Module information

Obligatory Courses

LW483 Advanced Legal Research and Methods  (10 ECTS)

This course will build on the research skills already acquired by students in their primary law degree. It will be closely linked to and designed to facilitate the writing components and the dissertation requirement of all students on the programme. The emphasis will be on practical exercises which will include elements of the following: textual analysis, literature review, research presentation, report writing, research evaluation. 

LW484 Law, Regulation and Policy (10 ECTS)

This foundation course will examine the role of law in the formulation and implementation of regulation and policy in various fields of the law.  The role of law in facilitating activities, in providing a framework and structure within which they can operate, and in establishing a basis for regulatory norms and practices, will be discussed. The role of regulatory bodies in devising regulation (goal setting, establishing criteria, engaging in consultation processes etc.) and implementing it (monitoring, compliance, adjudicating, advocacy, etc.) will be considered, as will various forms of regulation (regulation, co-regulation, self-regulation, etc.). The focus of the course will range from national to European (EU and Council Of Europe) and international level.  Topics may vary from year to year.

LW445 Law, Governance and Enterprise: Contemporary Issues (10 ECTS)

This course builds on the introductory module in Law, Regulation and Policy to create a deeper and wider understanding of regulatory policies and legislation in the modern marketplace and business environment. It begins by examining the rationales for regulation, corporate governance and compliance in the context of a globalized market environment. It considers the process of creating, devising and implementing regulation in practice. It looks particularly at the demands which compliance places on the enterprise and the options available for challenging regulation. The topics may vary from year to year, but might include: the role of international law in the regulation of international business enterprises; the application of competition and anti-trust law on a global scale; the global impact of information and communications technology; the dynamics of technology transfer; the role of multi-national corporations in policy-making; the role of ethics in technology regulation; the protection of children on the Internet; the role of international economic institutions in global policies such as trade and development, debt repayment and regional integration; the challenges of negotiating effective multi-lateral environmental agreements, particularly in the context of peak oil and climate change; the role of science in regulatory decision making; the difficulties of effective policing of intellectual property in a globalized information society; and ensuring proper consumer protection in an online marketplace.

LW450 Dissertation (20 ECTS)

This module represents the concerted piece of work that is submitted by a candidate at the end of the programme. It will consist of a detailed analysis of a specific issue determined by the candidate in conjunction with his/her supervisor.

Optional Courses

LW487 Communications Law: Law, Technology and Change (10 ECTS)

This course focuses on the legal issues surrounding communications, particularly mass media, in the context of evolving technological, economic and social change. Advances in technology have spawned new services and new platforms for delivery of content, have opened up new possibilities and markets for advertising, archiving and other methods of information storage and management. Convergence of technologies has led increasingly to convergence also of regulation and regulators. In this new environment, key questions facing regulators and policy-makers include how to accommodate technological and economic developments, how to safeguard democratic values and meet social objectives, ensure pluralism and diversity, and protect the citizen as well as consumer.

LW487 Communications Law: Law, Technology and Change (10 ECTS)

This course focuses on the legal issues surrounding communications, particularly mass media, in the context of evolving technological, economic and social change. Advances in technology have spawned new services and new platforms for delivery of content, have opened up new possibilities and markets for advertising, archiving and other methods of information storage and management. Convergence of technologies has led increasingly to convergence also of regulation and regulators. In this new environment, key questions facing regulators and policy-makers include how to accommodate technological and economic developments, how to safeguard democratic values and meet social objectives, ensure pluralism and diversity, and protect the citizen as well as consumer. 

LWxxx Comparative Copyright Law and Policy (5 ECTS)

This module introduces students to copyright in an international and comparative context, using perspectives from Ireland, the UK, the US and elsewhere. It examines the theoretical and legal foundations of copyright, from the significant philosophical justifications to the constitutional arguments in its favour. It considers the basic principles of copyright law, what constitutes copyrightable subject matter and what are the rights protected by copyright. It also explores what constitutes copyright infringement and the remedies available.

