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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5406M Theories of Social Justice

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Jen Hendry

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces

LAW5400M Theories of Social Justice

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module offers a different and conceptually diverse approach to theories of law and social justice. It provides students with alternative, contested, and subaltern understandings of important legal concepts and approaches, and shifts the perspective away reliance upon the dominant, usually western, forms in order to highlight their lack of objectivity, neutrality and inclusion. By problematising often familiar concepts such as the state, community, the subject, this module exposes students to radically different ways of thinking about the law, legal features, and legal practices. It calls on them to query the extent to which their understandings are informed by traditional European and western conceptions, at the expense of alternatives from the Global South or from Indigenous communities. It further allows for the exploration and critique of concepts often overlooked in discussions of social justice, notably emotions, key technologies, and sustainability. This blend of classic and new provides an exciting balance, and allows for a critical engagement that is both expansive and grounded. Importantly, this module does not just outline instances of social injustice, nor does it provide only abstracted theoretical perspectives. Instead, and drawing on interdisciplinary literature from legal, social, and criminological theory, broadly understood, this module provides and facilitates fresh approaches to longstanding issues of social justice through the provision of valuable critical tools.


On completion of this module, students will be aware of and have a clear understanding of:
- indigenous and critically informed approaches to social justice;
- the ways in which crucial legal mechanisms privilege European colonial ideologies;
- academic criticism of the different theories;
- the debates that have critically analysed the effectiveness of the differing social justice theories.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:

1. Be able to discuss the theoretical models and debates that have shaped colonial and decolonial approaches to social justice;
2. Be able to identify the development of these social justice models;
3. Be able to to critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the different theories;- an awareness of emerging theoretical models and debates.
4. Apply social justice concepts and theories related to social justice, human rights, equality, and activism.
5. Apply ethical reasoning and moral judgement principles in socio-legal contexts.
6. Interdisciplinary Perspective: Integrating knowledge from various disciplines like sociology, politics, and philosophy to understand complex social issues.

Skills Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
1. Critical thinking, demonstrating openness to alternative ideas and have the ability to interrogate sources
2. Academic skills to enable you to source, explain and apply your discipline
3. Be able to evaluate and analyse a range of information to put forward coherent and evidence based arguments
4. Be able to communicate arguments effectively


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours135.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

A formal formative assessment opportunity will be provided, which is specifically pedagogically aligned to the summative assessment task. As part of this, each student will receive individual feedback designed to support the development of knowledge and skills that will be later assessed in the summative assessment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
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: 27/03/2024


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