Legal Studies and Philosophy at Aberdeen brings together close examination of the world of law – including topical and controversial issues – with a fascinating exploration of how we as humans approach the ‘big questions’ of fundamental importance to us throughout the ages. The combination of analytical and intellectual skills you will develop and their transferability will make you a very attractive graduate with wide career options, including in business.
This programme is studied on campus.
Legal Studies at Aberdeen gives you the benefit of studying a range of fascinating subjects in our highly-regarded Law School, established in the year 1495, now ranked 12th in the UK out of more than 90 law schools and scoring an impressive 95% for student satisfaction.
Although you won't be accredited to enter the legal profession in Scotland (or England), you will gain valuable knowledge of legal systems and important academic qualities that are greatly valued by employers.
Among topics you can study are commercial law, Government and law, legal theory, European and international law, human rights, EU law, environmental law, criminology and criminal justice and Scottish legal history. In Philosophy, you will look deeply at questions such as: What is knowledge? What is the nature of truth? Why should we act morally? Philosophy is just as much the study of reasoning and argument as it is the application of thought to specific problems.
What makes Philosophy at Aberdeen especially attractive is the breadth of courses, the user-friendly materials you will use and the experts who will teach you, with courses including How Should One Live? Controversial Questions, and Experience, Knowledge and Reality.
The intellectual skills you will develop through this combination will include thinking critically, analysing and solving complex problems and presenting arguments in a clear, reasoned and logical manner – all attributes greatly sought by employers. Your career options will include business, journalism, management, government service, service, the police force, marketing, human resources, and teaching.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Learning Mode
- On Campus Learning
- Degree Qualification
- 48 months
- Study Mode
- Full Time
- Start Month
- UCAS Code
What You'll Study
- Year 1
- Legal System (LS1025) - 15 Credit Points
This course introduces the fundamental components and characteristics of the Scottish legal system. It includes a study skills programme which covers different facets of the study of law along with a series of practical workshops which introduce key legal information sources (both electronic and paper) and appropriate search strategies. Lectures and tutorials will cover topics such as the Scottish legal tradition, formal sources of Scots law, the legislative process, organisation of the courts, judicial precedent, civil procedure, alternative dispute resolution, the European legal order, legal services and access to justice.
- Legal Method (LS1522) - 15 Credit Points
This course develops key legal research skills by taking students through a research project from initial conception to final written product, including: research design; research ethics; identifying and locating primary sources; interpreting and evaluating primary sources; identifying and locating secondary sources; critically analysing secondary sources; use and interpretation of data, statistics and other (non-legal) evidence; and effective writing. It will teach students the comparative and doctrinal-historical legal methods critical to legal research. Students will develop their own research project throughout the semester in light of this learning, building their project step by step under the guidance of the teaching team.
- Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)
This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.
- Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year
- Experience, Knowledge and Reality (PH1023) - 15 Credit Points
How “real” is reality? How does the mind relate to the world? This course introduces two approaches to answering these questions: rationalism and empiricism. By Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, we learn about Descartes’ rationalist approach to knowledge, reality, mind-body dualism, and God’s necessary existence. Through David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding see how Hume grounds knowledge in experience. We read Hume on impressions and ideas, induction, causality, miracles and critically compare and examine Descartes’ and Hume’s arguments by drawing on readers and critics. Download course guide
- Select 30 credit points from the Legal Studies courses listed below.
- Select at least one of the following: Controversial Questions (PH1027); How Should One Live? (PH1522).
- Select further non-Legal Studies courses to make up 120 credit points.
- Criminal Law (LS1020) - 15 Credit Points
This course is a compulsory course on the LLB degree introducing students to Scottish Criminal Law including its sources and current law. It examines various aspects of substantive law including crimes against the person, crimes of dishonesty, crimes against property and criminal defences enabling students to understand and apply the law in these areas. The course also develops student’s written, verbal and analytical skills utilising written course work and problem solving exercises in tutorial groups.
- Foundations of Private Law (LS1022) - 15 Credit Points
The course provides firstly a map of private law as drawn from the institutional scheme. It then progresses to an equivalent of the medical student’s study of anatomy in the sense that, concentrating on the law of property and obligations, it examines the main concepts of private law and how they operate together as a system to solve everyday legal problems.
