Legal Methodology

ldroi1005l  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Legal Methodology
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
2 credits
15.0 h
Main themes
- Description of the methods giving access to the main legislative, precedent and doctrinal tools, both national and international. - Articulation of the different stages of legal research, from defining the subject to writing the text. - Reflection on the relevance, classification and presentation of the sources gathered. - Implementation of the teaching by carrying out documentary research exercises as well as by composing a paper focusing on a legal issue. Indispensable theoretical information forms the subject of lectures given to all students. The lecture can be, if necessary, supplemented by other methods. The teaching favours both traditional ways (publications in print) and information technology (use of databases and the Internet). Practical exercises are conducted with groups of 25 students, sometimes in a specially equipped room, sometimes in the Faculty library. The mark assessing the practical exercises is included in the overall mark for the course. Students are provided with the course notes at the beginning of the term.
The teaching of legal methodology is broken up into two closely complementary sections: - a fifteen-hour lecture course, given at the beginning of the year, covering the most essential rules and methods for the realisation of the objectives described above. - because legal methodology is first and foremost a practice, twelve hours of exercises in six sessions of two hours each are taught to groups of 25 students at the conclusion of the lecture course. Five sessions will take place in the legal methodology room, which has been specially designed for this purpose. One session takes place in the library of the UCL Law Faculty, in order to familiarise the students with this essential resource. These compulsory sessions l provide the opportunity to illustrate and put into practice, through individual and collective exercises, the rules and methods taught during the lecture and recorded in the course notes. Content of the course Although the volume of legal sources has increased substantially, it was decided to limit the number of hours allocated to this course, and to adapt the material to the dual form assigned of lectures and practical exercises. It was considered inappropriate to devote a part of the fifteen hours to systematically setting out the many lists of collections, journals, catalogues and other 'paper' tools which record the three types of legal sources. This exercise is sterile and tedious. We know that there is no better way to become familiar with the tools than by using them. It is thus far more appropriate that the exploration of available tools takes place during the practical exercises in the legal methodology room. On the other hand, the revolutionary impact of computer science on legal methodology, and the significant expansion of legal databases and internet sites, justifies devoting a specific section of the course to documentary legal computer science. In view of these choices, the teaching plan is as follows: 1. The triptych of legal sources. 2. Documentary legal computer science. 3. Legal sources. 4. Reading case law. 5. Conducting research. 6. Drawing up a legal study. 7. Abbreviations.
Online resources
Les étudiants peuvent emporter leur précis à l'examen, même annoté par leurs soins.
J.-Fr. van Drooghenbroeck, S. Wattier, G. Willems et A. Hoc, Leçons de méthodologie juridique, 2ème éd., Précis de la faculté de droit et de criminologie de l'UCLouvain, Bruxelles, Larcier, 2016, 359 p.), disponible au service-cours (et ailleurs dans le commerce), prix étudiant (20 €) négocié avec l'éditeur moyennant abandon des droits d'auteurs.
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