LL4BW      Half Unit
Law and Political Thought

This information is for the 2023/24 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 has a limited number of places and demand is typically high. This may mean that you’re not able to get a place on this course.

Course content

This course examines the relationship between law and political theory. It does so through the study of classic texts of political thought, such as: Hobbes, Leviathan; Plato, Statesman; Harrington, Oceana; Schmitt, Political Theology; Arendt, On Revolution; Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty. Occasionally, we extend the range of analysis to include other forms of media, such as Fritz Lang’s M in the context of a broader discussion of Weimar-era theorists of law and politics (Kelsen, Schmitt, Heller). In this way, the course deals with major topics of theoretical and juridical interest, such as law and government, theories of authority and legitimacy, revolution and counter-revolution, nationalism and cosmopolitanism.


This course will have 20 hours of teaching content in Winter Term and an additional two hours of teaching in the Spring Term. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of Winter 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.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: 28

Average class size 2022/23: 28

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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