the module pages on the websitewhere module convenors provide a brief overview of the contents of all available modules.   
  • Criminal Law
This module, as per its name, deals with criminal offences under English law. In the first term, you explore in depth what “actus reus” and “mens rea” mean and you cover the topic of murder and manslaughter in a lot of detail. In the second term, you will deal with non-fatal offences like assault and battery, sexual offences and rape. Much of the context is centred around stature and case law which you do need to be familiar with to successfully support your arguments in problem questions. What I like most about this module though is that the lecturers and seminar tutors really push you to reflect on the current law and how it tackles deep-rooted issues in society. You’re pushed to think about what might need to change and how.   
  • Tort Law
Tort law deals with civil wrongs between individuals. This is where the “suing” someone comes in. The first term focuses on negligence and the different elements of that. In the second term, you will learn about liability for omissions, nuisance, defamation and privacy. Some of it can be quite technical in the sense that there are particular criteria that need to be met to establish liability. This is far from boring or straightforward though as often it is debatable whether or not they are met and that’s the part I really enjoy. It is quite case heavy and you will need to learn quite a few but there is a way to do it. I’m still working on figuring out what works best for me and so will you.   
  • Property Law 
This module covers issues related to land. I found the first term quite difficult as it was rather theoretical and dealt with concepts that I struggled to wrap my head around. The second term deals with more tangible areas of such as co-ownership, leases, mortgages and easements. These are areas of the law, unlike criminal and tort you are most likely to encounter in your personal life, starting in your second year when you rent a house. Things come together in the second term so, if like me, you felt completely lost up until Christmas, don’t worry!   
  • The Modern English Legal System 
This module, also known as MELS among law students is a peculiar one. It is very different to all the other ones you will study in that it does not necessarily relate to a specific area of the law (like criminal or tort) but addresses the system more broadly. You will be introduced to the court system, the hierarchy within it and understand what Parliamentary sovereignty means. Topics like Brexit and human rights are covered and you are given an introduction to the European Union. Because you are only introduced to the topics, I sometimes felt as though I was only scratching the surface and wasn’t sure how much detail I needed to know. I decided to focus my revision on the material covered in lectures and seminars and learn as much as possible from the textbook (which is quite small and to the point). The exam in January went very well so I would definitely recommend targeted revision!   
  • Legal Theory
This 15 CATS module runs in the second term and is also a bit different. There is no set textbook and no real set knowledge you need to learn. The module is assessed through a 3000-word essay, on a question of your choosing from a set list. This means you get the chance to explore the topic you liked best in more detail and don’t have to worry too much about the ones you didn’t like as much, which I think is really nice.   
  • The French Legal System and Methodology
Finally, as I am on a four-year Law with French Law course, I take an additional module that straight Law students don’t. The point of this module is to give you a basic understanding of the French legal system, which will be of use during your year in France. It will be assumed that students know the basics so this will prepare you well. There is no assessment on the content itself but you have to give a presentation on a French legal issue of your choice followed by an essay on the same topic,  drafted following the French academic essay format. Again, this will be very useful practice for the year in France.    I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or would like to know more about any of these modules, I would be more than happy to answer those! 


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