Section 1, Spring 22

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 16/40
Credits: 3
Day Time Room Start Date End Date
  • TR
  • 1410-1530
  • WB105
01/25/2022 04/28/2022

Course Description

Law students are told that in their first year of law school they learn the “common law method.” But what exactly does that mean? What sorts of considerations does such a “method” exclude and include? And when courts employ it, are they using the law to decide the case or using the case to determine the law? Finally, how might the answers to these questions bear on the proper function of courts in a constitutional democracy? This course introduces students to the philosophy of law by taking up these and related questions about the nature of law and adjudication in the American common-law system. It takes a broadly historical approach to such questions, tracing the way in which answers to them have both changed and endured over time, up to the present day. It does so because the common law itself places questions of history, continuity and evolution at its center. Texts studied include those by, among others, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Benjamin Cardozo, Lon Fuller, HLA Hart, Catharine MacKinnon, Ronald Dworkin, Angela Harris, and Richard Posner.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Final Type (if any): None
Description: None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: In addition to class participation, grades will be based on 2-3 papers (details and deadlines to be announced during class). Each paper will be due via EXPO with FINAL blind grading number.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Thursday, April 21, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Sunday, May 01, 11:59 PM