LW7002 - Data Protection

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will develop a critical understanding of the laws relating to data protection in the UK and Europe. You will examine the development of data protection law in England and Europe, the provisions of the Data Protection Act, the EU Directive on Data Protection and the Data Protection Regulation which is due to replace it. The module will take a critical look at the legal framework that governs data protection and privacy. This module covers the following topics:

1. The history and development of data protection law.
2. Key definitions within the legislation and how they have been interpreted and applied.
3. The Data Protection Principles which govern legal regulation and practice.
4. The rights which are created by the Act and Directive, who they are granted to and how they might be enforced.
5. The obligations which are imposed on organisations over how they process personal data.
6. How the exemptions in the Act apply to domestic law.
7. How Notification arrangements work and how the data protection regime is enforced, in particular looking at the powers of the Information Commissioner.
8. Changes introduced by the draft Data Protection Regulation.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be supported by a teaching and learning plan (TLP) which outlines the activities (independent study/reading, self evaluative tasks, informal practice assessments) throughout the module.

Directed learning will centre on detailed learning materials which will be made available via the module dedicated e-Learning (elp) site and will include guided reading using electronic reading lists, self-evaluative tasks as well as opportunities to engage with your tutor and fellow students. Knowledge will be consolidated through a range of learning activities that will include extended reading, research and reflection. You will have an optional Study Day at the University, which will focus on the foundations of each of the major regimes and may include interactive workshop-based activities and lectures from tutors and the opportunity for guest practitioner expert input which will enhance academic content and delivery. Study Day content will also be made available on the eLP.

Independent learning will centre on you identifying further reading and research to provide deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of information rights law.

You will be provided with detailed feedback on your formative and summative assignment for this module and, as part of your reflective development, such feedback can be utilised in the preparation of subsequent module assessments on the programme. You are therefore able to demonstrate self-reflection and reflective practice within the module and on the programme as a whole, with feedback of appropriate quality and the positive application of formative feedback on learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The University is well-placed to support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to on-line legal databases and resources and appropriate software.

This module is designed and will be managed by your designated Module Tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the module. All relevant materials and instructions will be accessible on-line through the module elp site, maintained by your Module Tutor, who will also provide updates on issues of current legal significance. Extensive use is therefore made of the elp at module level to facilitate discussions between you and your Module Tutor, to provide materials, make announcements and to highlight recent developments in the law. You may communicate with your Module Tutor by e-mail or telephone and are encouraged to make contact if you encounter any difficulties relating to any aspect of the module.

Academic support is also available through summative and formative feedback on assignments and a module teaching and learning plan (TLP) detailing delivery structure and any University requirements. At programme level you will be supported by the Programme Leader who will provide pastoral support throughout the module and the programme as a whole.

The Programme Administration and Student Liaison teams are responsible for the non-academic administration of the module, such as receiving your completed assignment, returning your marked assignment and recording your marks. They will contact you throughout the duration of your module with details about the study day, assignment hand-in dates and other issues.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
At the end of the module you will have:

• Developed a systematic and in depth knowledge and understanding of key aspects of data protection law and understand how it is affected by the European context in which it operates.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Developed an ability to conduct rigorous and independent legal research in the area of data protection law, selecting, using and applying the relevant material to identify issues, construct rational arguments and present accurate legal information clearly, coherently and substantiated by authority.

• Developed an ability to reflect on and critically evaluate the operation of data protection law in the wider information rights context and identify solutions to a range of legal and practical problems associated with the collection, use and retention of personal data.

Personal Values and Attributes

• Developed the ability to work in a self managed way, to set goals and timescales for your own work, to meet deadlines, reflect on your progress and take on board feedback to improve your performance.

• Developed an understanding of the role which data protection and privacy rules play in underpinning the relationship between citizens and the state and private organisations and will be able to reflect upon the ethical and legal issues whch may accordingly arise in the data protection context.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will be achieved by self-test questions in module materials, group discussion, informal peer assessment and assessed and non-assessed exercises. Answers to self-test questions will be provided on the module elp and your tutor will give oral and written feedback to you as required.


Summative Assessment will be undertaken on an individual basis by way of assignment which constitutes 100% of the marks for this module. This assignment aims to encourage a deep and critical approach to learning, developing an ability to think widely about the issues presented within the module and to explore these in-line with directed and independent learning.

The module is assessed by coursework with a maximum word limit of 3,000 words. The assessment will take the form of a problem based scenario which will be designed to facilitate examination of specific aspects of relevant law and related legal research and may include discussion of recent developments, where appropriate. Assessment criteria will be provided to enable you to understand what is expected of you and how you will be judged on your performance.

You will be provided with appropriate written or oral feedback (as appropriate), and, as part of your reflective development, such feedback can be utilised in the preparation of subsequent module assessments on the programme.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

Data protection has achieved a far greater prominence in society over the last three decades as the ability to locate, collect and manipulate personal data has grown exponentially. The rules which bind how organisations use individual personal data and the rights which individuals have over their own information have changed significantly over that period with the introduction of the EU Directive on Data Protection, the UK’s Data Protection Act and the EU Regulation on Data Protection.

Understanding how organisations can make use of personal data, what rights individuals can exercise over their own information and how the regime is egulated and enforced is crucial to both the public and private sector. Upon completion of this module students will have a deep understanding of the law relating to data protection and how it applies in a wide variety of practical contexts. Students will be able to draw on knowledge and understanding of the relevant statutary provisions but will also look in detail at key case law developments as well as making extensive use of guidance and good practice.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year distance learning

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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