- Contract (LS1520) - 15 Credit Points
Contract is one of the central subjects of private law and is one of the main branches of the law of obligations. Contract Law covers obligations which are voluntary in nature. Every day we make contracts from buying a newspaper to buying a house. Contract Law is an area where Scots law and English law are very similar and this course will cover Scots contract law but also highlight where English law differs with the aim of giving students a working knowledge of contract in both countries.
- Public Law and Human Rights (LS1521) - 15 Credit Points
This course is an introduction to the law about government. The course covers three main areas of law: constitutional law; human rights law; and, to a lesser extent, administrative law. Major topics include parliamentary sovereignty, Britain's membership in the European Union, the rule of law, the separation of powers, devolution (especially in Scotland), the Human Rights Act, freedom of expression, and the right to protest. This area of law is fast-moving, and an effort is made to address current issues such as prisoner voting, the deployment of armed forces, and the impact of the referendum on Scottish independence.
- Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution (LS1523) - 15 Credit Points
Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution is a very practical course designed to give students a first-hand interaction with a number of the different structured ways to resolve disputes that exist. The course is taught by way of a weekly lecture which focuses on an explanation of theory and rationale followed by role play tutorials, where students engage in negotiations and mediations in particular.
- Case Studies on Law in Society (LS1026) - 15 Credit Points
This module examines, through the use of current, high-profile case-studies, the varying role played by law in wider society. The course departs from the traditional ‘black letter’ approach to studying law and will focus primarily upon current legal problems facing society and the related ethical, economic and social arguments. It will be seen that law is not merely a static body of rules but a mechanism for facilitating and inspiring change in all aspects of our society.
- English Criminal Law (LS1527) - 7.5 Credit Points
This course is a compulsory course on the LLB with English Law degree introducing students to English Criminal Law including its sources and current law. It examines various aspects of substantive law including offences against the person, offences of dishonesty, offences against property and criminal defences enabling students to understand and apply the law in these areas. The course also develops student’s written, verbal and analytical skills utilising written course work and problem solving in tutorial groups.
- Introduction to English Legal System (LS1528) - 7.5 Credit Points
This 7.5 credit course introduces key elements of the English legal system, building on points considered in the Legal System course. It considers sources of law (with a focus on the common law and doctrine of precedent), key institutions and personalities (eg police, jury, Lord Chancellor), criminal and civil processes, key controversies (eg the future of legal aid, the place of social media and the diversity of judges) and the present and developing nature of the different branches of the legal profession, particularly in the face of evolving technologies. Assessment is by research exercises OR an exam at the student’s choice.
- Controversial Questions (PH1027) - 15 Credit Points
Watch this course video! We examine questions such as: Is eating animals immoral? Is being a good or bad person a matter of luck? If so, are we justified in punishing bad people? Should anyone be able to set limits on what you can do with your own body, even if it's ‘for your own good’? Should everyone be allowed to state their mind, even if their views are harmful or offensive? Is censorship ever justifiable? Do you have a moral obligation to help those worse-off? Are you unknowingly biased against underprivileged groups? Download course guide
- How Should One Live? (PH1522) - 15 Credit Points
Why do the morally right thing when you have much more to gain by doing evil and know you could get away with it? Should you save five lives even if this requires you to kill someone in exchange for them? Would you lie on the witness stand to protect your guilty mother from life in prison? We will read and discuss responses to these questions that have been presented in both historical and contemporary texts, including those by Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Kant, John Stuart Mill, Bernard Williams, Judith Thomson, Shelly Kagan, and T.M. Scanlon.
- Year 2
- Gender Equality (PH2535) - 15 Credit Points
For a course description, watch this brief video!
In recent times equality among genders has attracted increasing attention. This is no longer a matter of concern to a fringe movement, but a central issue to contemporary society. In this course we will examine some of the crucial issues in the debate and assess the merits of key arguments. The topics we’ll discuss include the gender pay gap, the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and popular culture, pornography, abortion, the objectification of women, gender equality in sports, and epistemic injustice.
