Law (2014 entry)

LLB (Hons), 3 years, UCAS: M100
Typical A level offer: AAA-AAB

Subject overview

Why law?

Studying law develops your skills of analysis, argument and persuasion. These will equip you for a variety of careers after graduation. As part of your studies, you will consider how the law regulates the relationship between the individual and the state and how it responds to dealings between individuals and groups. You will engage with the very organisation of society and, through the lens of law, you will examine all its constituent elements: commercial, social, political and economic relationships, families and associations, individuals and governments, countries and international organisations. Your imagination will be stretched, and you’ll have an enormous amount of fun.

Why law at Sussex?

In the 2014 National Student Survey (NSS), our students rated law at Sussex 6th for satisfaction with teaching and 8th for overall satisfaction among comparable UK institutions. 

Law at Sussex was rated 16th in the UK for research in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). 100 per cent of our research was rated as recognised internationally or higher, and over half rated as internationally excellent or higher.

The Sussex Law School enables you to study law in an interdisciplinary context. You can choose from a range of courses.

The Sussex Law School is a thriving law community with students from around the world.

All our degrees are qualifying law degrees and provide excellent transferable skills that enable law students to go on to a wide variety of professional posts. 

You will be taught by enthusiastic and research-active faculty, committed to research and teaching excellence in a supportive learning environment. 

We have good teaching and research links with many other disciplines including American studies, international relations and politics.

You will become part of our successful, expanding, friendly Law School, where law is taught in its social, political and economic context.

The Sussex Law School has excellent extracurricular activities including mooting, client interviewing and negotiating competitions. Our Student Law Society is active in arranging social and educational events and has won student society awards. 

Course content

The study of law encompasses a broad variety of human experience and contexts. We want you to know what the law is likely to be in any given case, but also why the law has developed in the way it has. In addition, we ask you to think about how the law might or should change in the future. We want you to grapple with the problems that human beings face each day and to reflect not only on how law reacts to these problems, but also to think about whether it should react differently. Law at Sussex is a stimulating subject to study and, whether or not you intend to become a legal practitioner, we think you will enjoy and benefit from our approach. 

In addition to law core modules, you choose from options that explore the legal principles relevant to human behaviour and activity. Refer to the core content, below. 

This course gives you the option of studying abroad in Year 3 as part of a four-year degree. You may be able to spend your year abroad studying law in English at universities in countries such as Australia, Estonia, France, Sweden, Taiwan, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. 

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2014 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules tab.

Core content

Year 1

You take English Legal System/Justice, Equality and Society • Public Law/Canadian Constitutional Law • The Law of Contract • The Law of Tort.

Year 2

You take Criminal Law • Equity and Trusts • Land Law • Law and Policy of the European Union.

Year 3

You choose four options.

How will I learn?

You will experience several different teaching methods, for example large-group lectures as well as small-group seminars. Within these smaller groups you learn by presentation, discussion, debate and role-play.

You will be tested through a variety of assessment methods: unseen and open-book exams, essays, dissertations, projects and coursework.

For more information, visit Studying at Sussex.

What will I achieve?

  • familiarity with the institutions and procedures of the English legal system and of the EU
  • knowledge of the concepts, principles, values and rules of English law and the ability to draw on the fundamental principles to undertake in-depth study of specialist areas
  • awareness of the context within which law operates and an ability to demonstrate insights gained through the study of other disciplines related to law
  • appreciation of the relationship between law and society
  • the skills to identify the issues of legal relevance and apply your legal knowledge to provide a solution that carries the authority of established legal principle
  • the ability to conduct independent legal research to locate relevant materials, both printed and electronic
  • in analysing the law, knowledge of how judges reason and how statutes are to be interpreted; the ability to handle ideas embedded in complex legal doctrine; and familiarity with legal concepts
  • the ability to bring together material from legal and non-legal sources, and to apply it to illustrate and illuminate legal theory and factual problems
  • the ability to reflect critically on the law, to appreciate where the current law is in need of reform, and to draft proposals for appropriate change
  • the ability to work independently and on your own initiative, seeking appropriate assistance and appreciating the value of constructive criticism
  • the ability to discuss points of law, present an argument for one side in a dispute, support this with legal authority, employ legal terminology correctly and respond effectively to contrary views
  • the power to present clear, concise and accurate written arguments
  • the opportunity to gain experience and develop skills in teamworking.

Back to module list

English Legal System

15 credits
Autumn teaching, Year 1

This module covers use of the library and electronic resources, and reading cases, statutes and academic literature. You will learn how to produce fully-referenced academic work provide you with the necessary skills to help you study law. You will learn about the doctrine of judicial precedent and the principles involved in drafting and interpreting legislation. This module gives you the opportunity to specialise as well as to consider the English legal system in a broad context, by critically examining its structures, process and personnel.

Justice, Equality and Society

15 credits
Spring teaching, Year 1

In this module, special attention is given to justice, equality and rights. You are introduced to theory which is then explored through a number of case studies focusing in particular on the development of non-discrimination and equality law in the English Legal System. The module will encourage you to think about contemporary issues from the perspectives of justice, equality and rights.

Law of Contract

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 1

This module explores the legal rules and principles related to the formation, enforcement and vitiation of contractual promises. In particular you will consider ideas of offer and acceptance. You will study the legal doctrine of consideration and the equitable doctrine of promissory estoppel. You will consider rights of enforceability under the doctrine of privity and then go on to consider the classification and substance of particular terms in a contract, eg implied terms or exemption clauses. The module goes on to look at factors that may vitiate or void agreement such as misrepresentation, mistake, frusration, duress and undue influence.

Law of Tort

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 1

In broad terms, the Law of tort is the area of civil law primarily concerned with providing a remedy to persons who have been wrongfully harmed by the conduct of others. This module explores a number of the most important areas of tort law, for example, negligence, nuisance, trespass to the person, liability for dangerous premises, liability for psychiatric harm and employers' liability. The module will consider these and other areas as they are approached by the courts in England and Wales, to some extent the approach of other legal jurisdictions and also the social and political context of tort law.

Public Law I: Constitutional and Administrative Law

15 credits
Autumn teaching, Year 1

The module will consider the nature and structure of the British constitution. It will address some of the core theoretical principles of the constitution and examine how those principles are applied in the institutional arrangements of government in the UK. The relationship between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government will be considered and the allocation of power between them will be analysed in terms of both constitutional theory and political practice. The module will also consider the extent to which state power is subject to control and restraint. We will examine the mechanisms used to control the exercises of state power will be examined, the principles of Judicial Review, as well as some alternative mechanisms for holding the institutions of the state to account.

Canadian Constitutional Law

15 credits
Spring teaching, Year 1

The distinctive nature and history of the Canadian state and Canadian constitutional arrangements make it an interesting study in its own right and a useful comparator at a time of growing discussion and interest in the field of constitutionalism. The Canadian model with its Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides a source of influence and inspiration to the UK and other Commonwealth countries and is frequently used as a comparator particularly because of the multi-faceted nature of the Canadian state and the commitment of the Canadian Constitution to multi-culturalism. Canadian constitutional law is examined in comparative perspective.

This module introduces you to the history, structures, sources and nature of the Canadian Constitution. In particular the module examines the distinctive history of the Canadian constitutional arrangements and the development of a rich Canadian constitutional literature, which has made a major contribution to discussions of constitutionalism and difference. The context of multi-national Canadian democracy provides a particularly interesting case study for an examination of Constitutional contestation and the module examines how this context has influenced the structure of the Canadian state, including Canadian federalism, constitutional change in Canada and the adjudication of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982 through the courts.

Public Law II: Power, the Individual and the State

15 credits
Spring teaching, Year 1

The module builds upon Public Law I to develop a deeper understanding of the British constitution and of constitutional law more generally. Drawing upon legal, political and social theory the module examines the theoretical principles of constitutions focussing upon the operation and distribution of power within the state and its impact upon the lives of groups and individuals. Both theories and historical accounts of legitimacy, democracy and human rights will be examined and their operation in contemporary legal and political practice will be considered.

Criminal Law

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 2

This module encompasses the elements of a crime; actus reus and mens rea; negligence and strict liability; the criminal liability of corporations and children; defences; accomplices; homicide; non-fatal offences against the person; sexual offences; theft and other property offences; damage to property; and inchoate offences. This module places the law within the framework of the Human Rights Act 1998. Some aspects of criminal law theory such as theories of punishment, why conduct should be criminalised, and issues of procedure and evidence that are relevant to the substantive law are covered.

Equity and Trusts

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 2

This module consists of two related parts: key principles and concepts of equity and equitable remedies; and the institution of the trust. The module aims to set Equity and Trusts in its social, economic and political contexts. You will consider the historical development of equity and the use of particular equitable remedies. We will look at the institution of the trust, it's formation and constitution, moving on to regard the idea of beneficial ownership. The nature of private and public purpose trusts and implied trusts is considered. Further, we look at the duties, responsibilities and rights of the personnel involved in a trust relationship; finally moving on to look at the liability for strangers to a trust. Within this framework, the basic principles and theoretical underpinnings of the subject will be analysed.

Land Law

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 2

This module explores the legal rules determining what it means to own land and/or other rights that relate to land. Specific topics may include: the doctrines of estates and tenure; the meaning of land (fixtures); and the distinction between personal and property rights; the role of equity and the trust and the doctrine of proprietary estoppel; the contractual formalities for buying an interest or estate in land; acquiring ownership rights, including the rules of adverse possession; unregistered and registered title; mortgages; leases (and licences); co-ownership; trusts of land; freehold covenants; and easements.

Law and Policy of the European Union

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 2

This module examines the law and policy of the EU with an emphasis on the role of law as a tool of European integration. The first part of the module concentrates on a detailed study of the constitutional principles and values of the EU as expressed in the treaties and case law of the Court of Justice. The second half of the module addresses substantive law, particularly in relation to the single market (in persons, goods and services) and non-maret issues such as citizenship of the EU and protection of fundamental rights.

Commercial Law

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

One of the most powerful influences on human activity is the driving force of trade. Commercial law is primarily concerned with the rights and duties arising from the supply of goods and services by way of trade. This module adopts the specific-contract approach to the subject and focuses on the paradigm commercial transaction – the sale and supply of goods by one merchant to another.

Company Law

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to company law: an outline of the new statute: Companies Act 2006; the inter-relationship between statute and the common law; the role of the European Company Law Harmonisation Programme; Company Law in context, theory and history.
  • Legal personality and limited liability: different categories of companies (the private/public divide); the rule in Salomon's case and lifting the veil of incorporation.
  • The promotion of companies: the role of the Stock Exchange and investor protection; the role, duties and liabilities of the promoter; pre-incorporation contracts.
  • The relationship between the company and the outside world: the objects of the company and the rise and fall of the ultra vires rule; the nullity principle; the internal operations of the company and their effect on third parties; principles of agency/vicarious liability, corporate crimes and criminal liability.
  • The internal relations within the company: shareholders inter se; inter-relationship between the company's constitution and the Companies Act; alteration of the constitution; different classes of shares; preference shares and the alteration of their rights; the company and its employees; the stakeholder debate.
  • The role of corporate governance in company life: the regulatory framework for companies; self-regulation by business and Government intervention; the work of the CG committees, a definition of CG and Corporate Social Responsibility;
  • The management of the company: composition of the board of directors; formalities of management; division of functions between the company's organs.
  • The qualification of directors: different kinds of directors (non-executive/executive; nominee; shadow; de facto); how are directors qualified?; the disqualification framework..
  • Directors' duties and their enforcement: the new statutory statement of duties; to whom are the duties owed?; the rule in Foss v. Harbottle; derivative and representative actions.
  • Protection of minority shareholders: just and equitable winding up; the action for unfair prejudice.

Competition Law of the European Union

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

The module examines the detailed rules of competition law and policy in the EU. You cover the law relating to cartels, abuses of dominant position, mergers, enforcement, state aid and the application of competition law to public services and undertakings entrusted with services of general economic interest.


30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

The first part of the module considers the development of explanations for criminal offending, looking at the classical and positivist schools of criminology as well as sociological, psychological and behaviouralist approaches. It concludes by examining the more radical alternatives offered by neo-Marxist and feminist criminologists, the so called ‘Left Realists’ and contemporary criminology. The second part looks at the more practical dimensions of criminal justice, dealing with crime statistics and victim surveys; victims in the criminal justice system; punishment, rehabilitation and compensation; diversion of offenders; sentencing and penal policy; imprisonment and prison regimes; and non-custodial and community sentences.


30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

This module involves you researching and writing a 10,000 word dissertation on a subject of your choice. Having chosen your research topic in consultation with a supervisor, you work under the guidance of your supervisor for the duration of the academic year. The teaching component of the module takes place during the first teaching block only and is seminar-based. The seminars are designed to equip you with the research skills required to complete your dissertations. The topics covered include: research methodology, writing up, advanced word processing, and researching online. You submit a 2,000 word research proposal to your supervisor during the first term and receive feedback on this. You also present your research proposals to the tutor and the other students at one of the seminars towards the end of the first term. The module seeks to develop the skills of independent research and learning; good time management; the ability to reflect upon progress; and an appreciation of the value of constructive criticism.

Employment Law

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

Employment law is one of the fastest growing areas of law and practice: the volume of both case law and legislation is considerable. The election of a different political party to government inevitably brings new employment legislation in its wake and the current coalition government which seeks to reconcile rather different aspirations is producing fairly radical proposals for change. It is against this backdrop that the module seeks to examine and explore both the individual contract of employment and the tripartite relationship involving employers, employees and trade unions. You look at the dramatic changes in working arrangements (such as the growing participation and influence of women in the workforce coupled with the very varied patterns of work (such as part-time/casuals/agency/flexible working),the employee/self-employed distinction, the employment contract and its sources with particular reference to implied terms such as mutual trust and confidence and also the controversial expansion of employers' liability to encompass psychiatric harm caused by stress at work. Protection of wages and limitations on working hours, together with 'family-friendly' entitlements covering maternity, paternity, adoptive and parental issues, are also examined. Topics of current interest which also now feature in the module are 'whistleblowing', restraint of trade covenants and references. Thereafter, the module addresses termination of employment, in particular wrongful and unfair dismissal, redundancy and transfers. Last but certainly not least the important and expanding subject of discrimination and equality law is examined in some detail, including sex, religion or belief, race, disability and age. We also examine equal pay issues in this section of the module. Overall, the aim is to make the module informative, relevant and stimulating by combining the academic aspects of employment law with an appreciation of current developments and proposals in this dynamic area of law which affects all our lives. To keep you abreast of the latest developments, particularly in relation to the most substantial second term topic of discrimination and equality law, separate handbooks are issued at the start of each main teaching term.

Environmental Law 1

15 credits
Autumn teaching, Year 3

Can law protect the environment? This module introduces you to the role of law in decision-making processes which affect environmental quality and the use and conservation of natural resources. You will gain an understanding of the role of law at national, EU and international levels. You also look at what makes environmental problems distinctive and key issues such as how can we set legal standards for the environment? Can we tell industry or individuals what to do or should we incentivise behaviour by using economic tools or by disclosing information? Should we criminalise environmentally harmful behaviour or should we try to work with polluters to clean up and prevent problems in the future? What rights do we or future generations, or perhaps even the environment itself, have in relation to the environment? How far should we make those responsible for environmental harm pay for this? What role should the courts play in the development of environmental law?

Environmental Law 2

15 credits
Spring teaching, Year 3

If you have completed Environmentak Law 1 this module will allow you to further develop your critical appreciation of environmental law by looking at specific topic areas. These areas will enable you to appreciate and critique how the law operates in relation to specific areas such as governing climate change, regulating polluting processes and levels of environmental quality of air and water, controlling harmful development, conserving biodiversity and ecosystems and securing access to environmental justice, as well as cross-cutting issues about how the law regulates environmental behaviour. Assessment by portfolio allows you to develop your research skills and relate your study to topical, real-world examples.

Family Law

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

This module introduces you to the most important rules of family law. But it does more than just outline the rules on marriage and divorce, parental status and parental responsibility, child protection, domestic violence, contact and residence disputes, etc. It also considers the application of those rules in the social and political context that frames them. The module requires you to think about the nature of the family in it broadest sense (to include married and unmarried partners in adult relationships, and the great variety of ways in which adults raise and care for children) and to consider the appropriateness of the rules that govern the family in law. You will also be required to reflect on the place of law in the regulation of family life. The module will, for that reason, be both theoretical and extremely practical; and it will be both thoroughly legal (in a black letter sense) and a little sociological.

Global Business Law and Regulation

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

This module is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in the City or in an international business envionment. It presents a comprehensive discussion of cutting edge issues arising from the global financial crisis. The module develops an interdisciplinary understanding of the global context in which financial regulatory frameworks seek to operate. The interplay of the above theoretical and policy issues in domestic and international capital markets builds a solid foundation to explain how modern corporate and securities laws are shaped and how they have been evolved in judicial practices involving such law.

Hate Crime and the Law

15 credits
Autumn teaching, Year 3

Healthcare Law and Ethics

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

This module introduces you to a number of key contemporary issues and debates within the field of health care law and policy. As well as gaining knowledge of the subject's substantive legal rules, you will acquire an understanding of the main ethical principles underlying these. The module is also designed to create an awareness of the historical development of health care law and policy and of how their contemporary nature is influenced by wider political and economic transformations at the national, EU and global levels.

Human Rights

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

Human rights has become part of the contemporary political discourse, so much so that we generally take for granted that we know what the concept covers. Today almost everyone around the globe is acquainted with the idea of human rights. We often hear about 'human rights', especially in the media. This module covers both domestic and international human rights systems as well as theoretical critiques of human rights (eg by cultural relativists and feminists). It also looks at contemporary human rights issues and some of the current challenges facing the human rights community.

Intellectual Property Law

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

The module covers aspects of the law of copyright, unregistered and registered trade marks, confidential information and patents. The module aims to introduce you to the principles of intellectual property law and its philosophical and economic justifications, but it will also encourage in-depth analysis of particular issues in the law and policy of intellectual property, such as internet 'piracy' and access to medicines in developing countries. The focus of the module will be on UK law and policy, however reference will be made to EU and international law where relevant.

International Business Transactions

15 credits
Spring teaching, Year 3

This module focuses on the international sale of goods transported by land, sea and air. Due to time constraints, this module only deals with carriage by sea. We will consider the main trade terms used in international sales contracts (common law and INCOTERMS), the essential elements of contracts of carriage of goods by sea, cargo insurance and key aspects of the financing of international sales transactions (mainly UCP 600).

International Litigation

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

The module examines particularly the law and practice of the International Court of Justice. Other tribunals that will be covered include ICSID (International Centre for Settlement of International Disputes), the WTO, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and the Iran-US Claims Tribunal. On this module you may also be offered the opportunity to take part in an international law mooting competition.

Note: Students who participate in the moot are assessed by unseen examination and memorial; students who do not participate in the mooting competition are assessed by unseen examination and essay.

Internet Law and Regulation

15 credits
Spring teaching, Year 3

This 15-credit module will introduce you over the term to the legal issues raised by the internet. The module will begin with a discussion of the various schools of thought about the application of law to the internet. It will also familiarise you with the history of communications legislation in the United Kingdom, as well as essential case law. You will be made familiar with the dual role of communications network users as both consumers and citizens and the economic and human rights arguments pertinent to each category. This will prepare you for later discussion of the case law and legislation of the European Union and the Council of Europe, as well as comparative analysis of US legislation and case law. The relevant domestic, European and international laws will be scrutinised so that you will gain an understanding of the major regulatory regimes applicable to the internet.

Law and Development

15 credits
Spring teaching, Year 3

This module will cover the role of law and the legal system in human 'development' in 'developing' countries. We will explore how the law can affect the 'development' of a country and how the mode of development affects legal change. You will first engage with a critical understanding of the history and theory of law and development and engage with post-colonial crirtiques of law. The module will then examine specific topics including access to justice; human rights in the development process; governance, democracy, and development; technical legal assistance; and foreign direct investment.

Law and the Creative Industries

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

This module begins with an overview of the creative industries before looking at the regulatory framework thereof. It will then focus on the the music, film and fashion industries and consider legal issues and the relevant markets. 

In relation to music consideration will be given to the process of music creation and the players involved (eg songwriters, publishers, performers, producers, managers, etc); copyright and trade mark issues; contractual aspects; collective administration of music rights as a tool to creative efforts by individuals; and online exploitation of music and changing business models. For films the focus will be on the process of creation, production and distribution of a film; film financing; copyright and trade mark aspects; contractual issues; trade representatives for film actors in different jurisdictions. In relation to fashion consideration will be given to haute couture and prêt-à-porter such as creation, production and distribution of a collection; innovation in shapes, colours and textiles; copyright, design and trademark aspects; economic considerations concerning knock-offs, look-alikes and excellent fakes. For the gaming industry studies will revolve around key players in the industry, a case study of who administers interactive platforms and virtual worlds and intellectual and contractual issues in the video games industry. 

The module will also examine personality and privacy rights relating to the economic value of one's image (eg celebrities); commercialisation of a person's image through intellectual property, contracts and tort and human rights aspects. The module will conclude with an examination of current issues concerning the online environment including administration of content in the online environment and the online infrastructure.

Legal Theory

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

This module will examine theoretical approaches to law and legal discourse. After an initial grounding in the history, relevance and contemporary significance of jurisprudence and legal theory the module will explore in more detail doctrinal and philosopical approaches to the law, as well as more critical approaches such as feminism, socio-legal approaches, law and economics, law and literature and law and anthropology. Particular theories will be considered in relation to relevant substantive areas of law. You will be given the opportunity to consider recent legal judgements from a critical perspective. Ultimately you will be asked to consider whether the way in which the law works is appropriate for contemporary issues in modern society.

Media Law and Regulation

15 credits
Autumn teaching, Year 3

Principles of Islamic Law

15 credits
Autumn teaching, Year 3

Islamic law is based on the Quran, the practice of the Prophet Muhammad and the writings of Muslim scholars and jurists making it one of the oldest and most significant systems of law in the contemporary age. Understanding Islamic law is crucial not only for Muslims, but for non-Muslims who work with Muslims in legal contexts as well as for anyone wanting to understand the role of Islam in the world today. 

This module will provide a critical overview of the history and practice of Islamic law. We will examine the basic concepts of Islamic law, its classification and the development of the classical schools of jurisprudence. We will then consider the place of Islamic Law in the modern state and government. Placing Islamic law in the present context this module will investigate the purposes, methodologies and processes of Islamic jurisprudence.

Professional Negligence

15 credits
Autumn teaching, Year 3

Professional negligence and liability is a well established specialist area of academic legal study as well as an important specialism within legal practice. The range of solicitors' firms and barristers' chambers that offer specialist professional negligence services is extensive. Some focus upon claimant based actions against, for example, architects, accountants, doctors, lawyers and surveyors while others focus upon defence work. Large City of London and similar practices will often specialise in bringing or defending complex commercially focussed professional negligence claims (eg the largest claims against firms of solicitors or accountants can run to hundreds of millions of pounds). Consideration will also be given to professional protections and the history of professional immunities. 

This moduleenables you to consider and debate key areas of professional negligence and liability focussing predominantly on the position in England and Wales but also making international comparisons where appropriate. The module will consider the common law, statutory and other regulatory aspects of professional control and liability. In essence, the module will seek to address the question, 'how are professionals controlled and what avenues of redress are available for the wrongs they commit?'

Public International Law

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

Public International Law governs the relations between states. Increasingly, during the 20th and early 21st centuries it has also come to regulate the activity of individuals and organisations. This module aims to provide a grounding in the basic concepts and general principles of international law. You will be encouraged to examine the legal basis of international law, the sources of the law and the relationship between international law and national law. The module will also examine recent developments and matters of controversy in international law and will introduce you to interdisciplinary aspects of the study of international law.

Short Dissertation A

15 credits
Autumn teaching, Year 3

The dissertation module involves researching and writing a 5,000-word dissertation on a subject of you choice. Having chosen your research topic in consultation with a supervisor, you will work under the guidance of your supervisor for teaching block 1. The teaching component is seminar based. The seminars are designed to equip you with the research skills required to complete your dissertation. The topics covered include: research methodology, writing up, advanced word processing and researching online. You submit a 2,000-word research proposal to your supervisor and receive feedback on this. You also present your research proposals to the tutor and the other students at one of the seminars towards the end of the first term. The module seeks to develop the skills of independent research and learning; good time management; the ability to reflect upon progress; and an appreciation of the value of constructive criticism.

You cannot undertake both Short Dissertation A and B and this module cannot be taken if you are completing the 30-credit dissertation module.

Short Dissertation B

15 credits
Spring teaching, Year 3

The dissertation module involves researching and writing a 5,000-word dissertation on a subject of your choice. Having chosen your research topic in consultation with a supervisor, you will work under the guidance of your supervisor for teaching block 2. The teaching component is seminar based. The seminars are designed to equip you with the research skills required to complete your dissertation. The topics covered include research methodology, writing up, advanced word processing and researching online. You will submit a 2,000-word research proposal to your supervisor and receive feedback on this. You also present your research proposals to the tutor and the other students at one of the seminars. The module seeks to develop the skills of independent research and learning; good time management; the ability to reflect upon progress; and an appreciation of the value of constructive criticism.

You cannot undertake both Short Dissertation A and B and this module cannot be taken if you are completing the 30-credit dissertation module.

