Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3145: Law, Digital Media and Cinema

This module descriptor refers to the 2013/4 academic year.


NQF Level 7.5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Thanos Zartaloudis (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


Law has always existed in and depended upon images for its public presence and relay. Advocacy, outside and inside courtrooms, increasingly depends not simply upon argument or protest but upon supporting images. Visual literacy is fast becoming crucial to the study and practice of law and in this module you will take up that challenge by addressing in detail the development of relevant film-making, the skills and tools, as well as the critical apprehension necessary to the thinking of law in relation to digital material and cinema in particular. The new media and their novel forms of optical apparatus affect not only our apprehension of law, but also the very concepts of cultural and constitutional citizenship, modes of advocacy, content and style of judgments. Thus, you will then proceed to widen the horizon of the exploration in your study by considering how law thinks in comparison to how film thinks. Through such an exploration surprising similarities (deciding a case versus editing a film) and crucial differences (legal normativity versus artistic norms) emerge that aid a rethinking not only of how we learn and think of law but also of how we experience and think of film as such. Finally the course will introduce students to basic film production, editing, framing and structure in order to aid their visual advocacy skills and assist them in producing short films as an option to their assessment.

Topics you will cover in this module include: Film theory and technique; Images of justice, order, disorder, violence and punishment; Images as evidence; Crimes against humanity and cinema; Human Rights and documentary film; Law, advocacy and terrorism.

The module will be an optional module on the second year of the LLB and is suitable to non-specialist students. It is recommended to those wishing to specialise in criminal law and human rights law in the future; those who may wish to work with non-governmental organizations; and also those who wish to gain a greater interdisciplinary understanding of law within the humanities and in particular of critical debates in law and the digital and cinematic media overall. 

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