Practitioners tasked with dealing with requests for disclosure of information face a multitude of legal provisions. The Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 together with the common law duty of confidence and the right to privacy protected by European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms combine to form an increasingly complex and seemingly contradictory framework.
The Information Rights programme developed by Northumbria University in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice is the first postgraduate qualification designed to unravel the complexities of these 'information rights'.
This programme aims to respond to the specific needs of information rights practitioners, providing a structured framework within which they can acquire and update knowledge whilst gaining a qualification that recognises their specialist expertise. It also recognises the importance of effective records management and information handling. This programme is therefore likely to be attractive both to practitioners specifically charged with processing information and other professionals working in environments where information is held, including central and local government, health and education.
Completing further qualifications on a distance learning basis, whether certificated individual modules, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or a full LLM, offers clear benefits to students who are working full-time. Northumbria University students praise the support that it offers to its distance learning students, through online databases, structured course materials, written guidance and its team of academic and administrative staff. Optional study days which take place each semester facilitate discussion of the legal and practical issues affecting practitioners.
Information Rights Law and Practice is studied by distance learning. It offers a choice of options for acquiring knowledge and attaining a qualification in information rights. Students may enrol on individual modules, attend single study days or study for a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Masters in Law (LLM).
Those who wish to obtain a postgraduate qualification but who do not have the necessary qualifications for the LLM may initially enrol upon the Certificate. Students who successfully complete the Certificate will have the opportunity to take the Diploma. All students can exit the course with a Postgraduate Certificate after nine months, upon successful completion of three compulsory modules. Students who wish to exit with the Postgraduate Diploma must complete the five core modules plus one optional module, over 18 months.
Those successfully completing the diploma can continue towards an LLM. Students wishing to gain the LLM complete a project in a related topic of their choice. Students are allocated an individual project supervisor who is able to provide guidance in relation to the research methodology, structure, presentation and other aspects of research and project writing.
The taught part of the programme includes the following modules:
# Legal research and study skills
# Foundations of information rights
# Data protection
# Freedom of information
# Access to environmental information
# Freedom of information: managing records for legal and regulatory compliance
# Access to European Union information
# Data protection, confidentiality and medical issues
# Children and young people - information sharing
# Information as intellectual property
# Information in employment law
# Media and privacy law
Options may not always be available.
Students will be provided with a set of study materials for each taught module, containing detailed information, self-test questions and case studies and supplemented where appropriate by a textbook and materials book.
COURSEWORK AND ASSESSMENT
Each module is assessed, usually by means of an essay and/or online workshops. There are no exams.
This programme commences every February and applicants should endeavour to submit their application by early January.
Late applications will be considered subject to availability of places. Candidates should also be aware that due to postal delays beyond the control of the Law School, it may take up to six weeks for an overseas application to be finalized. This may delay the start of the programme. We strongly recommend that candidates apply as soon as possible.
Year 1 Modules
LA0295 Legal Research and Study Skills [LL.M IRLP&P] (CORE, 10 Credits)
LA0296 Foundations of Information Rights (CORE, 30 Credits)
LA0297 Freedom of Information (CORE, 20 Credits)
LA0298 Data Protection (CORE, 20 Credits)
Year 2 Modules
LA0299 Access to Environmental Information (CORE, 20 Credits)
LA0300 Confidentiality And Medical Issues (OPTION, 20 Credits)
LA0301 Access to European Union Information (OPTION, 20 Credits)
LA0302 Information Rights and Employment Law (OPTION, 20 Credits)
LA0303 Children and Young Persons: Sharing Information (OPTION, 20 Credits)
LA0304 Information as Intellectual Property (OPTION, 20 Credits)
LA0306 Project (CORE, 60 Credits)
LA0325 Media Law and Privacy (OPTION, 20 Credits)