- What We are: Mind in A Physical World (PH201B) - 15 Credit Points
Watch the course video! In this course we explore a series of arguments which suggest that it is hard to fit the mind into the physical world. In particular, we focus on three topics: the Mind/Body Problem, Free Will and Determinism, and Personal Identity. Each topic starts with an argument which suggests that we are not merely physical entities like brains, the central nervous system or other biological entities. Taken together, these arguments offer a serious challenge to the view that we can explain human cognition in terms of the physical characteristics of human brains and bodies. Download course guide
- Metaphysics, Epistemology and Language (PH2538) - 15 Credit Points
This course provides students with an introduction to central issues in metaphysics, epistemology, logic and philosophy of language. The emphasis is on introducing some of the central issues in these areas; issues that have shaped the contemporary debate. In addition to introducing a number of central issues in metaphysics, epistemology, logic, and philosophy of language, this course also teaches and further develops a number of essential skills including extracting and evaluating philosophical arguments, critical writing, and the application of logical concepts to philosophical problems.
- Select 60 credit points from the courses listed below.
- Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice.
- Delict and Unjustified Enrichment (LS2025) - 15 Credit Points
This course introduces students to two of the key branches of the Scots law of obligations, namely Delict (which governs legal liability for situations such as the negligent infliction of harm upon others, or liability for breach of privacy) and Unjustified Enrichment (which is concerned with questions such as, if I pay you money in error, am I entitled to demand that you return it?). The course will be taught primarily by means of lecture and tutorial. There will also be one compulsory interactive workshop illustrating how to quantify the amount of damages payable for personal injury.
- Eu Institutions and Law (LS2026) - 15 Credit Points
This course examines the composition and function of the EU Institutions (including preliminary rulings), sources and supremacy, direct effect of EU Law, state liability and judicial review. Other topics covered include human rights in the EU, persons and citizenship, establishment and services, free movement of goods, and competition law.
- Scottish Legal History (LS2028) - 15 Credit Points
This course will introduce students to the main points of Scottish legal history from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. In weeks one to eight, lectures and tutorials will provide a general overview as well as more detailed coverage on particular topics e.g. the legal literature and notable jurists, the development of the courts and procedure, and periods of flux and reform of the law. Workshops held in weeks nine and ten allow students to work on a (non-counting) group project charting the history of a legal rule.
- Public International Law (LS2032) - 15 Credit Points
The course aims to systematically and critically introduce the foundations of Public International Law (PIL). The history, nature, legal personality, statehood and recognition, sources, the law of treaties and how PIL interacts with domestic law are considered in-depth. These are followed by topics such as jurisdiction, sovereignty, the role of the United Nations, the law of state responsibility and peaceful settlement of disputes between states. Areas such the use of force and self-defence are covered to enable students to understand why and how international law regulates the behaviour of its actors with respect to some specific subject areas.
- The Law of Property (LS2031) - 15 Credit Points
This compulsory LLB course is all about things. What items can you own? How do you become owner of property? What can you do as an owner of property? What can you do with the property of other people? And so on. An understanding of Scots property law is crucial to markets, commerce and domestic life. This course will give students a broad overview of the regulation of land, moveable items and incorporeal rights like intellectual property in Scotland.
- Evidence (LS3025) - 15 Credit Points
This course deals with the rules of evidence as they apply in the courtroom. The rules in both criminal and civil cases will be analysed. The legal requirements for leading real evidence, documentary evidence and witness testimony are considered. Topics include: relevancy, the corroboration rule, hearsay evidence, expert evidence, lawyer-client privilege, vulnerable witnesses, confession evidence and search evidence. Debate on the more controversial areas of the subject, such as sexual history evidence and admissibility of previous convictions, is encouraged. The subject is highly topical, controversial and practically important to all lawyers. Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and examination.
- Land Law (LS3027) - 15 Credit Points
The course will build upon student's existing knowledge of property law. The course will use the legal issues arising when land is to be commercially developed as a means of teaching a range of topics pertaining to title to land, land registration, the planning system and rights in land. The precise topics selected may vary from year to year.
