Public University of Navarre

Castellano | Academic year: 2024/2025 | Previous academic years:  2023/2024  |  2022/2023  |  2021/2022  |  2020/2021 
Bachelor's degree in Law at the Universidad Pública de Navarra
Course code: 351101 Subject title: PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY OF LAW
Credits: 6 Type of subject: Basic Year: 1 Period: 1º S
Department: Derecho

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Module/Subject matter




The existence of the law has always been a matter of philosophical reflection. Which are the differences between law and justice? What requirements must observe a particular obligation to be considered "law"? Which are the differences between law and other normative orders, as tradition or religious faith? Which must be the foundation of the laws? Is it possible to disobey an unfair law?


Philosophy and theory of law deals with these issues and many others. Since it is a philosophical discipline, its distinctive feature is precisely its radicalism. It does not examine the surface of the legality or the mere existence of legal codes, but questions its origin, its meaning, its foundation, its possibilities for improvement, etc.


General proficiencies

Not applicable.


Specific proficiencies

Not applicable.


Learning outcomes

LO1. To understand and recognise the importance of Law as a regulatory and punitive system of social relations, in accordance with the principles of justice, freedom, and legal certainty, and become aware of the unitary and structured nature of the legal system and the methods of creation, interpretation, and application of Law.

LO20. To solve legal issues through the application and interpretation of Law sources.
LO21. To critically analyse, interrelate and integrate legal concepts.
LO22. To identify the legal issues of the current social context.
RA24. To examine and summarise essential issues, mostly within the legal scope.
LO25. To argue and substantiate the application of legal regulations. LO30. To organise and plan work efficiently, applying the acquired social and organisational skills.



  Methodology ¿ Activity Classroom hours Non classroom hours
Lectures 45  
Practice 15 15
Reading   23
Individual study   36
Exams, evaluation tests 2  
Individual classes   2
Computer Skills for Lawyers On-line Course   4  10
Total 64 86



Learning outcomes Evaluation method Weight (%) Recovery Minimun grade
R142, R145, R160, R161, R16, R44, R1, R96, R135, R118, R19, R43, R105. Attendance and participation in Lectures and practical exercises. 10% NO  
R40, R20, R142, R145, R160, R137, R161, R16, R44, R1, R96, R135, R118, R19, R43, R105. Papers throughout the semester. 35% YES  
R145, R160, R161, R16, R44, R1, R135, R118, R19, R105, R43. Final test. 50% YES 2.5
R137. On line course evaluation. 5% NO  


If you get less than 2.5 in the final exam, then your maximum grade for the subject could be 4.9.










The course is organized around six major modules which include some of the big questions of the reflection about law. Each of those modules originates many other contents.


1 - What is law? Fundamentals of Theory of Law.


Rules, their structure and classes.  Rules and principles. Primary and secondary rules.  The logic of law. Vagueness, imprecision and other formal properties.


2 - Is there any moral content in law? Law, Morality and Religion.


Law, morality, religion and social traditions. Natural law, positivism. Formalism, realism, normativism.


3 - Is it compulsory to obey the law? The matter of dissent.


Law and justice. Obedience to law. Theories of civil disobedience. Voluntarism and the hypothesis of consent. Legal utilitarianism. Kantian perspective.


4 - Is punishment justified? If so, what punishment is fair? Why?


Penal proportionality. Neutrality of the law. Paternalism and protectionism. The liberal theory. Dignity and authority.


5 - Should judges interpret law? How?


Application of law, legal interpretation and legal argumentation



6 ¿ Law, Theory of Democracy and Human Rights.


Human rights. Law, sovereignty and cosmopolitanism. The role of values¿¿. Legal and political constitutionalism. 




Access the bibliography that your professor has requested from the Library.

  There is not an official textbook for the subject. The notes taken in class should be sufficient to pass the final test in January.   Secondary bibliography will be provided every day with each topic. You should use that bibliography to prepare your final paper.  You can use the following books as an introduction to the course: ¿ Philosophy of Law: a very short introduction. Raymond Wacks. Oxford University Press, 2006.  ¿ Arguing About Law, Aileen Kavanagh and John Oberdiek. Routledge, 2009.  







See assigned classroom.