Bachelor in Laws (LL.B)
Law regulates every aspect of social life. This ranges from the contracts that we make when we buy products to the laws that determine when people can be jailed for committing criminal offences, and through to significant political decisions, such as constitutional reforms on marriage or abortion. As a law student, you learn what these laws are, how they work and how they change. You learn the skills of a lawyer – how to research the law, how to make legal arguments, how to use the law to protect and serve your clients. As importantly, though, you also learn to be critical of law. Law can control power but it can also concentrate power, in the hands of large political and commercial organisations. In our increasingly globalised world, it is more important than ever that people understand the huge potential of law to aid the common good but also the potential for its misuse. The Trinity law degree inculcates this perspective in students. It trains them to be self-motivated, ethically aware and critically reflective citizens.
The law degree will appeal to you if you are interested in society and how it works, how we regulate the relationships between people. Given the wide range of legal subjects, the degree attracts students with a broad range of interests. Those interested in politics are attracted to subjects such as constitutional law. Those interested in business are attracted to subjects as company law and commercial law. Those concerned about injustice, whether at an international or national level, will be attracted to subjects such as international human rights, environmental law, and public interest law. In truth, most students have overlapping interests. There is no single ability that identifies a good law student. However, the programme involves a large amount of independent work, mostly consisting of reading and analysis. An ability to self-motivate is therefore important.
Law at Trinity College Dublin is a four-year honours degree programme. The first two years are largely given over to the study of core legal modules (many of which are required for those who wish later to train to become a solicitor or a barrister). In years one and two of the programme we ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the academic and practical aspects of law. In particular, you will be supported in developing your legal skills through the Foundations of Law module. In the third and fourth years, students take modules at a more advanced level. This is a combination of those modules that are required in order to continue into the professional stage of training to be a solicitor or barrister (e.g. EU Law) and the opportunity to choose amongst a wide choice of optional modules. The latter allows students to tailor their studies to their particular interests, e.g. Employment Law or Medical Law and Ethics.
A distinctive feature of the Trinity Law degree is that you will also complete some modules outside of the School of Law during the second and third years of the programme. This will give you the opportunity to choose to study modules in a related discipline, as well as a choice of modules addressing broad themes relevant to all students across the entire University. This feature of our programme ensures that you leave with broad horizons and a flexible range of skills that go beyond those that are purely legal in nature. This is relevant both if you choose to pursue a career in the legal profession or if you follow an alternative career path. For example, those who enter a career in commercial law will benefit greatly from also having some understanding of business studies.
In your final year of study, one-third of your credits will be devoted to the completion of a research project, which we call the ‘Capstone’. This allows you to apply and enhance the research skills that you have developed in the previous three years of the programme. Being part of a research group with other students, you will work independently and collaboratively to explore in-depth a topical issue.
How is the programme taught?
The academic year is divided into two terms (semesters): one in the autumn and one in the spring. Students complete modules to the value of 30 credits in each term. Modules are normally either 5 or 10 credits, so typically a student will be completing three or four modules each term. The volume of teaching depends upon the credits attached to each module, but a 10 credit module would typically be composed of 3 hours of lectures per week. A student following three 10 credit modules would therefore have around 9 hours of lectures each week. Lectures are a large group teaching format, but they include opportunities for student participation, e.g. discussing questions with the lecturer.
In the first year, we have a special programme of weekly seminars to accompany our Foundations of Law module. These are small group teaching sessions that are designed to support you as you develop basic legal skills. In addition, during years one and two of the law programme, other modules are delivered by a combination of weekly lectures and four seminars per term. Seminars are focused upon active student participation, e.g. discussion, presentation, group work. Seminars are taught by academic staff, postgraduate researchers or by practising solicitors or barristers with particular expertise in the area.
While the average weekly teaching hours will depend on your individual combination of modules, you will normally have around 10-11 hours of teaching per week. As described below, the remainder of your week is devoted to independent study to accompany the teaching, but also to the pursuit of other activities, such as participation in the wide range of student societies, both within the Law School and beyond.
Assessment takes place on a continuous basis across the academic year. There are examinations at the end of each term, but modules are often assessed also by other means, such as written assignments.
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
Students reading for any law degree at Trinity College Dublin must study 240 ECTS over the duration of the four years. Generally, this entails 60 ECTS per year. The ECTS weighting for a module is a measure of the student input or workload required for that module, based on factors such as the number of contact teaching hours, the number and length of written or orally presented assessment exercises, class preparation and private study time, and examinations. In Trinity College Dublin, 1 ECTS unit is defined as 20-25 hours of student input so a 10-credit module will be designed to require 200-250 hours of student input including class contact time, private study and assessments.
Having successfully completed this programme, students should be able to:
- Identify, evaluate and synthesise jurisprudential theories and concepts;
- Use appropriate legal theories, doctrines and concepts to identify, formulate, analyse and solve legal problems within national and international contexts;
- Understand the relationship between law and society, including the role of law in promoting and responding to social change;
- Conduct effective and targeted research in case law, legislation and academic legal commentary at both the national and international levels;
- Discuss and debate different perspectives on legal problems, theories and doctrines;
- Communicate effectively in oral and written modes in professional and academic settings and work effectively in multi-disciplinary settings;
- Demonstrate flexibility, adaptability and independence in order to engage productively with a changing social, cultural and technological environment;
- Have the capacity to engage in life-long learning, including vocational training for the legal profession.
For descriptions of each of the modules below, please visit the module page.
Junior Freshman Year
- Constitutional law I
- Criminal law
- Law of Torts
- Foundations of law
- Legislation and regulation
Senior Freshman Year
- Constitutional Law II
- Land law
- Private law remedies
- 20 ECTS of modules from outside the School of Law
Year 3: Junior Sophister Year
- Administrative Law
- EU Law
- 20 ECTS of optional modules within the School of Law (including Company Law)
- 10 ECTS of optional modules from outside the School of Law
Students may also apply to spend their Junior Sophister year abroad, on a Erasmus or international exchange programme, at any university with which the Law School has links.
Year 4: Senior Sophister Year
- 20 ECTS: ‘Capstone’ research project module
- 40 ECTS of optional modules from within the School of Law.
Where a student has spent one or two terms abroad in their third year, then they will have the opportunity to choose to follow the relevant part of the third year syllabus upon their return to Trinity College. This ensures that such students are able to complete all the modules required in order to fulfil the pre-requisites for entry to the professional stage of training to become either a solicitor or barrister in Ireland.
Optional modules are designated as available to be taken either in Year 3 or Year 4. The following modules are currently provided by the School of Law in either Year 3 or Year 4, but please note that this list changes over time.
- Advanced EU law
- Clinical Legal Education
- Collective Labour Law
- Commercial Law
- Economic and Legal Aspects of Competition Policy
- Corporate Governance
- Critical Perspectives on law
- Employment Law
- English Land Law
- Environmental Law
- European Human Rights
- Family and Child Law
- Financial Services Law
- Food Law
- Insolvency Law
- Intellectual Property law
- International Human Rights
- International Trade Law
- Legal Philosophy
- Media Law
- Medical Law and Ethics
- Public Interest Law
- Public International Law
- Tax Law
- Refugee and Immigration Law
School of Law, House 39, New Square,Trinity College, Dublin 2. Undergraduate Course Office:
Tel (Country Code + 353) (01) 896 1125/1278; Fax (Country Code + 353) (01) 677 0449; Email law.school at tcd.ie