- The Law of Equity and Trusts of England and Wales (LS3030) - 15 Credit Points
This course considers Equity and Trusts, which in its content, teaching, and nature of its development makes clear key differences between Scots law and English law. We will consider the history of Equity and its relationship with the common law; the meaning, creation and practical impact of trusts (express, implied, resulting and constructive) with both family disputes and commercial sagas having a key role; charitable and non-charitable purpose trusts; rights of beneficiaries; appointment and responsibilities of trustees; fiduciary relationships, and equitable remedies (in particular injunctions, and freezing and search and seize orders). Assessment is by an essay and an exam.
- Introduction to Legal Theory (LS2527) - 7.5 Credit Points
This course aims to provide student with an accessible introduction to some of the central themes of legal theory. The material will be organised around broad themes that will enable students to understand the basic concepts of legal theory. The themes include: the authority of law (including the obligation to obey the law, civil disobedience, the limits of law); the structure and function of rights; the fundamental values of law (justice, rule of law); the theoretical foundations of legal reasoning (including deductive reasoning, the limits of rule-based decision-making, the institutional aspects of legal reasoning and the explanation of judicial decisions).
- Introduction to German Law (LS2530) - 15 Credit Points
This course aims to give students an overview of the law of Germany. Both private law and public law aspects will be covered and knowledge of German whilst useful is not essential.
- Introduction to Spanish Law (LS2531)
- Business Law (LS2533) - 15 Credit Points
This course is designed to provide non-LLB students with an understanding of the main issues in business law. Topics will cover elements of the Scottish law and legal system concerning Contract Law (including the unfair contract terms), Agency, Delict, Intellectual Property, Trusts, Partnership and Company Law.
- The Governance of Scotland (LS2535) - 15 Credit Points
The focus of this level 2 course is the background to, and the significance of, recent developments in the governance of Scotland, together with the implications of proposals for further change. The topics studied include the historical background to the present position; the political factors which led to devolution; the Scotland Act 1998; developments since the implementation of the 1998 Act; the outcome and consequences of the referendum; and the ongoing debate regarding the governance of Scotland. Because of the topicality of the course, the precise syllabus may be subject to change in the light of developing circumstances.
- Introduction to Comparative Law (LS2536) - 7.5 Credit Points
This is a foundational course that introduces students to the two dominant legal traditions of the world - the civil law tradition and the common law tradition. The first half of the course provides an introduction to Comparative Law with a focus on the civil law tradition. The second part of the course is concerned with the common law tradition, whilst exploring also the differences between the Scots and English legal systems. In addition, the course examines the interaction between the civil law tradition and the common law tradition within the European Union.
- Introduction to French Law (LS2539) - 15 Credit Points
The course provides an introduction to French Law, both private and public law aspects. It outlines the study of the law in France, the French legal professions, the French court system, the structure of the French legal system, the territorial organisation of France, as well as key aspects of French constitutional law, administrative law, contract law and tort liability. Knowledge of French is not necessary. Teaching will be delivered through two hour lectures and seminars. Attendance to both lectures and seminars is compulsory. Assessment is based on the drafting of an essay and an exam.
- Commercial Organisations and Insolvency (LS2525) - 15 Credit Points
This is a second level course, which is compulsory for LLB students planning to become professional lawyers. The course consists of four elements: the law of agency, the law of partnership, company law and insolvency law. The lectures will focus on the creation of agency, partnership and companies of different types; the rules that enable these commercial organisations to function; and the law concerning the termination of these commercial organisations. One reason for these organisations coming to an end is that they become insolvent. The rules on insolvency and bankruptcy will be a significant element of the course.
- Family Law (LS2526) - 15 Credit Points
This course is divided into two principal parts. In the first part, students will be introduced to the key facets of the law governing the formation of adult relationships, including the constitution of marriage and civil partnership, legal rights and duties of spouses and civil partners, same sex marriage, the grounds for divorce and the financial aspects of breakdown of marriage and relationships of cohabitation. The second part focuses on the relationship between children and adults and the legal rights of children, including parental rights and responsibilities, court orders relating to children and the welfare principle.
- Succession and Trusts (LS2528) - 7.5 Credit Points
Students studying for the Aberdeen LLB are required to take this course if they wish to use their degree to enter the Scottish legal profession. The course will examine both testate and intestate succession, in the context of the general principles of the law of succession, including legal rights. Furthermore, it will introduce the functions of trusts, the rights of beneficiaries and the powers and duties of trustees. The course is available only to LLB students in Programme year 2 or above and graduates on the 2 year degree.
