LEGAL203-19Y (HAM)


15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
Te Piringa - Faculty of Law
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Paper Description

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Our jurisprudence course is an introduction to and analysis of law's core ordering concepts, including the idea of law itself. It also covers the theories behind those concepts, and which are reflected in and used by law to achieve its goals. We cover a variety of approaches as well as the deep relationship between theory and practice. In doing this, we look at law's use of concepts such as sovereignty, liability, ownership, justice, rights and legal personality, among others. We also explore some of the ordering concepts of societies or social groups guided by differing normative paradigms, and how current law interacts with those.

The student will develop their reasoning skills, their conceptual vocabulary, and an understanding of the conceptual tools law uses to set and pursue its goals. They will learn the fundamentals of legal theory, core legal concepts and how to critically analyse and navigate the conceptual trade-offs and dilemmas posed by practical legal problems. They will learn how to conduct independent research and then to apply and use ideas and written analysis to solve those problems.

The student will build a strong and essential conceptual foundation for their 'black letter' law papers studied concurrently and in later years of the degree.

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Paper Structure

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The paper is a full-year paper. Each week, students are to attend one two-hour lecture. The lectures are supplemented by tutorials, which will generally consist of the application of concepts and theories to problems. There are eight tutorials throughout the year. Each student is expected to sign up for one tutorial group and to attend that tutorial throughout the academic year. The number of students allowed to enroll in a given tutorial is limited for pedagogical purposes. Please cooperate by attending the tutorial in which you are enrolled. If you are unable to make your usual tutorial, for example by reason of ill health, please contact your tutor or the convenor to make arrangements to make up the work. Remember that besides being really useful to your learning, tutorial preparation and performance is assessed on an ongoing basis, and contributes to your final mark.

The lecture hours are: Friday 11 AM - 1 PM in L.G.01

The tutorials meet 4 times a semester. See the University Timetable for the tutorial weeks schedule. If the weeks change, which sometimes happens, students will be advised ahead of time.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Use ideas to achieve goals in a legal context.
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  • Understand and use: legal ordering concepts to analyse a problem, pursue a desired legal result and/or to design useful reform.
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  • Demonstrate: mastery of core legal ordering concepts and ideas, together with different conceptions of the same; critical awareness of the contextual histories of those concepts and ideas; working knowledge of the relationship between law and the cultural
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  • This will give the student the tools they need to analyse longstanding or novel legal problems and persuasively argue for appropriate outcomes, as well as to contribute to the development of a uniquely New Zealand law and bicultural jurisprudence.
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  • That is, they will understand core concepts and be able to use them to design just and workable solutions to legal (and legal policy) problems.
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EXAM: 50%


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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 50:50. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 50% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 50:50 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 50% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Quizzes
2. Essay
8 Jun 2019
11:30 PM
3.  Prepared Tutorial Participation
4. Exam
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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All law students are required to purchase, for use in all law papers, a copy of McLay, Murray & Orpin, New Zealand Law Style Guide, 3rd edition, Thomson Reuters (2018). This is available from Bennetts, at an approximate price of $37 including GST.

In addition to the texts identified below, the Faculty of Law requires that students purchase the course materials books for this paper. These will be available from Waikato Print.

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Recommended Readings

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Unlike many "black letter law" papers, there is no agreed syllabus for Jurisprudence within the New Zealand Law Schools or elsewhere. Each School creates its own unique paper. There is therefore no one textbook that fits the paper taught at Waikato. Instead, the main reading for our Jurisprudence paper is the Materials book. However students' understanding of the Materials and lectures will be enhanced by making use of one or more of the standard textbooks listed below, many of which are on course reserve and all of which are available through the Law Library. There they will find additional topics not included in the paper as well as fuller discussion of many of the topics covered. The Morrison text is mainly organized by the historical progression thought about jurisprudence, and the Freeman is organized likewise but includes excerpts from the original authors rather than simply writing about their ideas, which is very valuable. The Ratnapala text is organized both by schools of thought and concepts. The Meyerson text is mainly organized by concepts or issues. The Davies and the Bottomly texts are extremely helpful, concise guides to many concepts as well. Any would be valuable additions to the student’s personal library. Students should peruse the various texts which are all available in the Library, to help them decide which texts they prefer. All are good.


