Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Principles of Information Law

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Information Policy and Governance

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will permit students to identify and understand the relationships between those different areas of law, such as constitutional law including human rights law, criminal law, civil law and ICT law which are especially pertinent to media and communications studies.

By the end of the unit students should be able to better understand flows of information in society, their impact on the distribution of wealth and power in society, as well as the role of policy and law in regulating such information flows.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to provide students with a cognitive map of law that includes traditional disciplines and sub-disciplines within law. This incorporates constitutional law, human rights law, criminal law, civil law, commercial law, public international law, private international law, and the relationship of these to information law

The study-unit also aims to make clearer the role of law in regulating interpersonal behaviour, sources of law and categories of information flows in society and intersection of information policy and governance.

One of the main aims of the study-unit is to convey to students the fundamental human rights in the context of constitutional law. This includes, the developments from 1948 through 1950, 1955, 1966, 1981, 2000, 2016; the free development of personality and the tripod of the information-related human rights: privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of information, international law developments in information law; and the fundamentals of constitutional law.

The fund of criminal law is explained in this study-unit.

Other aims of the unit include a communications student’s perspective on media law and its context: freedom of expression; Privacy and data protection law; Freedom of information law; Technical innovation, media technologies, and the Internet (problems of self-publication, lack of clear application of quality-assurance procedures normally imposed by media law, reputation, jurisdiction and territoriality).

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Distinguish between different branches of law;
- Identify different flows of information within society;
- Understand basic legal implications of info flows, especially in relationship to fundamental human rights;law, data protection law, criminal law, and media law;
- Develop an applied understanding of information flows within ICTs, especially broadcast and Internet technologies.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Locate sources of law;
- Identify info law issues within info flows;
- Apply info law knowledge to media and communications contexts;
- Know whom to refer in a number of specific media and comm situations.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- James Holland and Julian Webb, Learning Legal Rules: A Students’ Guide to Legal Method and Reasoning, Eighth Edition, Oxford University Press, 2013.

Supplementary Readings:

- Winterton, Jules; Moys, Elizabeth M (editors). Information Sources in Law. Second Edition. Bowker-Saur. 1997.
- Peter Clinch. Legal Information: What it is and Where to Find it. Second Edition. Aslib. 2005.
- Tunkel, Victor. Legal Research: Law-Finding and Problem-Solving. Blackstone Press Limited. 1992.
- Jeanne Rehberg and Radu D Popa (editors). Accidental Tourist on the New Frontier: A Introductory Guide to Global Legal Research. Fred B Rothman Publications. 1998. Second Printing 1999.
- David Joseph Attard, The Maltese Legal System, Volume 1, Introduction. Malta University Press, 2013 (revised edition).
- Diane Rowland, Uta Kohl, Andrew Charlesworth, Information Technology Law, Routledge (5th ed.), 2016.
- Cleland Thom and Jennie Harborth, Online Law for Journalists: A practical guide for journalists, bloggers and communicators. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Seminar Paper SEM1 Yes 20%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Joseph Cannataci (Co-ord.)
Antonio Ghio
Peter Grech
Michael Tanti Dougall

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.