What are the markers looking for?
Knowledge and understanding
Your essay needs to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the relevant legislation and case law, including the Equality Act 2010, as well as the context in which that law has been developed and applied.
Analysis, evaluation and critique
It is not enough to simply describe the legislative provisions and cases. The marker will be looking to see that you can analyse the underlying values or rationale of the law, and evaluate its effectiveness.
You will need to draw on relevant theoretical perspectives (e.g. models of justice and equality, intersectionality, feminist theory, theories of judicial discretion, theories of rights etc.) in order to do so.
Your essay should also develop a clear line of argument. Dont simply report the various critiques and commentary of other scholars, you need to take a view yourself and make that view explicit. Do you agree with what the question is proposing? If so, why? If not, why not? You can then draw on scholarship that supports your argument, as well as engaging with scholarship that counters your argument and explaining why you dont find it persuasive.
Evidence and illustrative examples
Make sure you use evidence and examples to back up the claims you make. This could include data e.g. statistics or qualitative research findings taken from academic articles, government reports, third sector organisations, or other appropriate, credible sources. When using data you should always cite the original source of that data, not a secondary source such as a newspaper article reporting on data collected by an organisation.
You may also use illustrative examples to help you explain the argument you are making e.g. the facts of a particular case may help you to demonstrate how the law operates and how it could be different. You may also use hypothetical examples or incidents reported in the news for this purpose. When using examples you must make it clear what point the example demonstrates and how it relates to your overall argument.
Relevance and focus
Stay focused throughout your essay. When you read through the first draft, ask yourself does each paragraph flow logically from the previous? How does it relate to the question? Is it adding to your overall argument?
Make sure you use a good range of sources (both academic and non-academic, legal and non-legal). Remember however that websites, blogs etc. are not a substitute for good academic commentary found in books and peer reviewed journals. You need to think about the reliability and credibility of any sources you cite and also the relevance of those sources Who wrote the text? For what purpose? Who checked, edited and approved it for publication? When was it published? Is this text relevant to a UK context? Are parts of the analysis relevant to the UK even if the text is focused on a different jurisdiction? In seminar 4 we will be talking about different types of sources and how to select and use appropriate sources materials to back up your arguments.
You must cite all the sources you use consistently and accurately, failure to do so amounts to plagiarism which could result in an academic misconduct hearing. Please refer to the SLS guide to referencing and the workshop on plagiarism and referencing, both available on Study Direct > Important Information for Law Students > Assessment Matters.
Make sure you express yourself clearly and that your essay as a whole has a coherent structure. You should also proof read carefully to make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors.