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LS402V: LAW AND ECONOMICS: SELECTED TOPICS (2022-2023)

Last modified: 08 Nov 2022 14:00


Course Overview

This course engages students with the economic underpinnings of different aspects of the law. Why and when should property be privately, communally, or publicly owned? How can a legal system minimise the social costs of accidents? Why and to what extent do we need the law to regulate contracts? These are some of the questions that the course will address. Each seminar will focus on a legal topic that will be analysed through an economic lens. No prior knowledge of economics is needed.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 25 credits (12.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Peter Cserne
  • Dr Claudio Lombardi

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Law (LS) or Bachelor Of Laws With International Exchange (With Honours)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme
  • One of Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?

Yes

One or more of these courses have a limited number of places. Priority access will be given to students for whom this course is compulsory. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more details on this process.


Course Description

Government policies, judicial decisions, and administrative actions are most often either influenced or guided by an economic rationale. With the rise of ‘economic thinking’, liberalisations and free markets, the law has been increasingly reinterpreted or modified to harmonize with economic principles.

However, economics is not a hard science and requires interpretation, just like the law.

Economic analysis is not confined to those areas of the law which are traditionally called “economic”, in the sense of commercial or business-related. Rather, it offers an analytical method for critically assessing the impact of legal rules on the behaviour of individuals and firms in virtually all areas of the law, especially in terms of the effect of these rules on social welfare.

This optional course provides a non-technical introduction to the economic analysis of law. It allows Honours students to look at various fields of law studied in previous years from a new, interdisciplinary perspective.

The module has two main objectives. First, to show how and to what extent the concepts and methods of economic theory can be used to understand the effects of law on the behaviour of individuals and firms. Second, to engage students in the active use of these analytical tools in critical discussion about particular rules, doctrines and cases, especially in the law of contracts, torts, property and crime.

The innovative and attractive feature of this course is the way economic theory is introduced via examples, demonstrating how its analytical tools can illuminate specific and relevant legal problems that arise not just in UK law but also across modern legal systems.
This course presents six legal topics and the economic reasoning that justifies the adoption of the underlying laws and their enforcement. Starting from a specific topic, the course examines the economic theories that support a legal norm or regulatory framework. Throughout the course, students will also be encouraged to be creative and analyse alternative scenarios, motivated by different economic ideas. Through inductive learning, students will appreciate how economics contributes to shaping the law in the books and in action.

For instance, we shall discuss commons and anticommons in IP law; information asymmetry and risk allocation in contract law; principal-agent problems in corporate governance; or the incentive effects of tort law and criminal law.


Details for second half-session courses, including assessments, may be subject to change until 23 December 2022.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 9, 11 - 13, 15, 17

More Information about Week Numbers


Details for second half-session courses, including assessments, may be subject to change until 23 December 2022.

Summative Assessments

1500 word essay 40%

2500 word essay 60%

 

Resit: Resit failed elements in same format.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ReflectionCreateTo communicate orally and in writing information, advice, and choices in an effective and persuasive manner.
ConceptualUnderstandRecognise the economic issues in a legal problem and apply the economic way of thinking to analyse it.
ReflectionEvaluateTo evaluate the legal implications of economic theories, their impact on society and the alternative paths for regulation.
ProceduralAnalyseAssess the efficiency effects of legal rules and policies.
ReflectionApplyTo analyse specific cases and apply inductively economic theories to broader legal concepts.

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