LW5009 - Inquests

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will have the opportunity to learn about the role of the coroner in England and Wales and the law relating to inquests. You will be able to study and examine the historical origins of the inquest as well as consider the present law. The lectures will provide a broad framework, however, within this framework the module is experiential in that you will be required to identify topics for additional and further in depth study and will be supported in researching, evaluating and analysing your findings.

The module is divided into 4 areas of enquiry:

• Historical perspectives- where you will have an opportunity to look at a particular period of the historical development of the coroner’s court/inquests. The module concentrates on the medieval period and the Victorian era but you are encouraged to explore an historical period that interests you.
• Notable inquests- you will investigate a notable inquest in depth (examples could include the death of Mark Duggan, the Hillsborough Inquest, The Marchioness Disaster or the death of Stephen Lawrence)
• Reform- you will consider and discuss the recent reform to the inquest system and in particular the Coroners and Justice Act 2009
• Practice and procedure- you will learn about the process of appearing at an inquest and will have an opportunity to take part in a simulated inquest to put your research into practice.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be facilitated in your learning by attendance at whole group sessions, supervised studio sessions and small group sessions (Workshops). In addition there will be opportunity for independent reading and research and group tasks. The module is Tutor-guided and facilitated and your learning will take place through a combination of collaborative (team work with a small group of students) and wholly independent, self-directed, learning.

Whole group sessions
The large group lectures are intended to introduce you to the key topics of the module. The remaining whole group sessions will be in the form of supervised studio sessions in computer / collaborative working spaces to enable you to work in groups or independently on Workshop tasks and module topics with a tutor available to assist. You will also be expected to undertake independent learning in consolidation of the lecture programme.

The small group Workshop exercises will develop your research and analytical abilities. Sessions will cover a range of activities. Workshops will also require you to demonstrate your ability to locate and make effective use of source materials. You will be expected to engage in independent and, at times, directed learning in consolidation of work done in preparation for and during Workshops. Your will be required to work collaboratively, at times, by taking part in in group work (fours or pairs) and to prepare individual work to be shared in the Workshop group. You will also have an opportunity to learn how to effectively organise and communicate information orally.

Independent learning
This is an important aspect of the module.
The lectures will provide you with an outline of the topics, and you will be guided in your reading and learning by the Module Tutor and Workshop Tutors, but you will be required to identify and find further reading material and research to provide deeper and broader knowledge and understanding of topics of your choice within the framework. You will be able to seek more guidance in the large group guided learning sessions.

Assessment of learning
Your learning will be assessed at the end of the Module via a written assignment and certificates of evidence of engaged participation in the Workshops. The tasks in the Workshops act as preparation for the final assessment and you will receive formative feedback orally in Workshops on those tasks.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The University will support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities; access to on-line databases and resources and appropriate software.

This Module is designed by, and will be managed by, the Module Tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the Module. Material will be provided to you by lecture and through the eLP. The Module has a dedicated eLP site which includes Workshop instruction briefs, PowerPoint slides and links to resources, such as documentaries, and newly published articles. This is in addition to the electronic reading list.

The comprehensive online reading list includes books, articles and television and radio programmes. As well as contact with the lecturer you will also be taught by your Workshop Tutor. Should you have queries you may speak to the lecturer or your Workshop Tutor or e-mail your query to either member of staff. Support will include oral feedback from Tutors during small group Workshops and in the interactive lectures. Your Workshop Tutor will also be available to answer queries by e mail or in person, provided an appointment has been arranged. You are encouraged to make contact with your Tutor if you encounter any difficulties relating to any aspect of the Module.

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.

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:

• Demonstrated knowledge and critical understanding of the development, underlying concepts, principles and context of the law relating to coroners and inquests and been able to initiate and undertake critical analysis within those areas.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities

At the end of the Module you will have:
• Developed your skills in order to recognise ambiguity and uncertainty in the law relating to coroners and inquests and identify potential alternative conclusions and provide supporting reasons for them.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

At the end of the Module you will have:
• Developed intellectual independence by being able to ask and answer cogent questions about the law relating to coroners and inquests and the development of the law relating to coroners and inquests. You will also have identified gaps in your knowledge and acquired new knowledge.
• Developed independent thinking and curiosity

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will be provided by oral feedback in Workshops on the formative tasks that are required for effective Workshop participation. You will have an opportunity for oral feedback on your plan for the final assessment.

Summative Assessment will be undertaken on an individual basis by way of assignment which constitutes 90% of the marks for this Module. The balance of 10% will be earned by attendance and engagement with the first 4 of the Workshops.

The assignment questions will be discussed and designed in Workshops as group exercises and then finalised by the Tutors. You will have a choice of questions and will be able to write about an area that specifically interests you.

Assessment criteria are 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 feedback on your final assessment in accordance with the Law School’s Undergraduate feedback policy.





Module abstract

You will explore the role of the coroner from the middle ages to the Victorian period until the present day. You will consider the role of the coroner and the procedures followed. Your understanding of the modern coroner’s court will be underpinned by your study of the historical development of the inquest system.

You will be able to choose which aspects of the Module you research and you will help to draft the assessment questions. You will be assessed by coursework (90%) and engagement in Workshops (10%), which will consolidate your critical understanding of the Module. You will engage in a research based teaching and learning experience. Your learning will be enhanced by the wide variety of electronic resources available and the excellent library facilities. You will be studying a dynamic and fascinating area of the law which will give you knowledge in an area rarely covered by undergraduate study.

Course info

UCAS Code M101

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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