M Freeman Lloyd's Introduction to Jurisprudence (9th ed. Sweet & Maxwell, London, 2014) (call number K230 .L5I55 2014)

H Mead Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori Values (Huia Publishers, Wellington, 2003) (call number GN667.5 .M43 2003)

M Davies Asking the Law Question (4th ed. Lawbook Co, Pyrmont, NSW, 2017) (call number K230 .D38A84 2017)

HLA Hart The Concept of Law (Oxford University Press, London, 1961) also 1994 2nd ed. (call number K237.H37)

H Barnett Sourcebook on Feminist Jurisprudence (Cavendish, London, 1997) (call number K349.B37 1997S RL M)

S Bottomley and S Bronitt Law in Context (Federation Press, Annandale, 2012)(call number KU440 .B672012)

W Twinning General Jurisprudence: Understanding Law from a Global Perspective (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009) (call number K230 .T875A34 2009)

J Feinberg and H Gross The Philosophy of Law (8th ed. Wadsworth Pub. Co, Belmont, 2008) (call number K231 .P47 2008)

W Morrison Jurisprudence: from the Greeks to Post-modernism (Cavendish, London, 1997) (call number K230 .M67J87 1997)

RL Hayman, N Levit and R Delgado Jurisprudence Classical and Contemporary: from Natural Law to Postmodernism (2nd ed. West, 2002). (call number KF379 .J87 2002)

Ministry of Justice, He Hinatore ki te Ao Māori/ A Glimpse into the MāoriWorld (Govt Print, Wellington, 2004) (call number KUQ354.G55 2001) Online version

Law Commission Māori Custom and Values in New Zealand Law (NZLC SP9, 2001). (call number KUQ354.M28 2001) PDF version


S Veitch and others Jurisprudence: themes and concepts, (Routledge, London, 2012) (call number K237 .J87 2012)

S Ratnapala Jurisprudence 3rd ed (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2017)(call number K230 .R378A35 2017)

D Meyerson Jurisprudence (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 2011) (call number KU440 .M49 2011)

R Pound An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law (Yale University Press, New Haven and London 1922, 1954, renewed 1982) (call number K230.P68I45 1954)

GC Christieand PH Martin Jurisprudence: Text and Readings on the Philosophy of Law (3rd ed. St Paul West, 2008) (call number K230 .C57A2 2008)

RWM Dias Jurisprudence (5th ed, Butterworths, London, 1985) (call number K230.D53J8 1985)

S Berns ConciseJurisprudence (Federation Press, Sydney, 1993) (call number K230.B472C65 1993)

R Cotterrell The Politics of Jurisprudence (2nd ed LexisNexis, London, 2003) (call number K230 .C67P65 2003)

JW Harris Legal Philosophies (2nd ed, Butterworths, London, 1997) (call numberK230.H25L4 1997)

R Wacks Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory (4th ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012) (call number K230 .W29A38 2014)

R Wacks Jurisprudence (5th ed. Blackstone, London, 1999) (SWOT series) (call number K230 .W34J87 1999)

J Murphy and J Coleman Philosophy of Law (Westview Press, Boulder, 1990) (call number K231.M87 1990)

H Davies and D Holdcroft Jurisprudence (Butterworths, London, 1991) (call number K235.J87 1991)

M Langaford (ed.) Social Rights Jurisprudence: Emerging Trends in International and Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008) (call number K370 .S66 2008)

Further material may be provided on the paper site on Moodle (, the University of Waikato’s online learning system. Any such material is provided on the following terms:

University of Waikato owns the intellectual property rights, including copyright, in and to this site, or has acquired the necessary licenses to display the material on the site. As a student of the Te Piringa Faculty of Law, you are granted a limited license to use (access, display or print a single copy) the material from the papers in which you are enrolled for the purposes of participating in the paper only, provided the information is not modified. Materials may not under any circumstances be copied, stored, distributed or provided in any form or method whatsoever to any third party. Any other use of the material is prohibited. None of the material may be otherwise reproduced, reformatted, republished or re-disseminated in any manner or form without the prior written consent of University of Waikato. To obtain such consent, please contact the Te Piringa Faculty of Law.

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Online Support

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Online support for this paper is provided via Moodle.

If you require assistance with Moodle, or encounter any problems, please contact the Help Desk. You can send a message to Help Desk by using the instant message service in your paper (from the participants list within the People block). Alternatively, you can email them directly at or call 838 4008.

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Students should expect to spend 150 hours in total on this paper. In addition to lecture attendance, significant time will need to be spent on background and complementary reading. Students should allow for periods of more-focused research time in the preparation of assignments.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Jurisprudence is intrinsic to all aspects of law, and underpins all the substantive law papers.
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Restricted papers: LAWS203

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