Sociology of Law

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

The first part of the module introduces you to a variety of historical and contemporary sociological perspectives on law. Taking the theme of the relationship between law and modernity as its point of departure, this part begins with a consideration of some of the key works of the founders of the sociology of law. Thereafter, you are introduced to contemporary literature in both sociology and law that analyses the nature of some important changes in contemporary Western societies (including in politics and the economy) and how these developments may be affecting traditional understandings of the nature and function of law and regulation.

The second part of the module is designed to enable you to think through the ideas and theories explored in part one in the context of a particular institution the welfare state. The types of question that will interest us here include the following: how has the way in which states provide for the social protection of their citizens altered over time? What role has law played in this? What is 'social law', and how (and why) might its nature have changed in the light of recent developments in the welfare state? What can contemporary social policy reveal about the relationship between the citizen and the state? What is the relationship between law, the welfare state, and the economy today? We will think through possible answers to these questions via a consideration of some examples from the field of social policy for instance, health care, unemployment, and social housing.

The Ethics and Conduct of Lawyers

15 credits
Spring teaching, Year 3

The role and nature of lawyers' ethics, conduct and regulation continues to be a contentious topic of discussion amongst academics and practitioner groups. The place it should occupy within the undergraduate law syllabus as a component of the future education of lawyers also remains topical. More broadly, professional regulation may be seen as a significant element of modern government and public policy. From those who would categorise the term 'lawyers' ethics' as an oxymoron, playing little or no part in the day-to-day practice of the lawyer as hired gun, to those who place an ethical legal profession at the heart of democratic liberal values, this is a subject area that warrants close academic scrutiny.

The overarching objective of the module will be to deliver a grounding in the theory and practice of lawyers' ethics, conduct and regulation. The focus will primarily be on England and Wales with some comparative examples as appropriate. The module will be relevant whether you are considering a career practising law or you have a more general academic interest in this field.

Module content will draw from key debates and so may vary from year to year but core elements will remain. Notably the ideals of legal professionalism; professional organisation; professional power and culture; historical and current considerations of professional education, ethics, governance, regulation, discipline and dispute resolution, all as applied to the legal professions. Specific issues will also play a role, for example, diligence and confidentiality in relation to client matters and wider professional obligations to third parties and society as a whole. Where relevant theoretical insights will be drawn from philosophy, the sociology of the legal profession and regulatory theory.

The Law of Evidence

30 credits
Autumn & spring teaching, Year 3

This module is a study of the law of evidence in England and Wales but we also take the opportunity to examine and assess selected developments in other common law jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada and the USA. An outline of the history and development of evidence law puts into context the significance of key principles as developed very largely by case-law and, increasingly, now to be found in statutory provisions. From the last quarter of the 20th century to the present day we examine and assess the significant impact that issues such as re-balancing the interests of victims as against those of defendants plus the rapid development of anti-terrorist legislation aimed at protecting society are having on the fundamental principles of presumption of innocence, burden of proof and right of silence.

The overall objective of a fair trial is considered in both domestic and ECtHR jurisprudence. We also explore the impact of changes over the same period on the worrying prevalence of miscarriages of justice in areas such as confession evidence and eyewitness identification. The two major exclusionary rules of evidence - bad character and hearsay - are examined in some depth in the latter part of the module and we also address important issues relating to witnesses, such as competence, compellability, special measures for vulnerable or intimidated witnesses and the very vexed question of sexual history evidence. To ensure particularly that the rapidly developing law on bad character and hearsay is as up-to-date as possible, separate handbooks are issued at the start of each main teaching term.

Back to module list

The University is expanding the range of opportunities it offers to undertake placements as part of your studies. Placements provide you with the opportunity to gain new perspectives, experience and skills that employers are looking for. 

Voluntary placements 

Some subject areas offer you an opportunity to choose to undertake a placement (for one full year) that you can apply for once you have started your course here. Normally, full-year placements occur between the second and final year of a course. It is University policy that students on a year-long placement (usually 40 weeks) should normally receive payment for their work. For voluntary placements, the University organises and manages the process through which students apply for and undertake placements. To support you, our Careers and Employability Centre runs an eight-week Placement Preparation Programme

Research placements 

Some courses in the sciences – such as the MChem in Chemistry (research placement), the MPhys in Physics (research placement) or the MSci in Zoology (research placement) – offer research placements for high-performing students, where you spend the summer vacations throughout your studies working in research groups at Sussex, giving you the opportunity to get involved in research from the very start of your studies. You receive a stipend to cover living expenses during your summer vacation placement each year. 

Integrated placements 

Some subject areas require you to take a professional/industrial placement as an integrated and pre-defined part of a course. Normally, full-year placements occur between the second and final year of a course. Other subject areas offer opportunities for students to gain work experience, focused on a particular topic, as part of some taught modules. 

Key facts

  • enhance your employability: more than 80 per cent of employers surveyed said they actively sought graduates who had studied abroad (QS Global Employer Survey Report 2011)
  • one of the best-supported study abroad programmes in the UK
  • develop an international perspective at an overseas university in Asia, Australia, Europe or North, Central and South America 

Visit International and Study Abroad: Destinations

Career benefits of studying abroad

Studying abroad makes you stand out from other students when entering the job market. Following a period living and studying abroad, you will return with increased confidence and independence, adept at problemsolving and decision-making. You will have made a new network of friends and may have improved your current language skills or learnt a new language. Employers highly rate these skills as they can be applied in today’s global career paths.

