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Critical Thinking and Writing in Law

The Queen Mary Critical Thinking and Writing in Law (CTWL) is a specialised series of classes with the exclusive aim of improving the accuracy and quality of LLM students’ writing and research in Law. CTWL classes also lay the foundations for more meaningful participation in seminars and help students approach their exams and dissertations with added confidence and success.

A Pathway to Success for all LLM Students

Academic writing within a specific discipline at postgraduate level is a skill that needs acquiring, as assessment of students is done by means of exams, essays and dissertation writing. Bearing LLM students’ needs in mind, the Language Centre, in collaboration with the PG School of Law, has designed two modules and a one-off session to help LLM students improve their research and writing skills, and provide them with the confidence necessary to succeed in their studies.

 

The purpose of Critical Thinking and Writing in Law is three-fold. Firstly, it helps students who have been accepted on a conditional offer meet their language requirement (see Section 2.6). Secondly, it seeks to offer students opportunities to deepen their understanding of the learning strategies required at postgraduate study. Lastly, it aspires to guide and assist students through the different stages of the writing process of their essays and dissertations.

 

In order to achieve these three goals, the programme will offer two ten-week modules, together with a one-off session to assist students on proposal writing.

 

CTWL in Semester 1 introduces students who arrive at QMUL with a conditional offer to the skills that will be expected from them at LLM level in the context of UK Higher Education. A range of legal texts (such as statutes, cases, and journals) will be analysed from a linguistic perspective and focus will be placed on raising students’ awareness of structure and argumentation in English. This is conducted with the express requirements and standards of the LLM in mind. Additionally, students are introduced to research methodology in law and associated skills that can serve their needs throughout the LLM.

 

CTWL in Semester 2 is available to all students. Its overriding purpose centres on the development and honing of writing for the dissertation. Students will be given the opportunity to learn and practise the skills needed to allow them to progress effectively and independently throughout this final stage of the LLM.

 

CTWL in Semester 3 provides students with tutorial support to help them with their dissertations. This is in addition to any support that they may have from their LLM tutors, and assistance will be in accordance with relevant CCLS policy.

 

More detail of the provision is given below:

Semester One-   EAL4791 CTWL: Literacy Development

Reading is a central focus of the first half of this ten- week module as students are obliged to read extensively around their module topics. The module at this stage is designed to help them do this constructively as well as to develop knowledge and awareness of the layout, organisation and sequence of a variety of legal texts. The importance of reading extensively and selecting potentially useful material for their respective needs with greater efficiency, speed and confidence, is also addressed. The second part of the module is concerned with the requirements of exam writing and the preparation of a proposal for their dissertation. Both semesters will provide students with an opportunity to write and receive feedback on their work.

 

NOTE: This module (EAL4791 offered in Semester One) is compulsory for students who have been accepted onto the LLM with an in-sessional condition. Students attend one 2-hour class per week for 10 weeks between September and December. Such students can be deregistered from their LLM Programme if they fail to attend at least 80% of this module. All students who have attended the Pre-Sessional English Programme at QMUL prior to joining the LLM also carry an automatic in-sessional condition (please see section 2.6 for more detail).

Semester One: Dissertation Proposal Writing

As LLM students are required to write and submit their dissertation proposals by the end of November/early December, the Language Centre offers a one-off supplementary session to all students in November to cover this requirement. The session addresses the components, approach and style of what is conventionally required for the QM proposal. Exact date/s and time/s will be made available by e-mail and on QMPlus Noticeboard (CTWL section).

Semester Two- EAL4792 CTWL: LLM Dissertation Writing

Almost all LLM students are required to either write a dissertation or submit coursework essays. Writing papers of this length accurately, while adhering to the formality and style required by Queen Mary, is a challenging undertaking for both foreign and English-speaking students alike. Accordingly, this ten- week module addresses some of the areas of dissertation writing that have regularly been a source of student difficulty in previous years. Students are provided with the opportunity to work through the process of planning and structuring their dissertations and apply academic writing skills for law that were the developed in Semester One. For Dissertation writing classes students attend one 2 hour class per week for 10 weeks between January and March. Individual tutorials are available to all students from a member of the CTWL staff up until the mid-August submission for dissertations.

Semester Three: Tutorial Support

One-to-one writing tutorial support will be available in Semester 3 to everyone. Students will be able to arrange a maximum of three one-hour long tutorials with a writing specialist to assist them in any writing query they may have.

 

For information on registration details, dates as well as further details on the areas covered, please check the Critical Thinking and Writing in Law Handbook, available on the CTWL section of the QMPlus Noticeboard. Once enrolled on a specific CTWL module, teaching materials will be available via a linked QMPlus page in the same way as your taught LLM modules.  (See section 4.10).

Registering on CTWL Modules

Registration for the CTWL module in Semester 1 will open on 25 September 2017. Classes however, will begin on 2 October 2017. To register for these CTWL modules please use the In-sessional Course Bookings task available on MySIS - the online view of SIS, Queen Mary's Student Information System available at https://mysis.qmul.ac.uk/

 

A list of all classes of EAL4791 with times and venues will be available on MySIS for students to choose according to when they are free. Students are advised to enrol early as the more popular time slots fill very quickly. Class size is limited to 20-25 students and enrolment works on a first come first served basis. Semester two classes will be notified prior to the start of the Semester and registration for these classes may open in early December 2017 for Semester 2 and will resume after the holidays on 8 January 2018.

 

For more information, please contact:

Spela Gruden

Critical Thinking and Writing in Law

Programme Administrator

Tel: 020 7882 2827

Office: Arts 1.08

Mile End Campus

email: s.gruden@qmul.ac.uk

 

Nicholas Lloyd

Critical Thinking and Writing in Law

Module Convenor

Tel: 020 7882 2840

Office: (Francis Bancroft Building) FB 1.30,

Mile End Campus

email: N.h.lloyd@qmul.ac.uk

 

Office Hours: Monday to Friday:

9.30am – 4.30pm

 

For CCLS see:

http://www.law.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/faq/llm/critical-thinking-writing/

 

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