The Project is the outcome of independent legal research conducted in an area of your own choosing. Successful completion of the project demonstrates Masters level achievement and distinguishes the LLM from the postgraduate diploma that you will be eligible for on completion of the taught elements of your LLM. This part of the programme presents a new challenge. The emphasis is on the production of an independently devised and researched piece of work.
Through the Project you will
· develop advanced and independent legal research and writing skills
· gain a greater depth of knowledge in the topic you choose
· develop the ability to critically analyse the law
The project is a compulsory element of your LLM programme and makes up 60 of the 180 credits required to obtain the LLM degree.
1.1 Purpose of this booklet
The purpose of this booklet is to provide guidance on choosing a topic and title, and planning, researching and structuring your project. It also includes important information on your responsibilities, the role of your supervisor and ethics in research.
You will find it helpful to read through the information it contains at the beginning of the programme. Having a general idea of the demands of the project from the outset will help you to choose a title. You can concentrate on the more detailed information, and read through the booklet again, once you are nearer to beginning your research.
PLEASE NOTE that you will need to familiarise yourself with the policies, procedures and regulations that govern the LLM Projects, including
·Northumbria University’s Assessment Regulations, see here
·Northumbria University’s Policy on Ethics in Research
Further information about projects is available on the projects eLP site relevant to your programme (if you are not attached to the dedicate eLP site please contact your programme leader) and in the Legal Research material.
CRITERIA FOR PROJECT ASSESSMENT
The work must:
· Set and meet clear and viable objectives.
· Demonstrate a thorough examination of relevant material.
· Accurately state the law.
· Contain critical analysis of the subject matter.
· Reach valid and justifiable conclusions.
· Demonstrate originality of treatment.
The work must:
· Be structured appropriately (according to the aims and objectives and with appropriate use of appendices, and footnotes; parts and chapters; headings and subheadings).
· Reflect clarity of expression and argument.
· Be free from grammatical and spelling errors.
· Correctly reference statutes, cases and secondary material (books, articles etc.).
· Be well presented and structured (layout, print quality, headings, page numbering etc.).
Within the work there must be evidence of:
· A high level of research and critical analysis.
· The incorporation of appropriate sources referred to in the footnotes and bibliography.
· Reference to any recent developments in the law.
· An explanation of the use of any empirical research methods.
1. Is the relevant area of law too complex to research or to communicate in the form of a project?
2. Is the area too simple or is there simply not “enough in the area” to form the basis of a project?
3. Is the area too extensive to form the basis of a project?
4. Should you choose a topic with which you are familiar from practice or which you have studied before?
5. Is it best to choose an area that has undergone recent reform?
6. Is it best to choose a rapidly changing area?
7. What if the materials to which you will need to refer are too difficult to obtain or otherwise inaccessible?
8. Should you undertake a comparative law project?
9. What should you do if you are not sure if the topic is viable?