Sussex recognises the value of language skills in preparing its students to become global citizens: as well as our dual-language courses (vist the Languages subject area), we offer students in most subjects the opportunity to take language electives as part of their single-honours courses (visit Sussex Choice: make the most of your course).

After studying abroad, some of our graduates have gone on to careers as translators • sales and marketing professionals • international recruitment consultants • Refugee Projects co-ordinator for the British Red Cross abroad • a CNN presenter • international mortgage administrators • teachers of English in Venezuela, Spain, Germany, Japan and France.

We offer a huge range of destinations across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North, Central and South America. 


Erasmus +We offer one of the best-supported European study abroad programmes of any UK university. Pioneered independently by Sussex in the 1960s, our study abroad scheme is supported by the European Commission through Erasmus+. Students on this programme usually benefit from nonmeans- tested grants. 

Visit British Council: Erasmus

Study abroad duration and destinations

If you are taking a course with an American Studies component, a dual-language course, or one of our joint courses involving a language, you spend Year 3 of your four-year course abroad. Students from most other courses can apply to do a study-abroad period during their degree. 

View our course listings at Undergraduate study

American Studies students study at one of a range of universities across North America. Language-degree students study at a university in Europe (or La Réunion or Québec, Canada, for French, and Latin America for Spanish) where their language of study is spoken. Language students can also apply to the language assistant scheme managed by the British Council for their year abroad.

Visit British Council: Language assistants

A growing number of overseas universities now have courses taught in English, which enables Sussex students without the necessary language skills to study abroad. Students can also take Erasmus Intensive Language Courses in-country before their term starts.

The University is increasing the opportunities for students to go on short-term non-credit-bearing Summer Schools overseas. In 2013, a number of students benefitted from summer programmes in China and Hong Kong.

For more information on study abroad opportunities, email

Visit Study abroad for Sussex students

Entry requirements

Sussex welcomes applications from students of all ages who show evidence of the academic maturity and broad educational background that suggests readiness to study at degree level. For most students, this will mean formal public examinations; details of some of the most common qualifications we accept are shown below. If you are an overseas student, refer to Applicants from outside the UK.

All teaching at Sussex is in the English language. If your first language is not English, you will also need to demonstrate that you meet our English language requirements.

Please note: We will not consider applications to transfer direct into the 2nd year of our Law degrees. Applications will only be considered for 1st year entry.

A level

Typical offer: AAA-AAB

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer: 35 points overall

For more information refer to International Baccalaureate.

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer: Pass the Access to HE Diploma with at least 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.

Specific entry requirements: The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

For more information refer to Access to HE Diploma.

Advanced Diploma

Typical offer: Pass with grade A in the Diploma and A in the Additional and Specialist Learning.

Specific entry requirements: The Additional and Specialist Learning must be an A level (ideally in a humanities or social science subject).

For more information refer to Advanced Diploma.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma

Typical offer: DDD

For more information refer to BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma.

European Baccalaureate

Typical offer: Overall result of at least 80%

For more information refer to European Baccalaureate.

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto

Typical offer: Overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.5.

French Baccalauréat

Typical offer: Overall final result of at least 13.5/20

German Abitur

Typical offer: Overall result of 1.8 or better

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher level)

Typical offer: AAAAAA-AAAABB

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato

Typical offer: Final Diploma mark of at least 85/100

Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers

Typical offer: AAAAA-AAABB

For more information refer to Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers.

Spanish Titulo de Bachillerato (LOGSE)

Typical offer: Overall average result of at least 8.5

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma

Typical offer: Pass the Core plus at least AA in two A-levels

For more information refer to Welsh Baccalaureate.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in each section. Pearson's Test of English (Academic) with 62 overall with at least 56 in all four skills.

For more information, refer to alternative English language requirements.

International Foundation Year and International Year One

If you are from outside the EU and do not yet meet all the University’s entry requirements for degree-level study, visit International Foundation Year and International Year One.

For more information about the admissions process at Sussex:

Undergraduate Admissions,
Sussex House,
University of Sussex, Falmer,
Brighton BN1 9RH, UK
T +44 (0)1273 678416
F +44 (0)1273 678545

Fees and funding


Home/EU students: £9,0001
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £9,0002
Overseas students: £13,7503

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2014.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2014.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2014.

To find out about your fee status, living expenses and other costs, visit further financial information.


The funding sources listed below are for the subject area you are viewing and may not apply to all degrees listed within it. Please check the description of the individual funding source to make sure it is relevant to your chosen degree.

To find out more about funding and part-time work, visit further financial information.

Care Leavers Award (2014)

Region: UK
Level: UG

For students have been in council care before starting at Sussex.

First-Generation Scholars Scheme (2014)

Region: UK
Level: UG

The scheme is targeted to help students from relatively low income families – ie those whose family income is up to £42,620.

First-Generation Scholars Scheme EU Student Award (2014)

Region: Europe (Non UK)
Level: UG

£3,000 fee waiver for UG Non-UK European Union (EU) students whose family income is below £25,000

Sussex Excellence Scholarship (2014)

Region: UK, Europe (Non UK), International (Non UK/EU)
Level: UG

Merit-based scholarship for undergraduate students

For more information on scholarships go to the Scholarships web pages.