- English Property Law (LS3529) - 15 Credit Points
This course will explore and critically evaluate the concepts of land and property in the law of England and Wales; estates and interests in land (freehold, leasehold, licence, mortgage and easement); freehold covenants; registered and unregistered land and conveyancing of registered land; trusts in land (including co-ownership); adverse possession; landlord and tenant relationships, leasehold covenants, leasehold enfranchisement, and commonhold.
- Energy Law (LS3531) - 15 Credit Points
The energy industry is a particularly important sector of the economy. Fossil fuel sources provide a state with a source of financial revenue and potential to secure energy supplies. This comes at a cost: health and safety risk or environmental degradation. A regulatory and commercial framework has to be provided to facilitate and control these developments. Alternatives to fossil fuels exist, such as hydropower, wind, solar and nuclear. These are preferable from a climate change perspective but these, too, present legal and regulatory challenges, as does the process of providing a secure and affordable energy supply to end-point consumers.
- Year 3
- Select 60 credit points from Legal Studies LX Honours courses.
- Select 60 credit points from level 3 courses in Philosophy.
- Year 4
One of the following Options:
- Dissertation in Legal Studies (LX4025)
- Select a further 30 credit points from Honours courses in Legal Studies.
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 3 and 4 courses in Phliosophy.
- Philosophy Dissertation (PH402D)
- Select a further 60 credit points from Honours courses in Legal Studies.
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 3 and 4 courses in Philosophy
- Dissertation (LX4025) - 30 Credit Points
This course, that is only available to final year honours students, allows you to write a 10,000 word piece on an aspect of law that you choose with the help of a supervisor. Once your topic and plan are approved by the law school you work independently and hand in the dissertation shortly before the Easter Break.
- Philosophy Dissertation (PH402D) - 30 Credit Points
The dissertation is on a topic in philosophy. The specific topic will be chosen by the student with the approval of the supervisor. The choice of topics is restricted insofar as it must fall within the teaching competence of the supervisor. Download course guide.
We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
How You'll Study
- Individual Projects
Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:
- Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
- Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
- Written examinations at the end of each course.
The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.
Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.
- View detailed learning and assessment information for this programme
How the programme is taught
The typical time spent in scheduled learning activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals), independent self-study or placement is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
How the programme is assessed
The typical percentage of assessment methods broken down by written examination, coursework or practical exams is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
Learning Methodscheduled: 24%
Learning Methodscheduled: 18%
Learning Methodscheduled: 6%
Learning Methodscheduled: 5%
Why Study Legal Studies and Philosophy?
- Ranked top in Scotland for teaching and course content in the last National Student Survey.
- Famous philosophers who worked at the University include Thomas Reid, founder of the 18th century Scottish School of Common Sense Philosophy, and Alexander Bain, who helped lay the foundations for modern scientific psychology.
- The Aberdeen Philosophy in Education Group (APEG), which is unique in Scotland, trains students to discuss philosophical questions with local primary and secondary school pupils.
- Café Philosophique brings philosophers and the local community together, using popular films and novels to explore philosophical puzzles in an informal atmosphere.
- The Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine acts as the focus for research, teaching and engagement in the history, philosophy, ethics, literature and museology of science, technology and medicine.
- The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library offers superb collections, including early printed works of natural philosophy and medicine, the archives of Thomas Reid, and records of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society.
- We offer a packed programme of public events, lectures and debates, including the annual May Festival, which attracts high profile scientists, scholars, authors, actors and broadcasters discussing and debating the big issues of today.
- The skills you learn in Philosophy—for example, to think and write clearly, to explain complex ideas, to challenge orthodoxy—lend themselves to many careers.
- Studying Philosophy will change how you think about things and how you approach life’s challenges.
- Philosophy is interesting! Students from all disciplines often report that studying Philosophy was the most rewarding experience of their studies.
You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, offers, advanced entry, and changing your subject.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5, 5, 5 HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)
Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.
English Language Requirements
To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen, it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.
Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.
|Home / EU||£1,820|
|Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year|
|Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year|
International non-EU Applicants
- In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
- For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.
Our Funding Database
View all funding options in our Funding Database.
There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.
Information About Staff Changes
You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.
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