LAW-20048 - Law and Emotion
Coordinator: Senthorun Sunil Raj Tel: +44 1782 7 34355
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733218

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

What does anger achieve in law reform that targets discrimination? How does fear limit the scope of migration or refugee law? Should we use disgust to determine what is criminal? Is love the solution in disputes about relationships? Do human rights bring us hope for a better future? We often conceive of law as an autonomous system of rules, norms, regulations, and principles. Such a disembodied concept of law tends to divorce sensations or passions from reason. Divorcing law from emotion, however, is futile. From grieving citizens seeking reform to social injustices to heated litigation in courtrooms to calculated judicial decisions, emotion animates the legal system.
This module is delivered in 10 × 2 hour seminars. Each seminar, we will discuss a specific emotion and how it relates to a current legal debate. Students will write a research proposal (1000 words) and research essay (3000 words) on a topic of their choosing.

This module aims to build on the critical legal thinking undertaken in core modules by introducing students to the study of emotion in law. In particular, it invites students to think critically about legal problems, not simply in terms of ¿facts¿ but, also, in terms of ¿feelings¿ (and how the two mutually constitute each other).

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Understand current debates in the field of Law and Emotion.: 1,2
Differentiate between conceptual approaches when analysing the relationship between law and emotion.: 1,2
Critically reflect on the role of emotion in various legal issues/problems (including by reflecting on core modules previously studied) and how to contextualise legal issues/problems by using emotion.: 1,2
Evaluate the function and effect of emotions in addressing legal issues/problems.: 1,2


Study hours

Class time: 10 x 2 hour seminars (20 hours).
Class preparation time: 60 hours.
Research proposal: 20 hours.
Research essay: 50 hours.

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay-Plan weighted 20%
Research Proposal
This assessment requires students to write a 1000 word plan for their final research essay where they will use emotion(s) to analyse a particular legal issue or problem. This task requires students to create an essay topic; provide a brief literature review; and outline how their essay will be structured. The module leader will approve essay titles/topics at the beginning of semester for external examination purposes.

2: Essay weighted 80%
Research Essay
This assessment builds on the research proposal. Students will use their proposal to write up a 3,000 word research essay where they will explore how emotion animates and addresses a particular legal issue or problem.