LW441 Copyright in the Digital Era (10 ECTS)

This module examines copyright law in the content of the fast-changing world of technology, particularly information and communications technology. It asks what is the proper role of government and law in fostering innovation. It considers the new copyright questions which are emerging as significant as the Internet becomes part of the fabric of modern society, such as the peer production of content, the position of the public domain and the feasibility of alternative compensation models. It looks at difficult issues in enforcement, such as digital rights management, the position of content intermediaries and peer-to-peer networks. It also looks at practical issues in the commercial sphere, such as contracts and licensing, reverse engineering and the rise of Creative Commons and similar initiatives.

LWxxx Comparative Corporate Governance (10 ECTS)

Corporate governance has become a subject of intense theoretical and practical interest in recent years in the wake of corporate scandals in the USA and Europe. Most of our goods and services are produced or delivered through corporations of various kinds, and these entities also attract massive investment. How effectively these corporations are run, and in whose interests, are topics of great concern to everyone. This module aims to foster an understanding of the structure, objectives and mechanisms of corporate governance and the legal and other issues affecting systems by which corporations are directed and controlled. Themes and issues explored include: theoretical and overview perspectives on corporate governance; the nature of the corporation, the basic theory of the firm, and principal-agent theory; the legal framework; the role and responsibilities of directors and boards; enforcement of director duties; monitoring and legal compliance issues; executive compensation, takeovers, and shareholder activism.

LWxxx International and Comparative Data Protection (10 ECTS) 

This course will examine legal issues pertaining to personal, private, commercial or government information from an international, European and national perspective. With the swift development of information technology, privacy and confidentiality issues have become increasingly controversial. Data access, data retention, data misuse, loss or thefts are source of great concern in the EU but also in the US, particularly with the recent counter-terrorism measures initiated in the U.S. but which have spread over to Europe. Thanks to technology it has become extremely easy to transfer any electronic data worldwide. Therefore the course will tackle not only the private information transfer of data but also the issue of e-commerce and transborder data flows. Key issues such as privacy (in the context of, for example, CCTV, e-mail and workplace surveillance, and biometric data), the right to dignity and the right to information will be dealt with. Privacy issues will be considered in the light of human rights also. This course will analyze among other topics, the impact of the Schengen Information system on privacy and confidentiality. 

LW444 Internet Regulation and Governance (10 ECTS)

The Internet is a complex global network which has already had a transformative impact on communications, culture and commerce. This course explores the methods and extent to which the Internet is and can be governed and the national and international issues involved. The widespread use of this technology has given rise to important substantive issues that have led to national and international regulatory activity. These and other issues of central importance to an understanding of the world we live in, and will live in, are a central focus of this course. Topics covered may include: the regulation of unsolicited commercial email and spam; freedom of speech online; public and private filtering of content; consumer protection in Internet commerce; data protection and privacy in a globalised information space; effective enforcement of the criminal law online; sexually explicit speech and local standards; forum-shopping for plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions in defamation cases; intellectual property rights and the Internet; regulating gambling online.

LW507 Internet Torts (10 ECTS) 

Traditional tort law principles have proved capable of a robust flexibility ideally suited to responding to the dynamic and ever-changing nature of internet wrongs. This module will explore the issues surrounding the use of tort principles for wrongs committed over the internet. In particular it will explore the nature of the harm (largely financial), the challenges of identifying the defendant in internet actions and choice of jurisdiction for wrongs that have a global reach. The module will examine a number of internet torts such as the application of the tort of trespass to chattels to SPAM and more recently screen-scraping; the application of defamation principles to libellous publications on the internet; privacy actions to address the creation of fake profiles on social networking sites and the dissemination of personal data on the Internet; the use of the tort of passing-off to prevent the wrongful exploitation of protected domain names and the use of negligence actions to counter cyber-bullying. Students will be challenged to identify other types of internet behaviour that might be addressed by tort principles and to address the thorny issue of whether tort principles should be used to police the internet to the same extent as occurs in ‘real-life’.

