LL4BW      Half Unit
Law and Political Thought

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Thomas Poole


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Political Theory and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be relevant to the following LLM specialisms:  Human Rights Law, Legal Theory and Public Law.

This course has a limited number of places and we cannot guarantee all students will get a place.



Course content

This course examines the relationship between law and political theory. It does so through the study of classic texts of political thought: typically Hobbes, Leviathan, Rousseau, Social Contract; Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France; Schmitt, Constitutional Theory; Oakeshott, On Human Conduct; Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty. In this way, the course deals with major topics of theoretical and juridical interest, such as the rule of law, liberalism and republicanism, cultural pluralism, theories of authority and legitimacy, revolution and the state, nationalism and cosmopolitanism.


This course will have two hours of teaching content each week in Lent Term, either in the form of a two hour seminar or an online lecture and one hour class. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.

Indicative reading

The reading for the course consists of classic texts in political thought. Many are available online and the course is delivered through Moodle.


Essay (100%, 8000 words) in the ST.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information