Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

DROI1130 - Legal Methodology seminar


Credits : 4

Lecturers :
Mode of delivery :
Face-to-face , first and second term, 30 hours of theory.

Language of instruction :

Learning outcomes :
The purpose of the course is the study of methods and techniques of legal research and writing. It enables the students to familiarise themselves with the fundamental tools (both computer and “paper” tools) of legal research and to learn how to use the main sources of law which are indispensable prerequisites to the achievement of any personal work in the field of law. It will also enable students to understand the various sources of law, to learn the terminology and structure thereof, to grasp their meaning, and to use the underlying reasoning with the same finesse.
At the end of the course, students must implement these research tools and demonstrate their ability to handle the main sources of law by writing a summary paper on a given subject. In concrete terms, to complete the work, the students must search, find, summarise and present in writing the status of the law in force on the given subject.
This implies mastering the different “means of access” to legislation, doctrine and jurisprudence, the capacity to effectively use the materials found and then to compare them in order to extract the substance that will serve as a basis for writing a personal and original paper.

Prerequisites :

Co-requisites :

Course contents :
Using of the main documentary sources of law (legislation, doctrine, jurisprudence), appropriating of the steps of legal research, writing a paper, referencing of the sources.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
The students should acquire the “reflexes” (in front of a computer and in the library) as well as a working method to ultimately succeed in structuring and reproducing their subject in a clear and coherent manner.
From this point of view, we will focus on the legal vocabulary and on the rigour and precision requirements expected by the law, especially with regard to the continuous evolution that characterises it. Students should be able to present the sources of the existing law in relation to a given subject, both in their work and at the examination.

Attendance requirement :
Attendance is mandatory.
More than one instance of unjustified absence on the academic year will be penalised by the overall grade of “0/20 absent” (0A/20) in the teaching unit for the session of June. If appropriate, the grade given to the paper is retained for the session of September.
Unjustified failure to hand in the [final] paper is, for its part, worth 0A/20 in the teaching unit for each skipped session.
Unjustified absence at an exam is likewise worth 0A/20 in the teaching unit for each skipped session.
Finally, failure to submit at least one required assignment or actually take an exam in itself will prevent the student passing the teaching unit for each skipped session. In other words, in no event will a student who has been given the grade of 0/20 for showing up at an exam or submitting the cover page of a required paper be awarded the credits carried by the course.

Assessment methods and criteria :
January (advanced in December) : written exam (serie of questions, in principle closed questions)
March-April : Paper
June (advanced in May) : oral exam (2 research questions with preparation time + questions related to the research done + for the students non exempted of the matter of the Q1 (cf. infra), 2 additional questions without preparation time about the matter of the Q1)

Grading :
- Passing the Q1 written exam creates a definitive exemption covering the Q1 subject matter (NB: The exemption does not cover the basic knowledge that remains necessary to understand the rest of the course). This grade (10/20 or greater) accounts for 1/4 (25%) of the final grade for the entire course, both in the first and second exam session. The rest of the final grade (3/4 or 75%) is split between the paper (1/2 or 50%) and the oral exam (1/4 or 25%) presented during the same session.
- If the Q1 written exam is failed, the test grade (9/20 or less) will not be counted in the final grade for the entire course in both the first and second exam session. The paper and oral exam will each account for 1/2 (50%) of the grade, in both the first and second session.
- Regarding the paper submitted and oral exam taken in Q2 for course completion, only if the credits for the teaching unit have not been earned in the first session, students who get failing marks on their paper in the first exam session must redo and resubmit their paper in the second session, whereas they must take the oral exam again in the second session in all cases.

Recommended or required reading :
BERNARD N. (dir.), BORN, R., de JONGHE, D., de TERWANGNE, C., MOREAU, P., SLINGENEYER, T., TRUFFIN, B., VAN MEERBEECK, J. et VANVREKOM, S., Guide des citations, références et abréviations juridiques, 6e éd., Bruxelles, Kluwer, 2017.

Other information :
Written teaching materials : the syllabus, annexes, additional documents posted on Moodle, aforesaid Guide des citations, and updated collection of normative texts


Due to the health circumstances, the above information and rules are likely to be adapted during the year.