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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5401M Inequalities, Law and Justice

30 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Mitchell Travis

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module introduces and interrogates key legal issues that govern institutional, national and global inequalities. These three levels of legal scale allow for a deeper analysis of the range and magnitude of inequalities and the ways in which law, policy and the state perpetuate them. First of all, the module will consider the ways in which the state maintain inequalities through law and policy, in part this will consider how neoliberal ideology justifies a non-interventionist state. Secondly, the module will consider the ways in which inequalities can be produced at an institutional level. These inequalities are not caused by the state but by particular institutions such as healthcare, law and the criminal justice system. Finally, the module considers global inequalities, this section considers the ways in which legal conventions historically rooted in colonialism continue to ensure the movement of capital from the global south to the global north.


On completion of this module, students will be able:
- to understand where inequality comes from and how it is perpetuated through law;
- to understand the different legal scales at which inequality exists. In particular its institutional, national and global contexts;
- to understand how law interacts with other institutions to produce inequality;
- to explore new directions in law, criminal justice, policy and academia that attempt to alleviate these inequalities.

Learning outcomes
At the end of this module, a student should have:
- a sound understanding of the nature and perpetuation of inequality at the institutional, domestic and international levels;
- a sound understanding of the development of inequalities;
- an ability to critically analyse current legal and political approaches to tackling inequalities;
- an awareness of emerging theoretical models and debates.


The module is taught through a series of 2 hour structured and interactive seminars. The first seminar introduces the module objectives, content and expectations and a general overview of inequalities. The remaining seminars will focus on a range of issues, which are likely to draw on the following topics:

Recognising Inequality – What do we mean when we talk about inequality?

Where does inequality come from? Challenging the notion that all inequalities are natural and inevitable. This section will introduce four legal theorists that challenge this:
- The social model
- Nancy Fraser
- Wendy Brown
- Martha Fineman

Inequalities produced by the state. Some inequalities are caused by or perpetuated by the state through law and policy. This may cover:
- Access to Legal Representation
- Refugee Law
- Consumer Credit Relations
- Poverty and Epigenetic Inequality
- The Governance of Non-human Animals

Inequalities produced by institutions. Some institutions are the cause of, or perpetuate inequalities. This may cover:
- Criminal Justice
- The Judiciary
- The Legal Profession
- Healthcare
- Social Care
- Religion

Global inequalities produced by state relations. This may cover:
- Wealth distribution between the global north and global south
- Health inequalities between the global north and global south
- Food distribution between the global north and global south
- Indigenous issues (sovereignty)
- Environment/Climate Change

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours276.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress will be monitored through small group discussion.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 4,000-word essay70.00
Critique1 x 2,000-word critical article review30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:29:05


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