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Legal Method and Jurisprudence


Admission requirements

This is a required methodology course for students wishing to major in Global Justice. This course also builds upon and will be complementary to some of the themes and readings already introduced in the foundational courses (‘Global Challenges: Justice’ and ‘Global Challenges: Peace’). It connects to some themes raised in political philosophy and political theory and it presents case studies that connect to issues from political theory, global justice, public international law and human rights.


This course will provide the students with an introduction to Legal Methods and Jurisprudence. The first part of the course, on Legal Methods, will provide the students with a presentation of the major legal systems of the world, the sources of law, both national and international, legal research methods, judicial interpretation, and techniques of rule-drafting. The second part of the Course will provide the students with an introduction to major discussions in Jurisprudence, such as the dichotomy between legal positivism and natural law, the relationship between law and religion, theories of punishment, and questions of use of force in international law.

Course objectives

The course is designed to allow the students to better comprehend both structure and philosophical context of a legal argument. The ambition is both practical and theoretical. On the practical level, the students will be expected to better understand the sources of law and apply their knowledge to the particular legal reasoning of a case. In that sense, after the course, students will know how to deconstruct the way judges think, and then reconstruct the rules that they apply or discover. They will also know how to do basic legal research. On the theoretical level, students will be expected to be able to put legal discussion in its broader conceptual context. This context will include ethical as well as political dimensions. With this contextualization, the students will be better equipped to understand how law relates to a number of wider societal considerations which are fundamental for a comprehensive analysis of current issues.


Please see the LUC website:

Mode of instruction

This course consists of interactive lectures and seminars to accustom students with the preparatory readings and to position the topic/theme and readings in the overall course design and objectives.

Each week has two sessions which will be devoted to a particular issue, approached from either the jurisprudential or methodological perspective. Seminars are expected to be interactive, and will include a number of case studies and exercises that will allow the students to engage with the course content.

Assessment method

Students will be assessed based upon their written and oral contributions to the course and by their demonstrated critical engagement with the assigned material. The final session will be devoted to a written exam testing the students’ capacity to construct an argument on a broad question in a limited period of time.

  1. Interactive engagement with course material: assessed through In-class participation (20% of final grade): Ongoing Weeks 1 – 7
  2. Understanding of course content: assessed through In-class exercises (40% of final grade): Ongoing Weeks 1 – 6
  3. Expression of holistic understanding of the course: assessed in Final exam (40% of final grade): Week 7


This course is supported by a BlackBoard site

Reading list

Selected articles and texts will be handed out during class or uploaded on There is no required textbook for this course. Readings for particular seminars will be available online through the course website.


This course is only open for LUC The Hague students.

Contact information

tba ### Weekly Overview

Classes will take place on Tuesdays (11.15 to 1.15) and Thursdays (4.15 to 6.15), starting on 7 February 2012.

Week 1
(07/02) Introduction to major systems of law
(09/02) Sources of law

Week 2
(14/02) Legal research: methods and sources
(16/02) Judicial reasoning

Week 3
(21/02) Rule-drafting: how to write in a legislative manner
(23/02) Visit to the Peace Palace Library and introduction to research

Week 4
(28/02) Legal positivism and natural law
(01/03) Legal interpretation and jurisprudence

Week 5
(06/03) Law and religion
(08/03) Theories of punishment, the death penalty, abolitionism and cultural relativism

Week 6
(13/03) The nature of international law
(15/03) The structure of international legal argument in the context of the rules on the use of force

Week 7
(20/03) Recap session: connecting the dots
(22/03) Exam