LW447 The Law of Electronic Contracts (10 ECTS)

With the growth of electronic commerce generally, it is the case that an increasing number of electronic contracts are being entered into both in a business and a consumer context.  This module examines the issues raised by electronic contracts.  It examines the definition of an electronic contract, the legal issues raised in the framework of electronic contract formation such as offer and acceptance, the place and time of the formation of electronic contracts, unsolicited communications, provision of terms and conditions, jurisdiction and choice of law and the liability of ISPs in facilitating the electronic contractual communication.  The role of international institutions in the regulation of E-Commerce is examined including the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce.  Initiatives taken at a European level are also examined.  They include Directive 2000/31/EC on Certain Legal aspects of Information Society Services, in particular Electronic Commerce, in the Internal Market (the E-Commerce Directive), Directive 1999/94 on a European Framework on Electronic Signatures (the Electronic Signatures Directive) and the Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgements in Civil and Commercial matters, and Directive 97/7 on the Protection of Consumers in Respect of Distance Contracts (the Distance Selling Directive).

LW435 EU Competition Law and Intellectual Property (10 ECTS)

This module focuses on the intricate relationship and conflict between EU competition law and intellectual property rights.  An intellectual property right in the form of a patent, copyright, trademark or other analogous right is granted as a reward for innovation, research and investment.  It grants exclusive ownership in the subject matter of the right to the owner of the right and thereby necessarily excludes others from accessing or exploiting the protected right for a certain period of time.  This can result in market power and a restriction of competition, which is the very antithesis of competition law, which aims to maintain open and competitive markets.  This module examines the reconciliation of competition law and intellectual property rights.  After an introduction to the legislative framework for competition law in the European Union and the nature of intellectual property rights, the course explores issues pertaining to the free movement of goods in the internal market, competition law and intellectual property rights, the Article 101 TFEU prohibition on agreements restrictive of competition and intellectual property rights, the Technology Transfer Regulation, and the Article 102 TFEU prohibition on abuses of dominant positions and intellectual property rights.

LWxxx The Patenting of Biotechnology (5 ECTS)

This course covers national and international patenting of biotechnology. Patent laws are frequently a subject of controversy, seen by some as essential to reward and encourage scientific research and innovation, and by others as tools of oppression and exploitation, designed to prevent the transfer of new technologies to developing countries and to restrict the ability of those countries to continue using indigenous knowledge.  A moral and ethical debate is also evident regarding the patentability of life forms and biotechnological inventions, such as genetically engineered animal and plant species, and even human genes.  In this course students will examine and analyse the arguments in these debates, with particular reference to the development of patent laws and the changing role of patents throughout history; the approaches to the patentability of biotechnological inventions in Europe and the United States; and the influence of globalisation and the TRIPs Agreement on developing countries.

LWxxx The Regulation of Biotechnology (5 ECTS)

This course covers national and international regulation of biotechnology. The regulatory framework of biotechnology will be described and critically analysed in relation to a number of biotechnological products, including: food, especially genetically modified organisms; animals and human-animal hybrids; medicine and the use of biotechnological processes in organ transplants, human reproduction and stem-cell research.  This section of the course will also consider issues relating to environmental effects, ethical matters, the roles of the various interested actors including scientists, multinational corporations, national and international regulatory regimes and civil society.

Modules

Students must take all of the mandatory modules listed below, together with the dissertation, and optional modules, to a total of 90 ECTS. There are no written examinations as all modules are examinable by coursework.

Mandatory Modules (total 45 ECTS)

  • Advanced Legal Research and Methods (10 ECTS)
  • Law, Regulation and Policy (10 ECTS)
  • Law, Governance and Enterprise: Contemporary Issues (10 ECTS)
  • Dissertation (20 ECTS)

Optional Modules (any three, subject to availability, totaling 45 ECTS)

  • Communications Law: Law, Technology and Change (10 ECTS)
  • Comparative Copyright Law and Policy (5 ECTS)
  • Copyright in the Digital Era (10 ECTS)
  • Comparative Corporate Governance (10 ECTS)
  • International and Comparative Data Protection (10 ECTS)
  • Internet Regulation and Governance (10 ECTS)
  • Internet Torts (10 ECTS)
  • The Law of Electronic Contracts (10 ECTS)
  • EU Competition Law and Intellectual Property (10 ECTS)
  • The Patenting of Biotechnology (5 ECTS)
  • The Regulation of Biotechnology (5 ECTS)