Careers and profiles

This course prepares students to practise law as a solicitor, a barrister or an in-house lawyer for a public limited company or a government agency (subject to completion of the necessary further qualifications). Other graduates choose to use their excellent communication skills in fields such as public relations, human resources, broadcast media, policy development or politics (a number of our alumni are Members of Parliament). 

Recent graduates have taken up a wide range of posts with employers including: adjudicator at the Financial Ombudsman • business advisor at the Royal Bank of Scotland • case administrator at the London Probation Trust • child death review co-ordinator for the NHS • civil servant at the Ministry of Justice • administrative tribunal worker at the Ministry of Justice • intern at Austin and Carnley • planner and forecaster at Ralph Lauren • forensic professional at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) • business developer at Apple • copyright assistant at Footprint Music • enforcement specialist and legal intern at Rosetta Stone • legal and compliance co-ordinator at Brandwatch • legal intern at Stevens Hinds and White PC • prosecution case worker at Sussex County Police • researcher at Political Scrapbook • case reviewer at Deloitte • intern at the Office of the Prosecutor at the United Nations. 

Specific employer destinations listed are taken from recent Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education surveys, which are produced annually by the Higher Education Statistics Agency

Careers and employability

For employers, it’s not so much what you know, but what you can do with your knowledge that counts. The experience and skills you’ll acquire during and beyond your studies will make you an attractive prospect. Initiatives such as SussexPlus, delivered by the Careers and Employability Centre, help you turn your skills to your career advantage. It’s good to know that 92 per cent of our graduates are in work or further study (Which? University).

For more information on the full range of initiatives that make up our career and employability plan for students, visit Careers and alumni.

Lizzie's student perspective

Lizzie Parsons

‘I was always set on studying Law at Sussex, not only because of its outstanding facilities and academic reputation but also because of the exceptional status of the Law School. I now know I made an excellent choice.

‘From the start, first-year students are offered considerable opportunities in terms of extracurricular activities such as the first-year mooting competition. It’s a vigorous process, which greatly developed my legal, debating, and public-speaking skills. I was fortunate enough to win and, as a result, I’m organising and judging this year’s competition. I also had the chance to represent the University in the Sussex and Brighton moot (in which we defeated the old enemy!).

‘The progress I’ve made this year is undoubtedly owing to the excellence of the teaching staff, who offer a wide range of support and skills development. I’ve now had various interviews for training contracts and vacation schemes for commercial law firms and, while thinking ahead can be daunting, I’m certain that the support, life skills and overall experiences Sussex has already given me will lead to an exciting future.

Lizzie Parsons
LLB in Law

Karen's student perspective

Karen Davis

‘I chose to study at Sussex because of the excellent reputation of both the University and the Law School itself.

‘As a mature student, I was concerned how I’d fit in among the younger students but I needn’t have worried as everyone’s very friendly and the Sussex Law School is incredibly supportive of its students.

‘The first year was a steep learning curve, learning new academic skills and managing my studies alongside family and work commitments. However, with the help of the friendly and approachable lecturers and tutors, I’ve adapted well to the demands of academic life.

‘In addition to the main syllabus, there are many extracurricular activities on offer, such as client interviewing and negotiation skills competitions. I particularly enjoyed the mooting competition as it helped me practise my research skills and learn how to develop an argument.’

Karen Davis
LLB in Law

Contact our School

School of Law, Politics and Sociology

Engaging with key issues of contemporary concern, the School of Law, Politics and Sociology brings together academic units that are committed to excellence in teaching, and recognised nationally for research.

How do I find out more?

For more information, contact the admissions tutor:
Sussex Law School, 
University of Sussex, Falmer, 
Brighton BN1 9SP, UK
T +44 (0)1273 877495
F +44 (0)1273 873162
Sussex Law School

Visit us

Campus tours

Not able to attend one of our Open Days? Then book on to one of our weekly guided campus tours.

Mature-student information session

If you are 21 or over, and thinking about starting an undergraduate degree at Sussex, you may want to attend one of our mature student information sessions. Running between October and December, they include guidance on how to approach your application, finance and welfare advice, plus a guided campus tour with one of our current mature students.

Self-guided visits

If you are unable to make any of the visit opportunities listed, drop in Monday to Friday year round and collect a self-guided tour pack from Sussex House reception.

Jonathan's staff perspective

Jonathan Bridges

‘Sussex provides world-leading teaching and excellent academic facilities, with a vibrant student life in a fantastic location. All of this meant that I left Sussex with a unique set of experiences and a degree that has prepared me for my future.

‘Joining Student Recruitment Services at the University has enabled me to share my experiences of Sussex with others. Coming to an Open Day gives you the opportunity to meet our research-active academics and our current students, while exploring our beautiful campus. But don’t worry if you can’t make an Open Day, there’s plenty of other opportunities to visit Sussex. Check out our Visit us and Open Days pages or our Facebook page to find out more.

‘I’ve loved every moment of my time at Sussex – these have been the best years of my life.’

Jonathan Bridges
Graduate Intern, Student Recruitment Services


Terms and conditions