This course is included in the optional studies of the Bachelor of Laws degree and the Master of Laws degree.
Registration onto this course is open to all students from the Bachelor of Laws programme and the Finnish Master of Laws programme, all students pursuing doctoral studies and those on the MICL or IBL programme, as well as to exchange students, and to students with the right to complete minor subject studies or the right to complete non-degree studies at the Faculty of Law.
Apply for a right to complete minor subject studies or for the right to complete non-degree studies at the Faculty of Law here: https://guide.student.helsinki.fi/en/article/optional-studies-law and https://www.helsinki.fi/en/faculty-of-law/admissions/apply-to-the-faculty-of-law.
Basics of legal theory.
The students should have an overall view of the fundamental elements of modern law, have skills to evaluate and critique modern statutory and case law, have knowledge of the main issues of contemporary legal theory, be able to rethink the conceptual apparatus of legal theory, see the relationship between law, politics and ethics.
III teaching period
The aim of the course is to rethink the concept of modern law. On the one hand, the course gives an overall picture of modern law. On the other hand, the course offers a critique of modern law and legal theory. The aim is not only to describe law but also to consider what law can do and what we can do with law.
The core matter of the course is the essence of modern law, which is analyzed from the perspective of modern and post-modern legal theory. The course presents and analyses the fundamental ideas, concepts and principles of modern law. More extensively it deals with – and at the same time problematizes – the concepts of sovereignty, constitutionalism, democracy, legal subject, subjective rights and legal norms. The course also addresses the question of justice and power, and thus rethink the relationship between law, politics and ethics. Finally, at the course we will consider the relevance of a critical global perspective in thinking law and legal theory.
These three texts must be read before the course starts:
— Hart, H.L.A.: Positivism and the separation of law and morals, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 71, 1958, pp. 596–626;
— Fuller, Lon L.: Positivism and fidelity to law. A reply to professor Hart, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 71, 1958, pp. 630–672;
— Radbruch, Gustav: Statutory Lawlessness and Supra-Statutory Law (1946) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 26, Issue 1, 2006, pp. 1–12.
25 % presentation and activity at the course, 75 % essay.
A maximum of 24 students will be accepted onto the course based on the order of registration.
The course consists of three parts. The first part consists of two introduction lectures. The second part is independent group work. The groups decide their timetable when the assignment is given at the first part of the course (8 hours face-to-face meetings). The third part is an intensive seminar day. The final assignment is an essay.