Cyber Law

Assessment task details and instructions


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Task details:


“Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and – as it did here – inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker. As a nation we have chosen a different course – to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure we do not stifle public debate”.

(Chief Justice Roberts, Snyder v Phelps, 131 S. Ct. 1207 (2011) at 1220)


Discuss this statement with reference to the regulation of online speech in Europe and the US.





In this essay-style assignment you are expected to look at the law relating to freedom of expression in both the US and Europe focusing in particular on the First Amendment to the US Constitution and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. You should analyse the challenges posed by internet speech in general and social media in particular. Review the lecture and seminar materials on cyber-speech before writing your answer.  As well as legal analysis, you should consider fully the political, technological, philosophical and economic implications of the debate over freedom of expression.


Read carefully both the written and online guides to the OSCOLA referencing. Improper referencing results in lower marks.


Your answer must be word-processed using Microsoft Word. All assessments must be written in Arial or Calibri font, 12pt with 1.5 spacing.  Please put page numbers at the bottom of your script.


Assessed intended learning outcomes


On successful completion of this assessment, you will be able to:


Knowledge and Understanding

1. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the legal issues pertinent on the internet and the relevant legal provisions and case law.

2. Critically evaluate theories, arguments, assumptions, concepts and data concerning the regulation of human behaviour in cyberspace.

3. Exhibit awareness of the challenges that the Internet has brought to certain areas of law.

4. Recognise and distinguish those areas of cyberlaw that entail further research potential.

5. Given the global reach of the Internet, and its decentralised and trans-jurisdictional nature, recognise that particular problems must also be considered within a broader world view.


Transferable Skills and other Attributes

1. Demonstrate key professional skills, such as conducting legal research and taking part in critical discussion/debate.

2. Develop increased competence in the use of a range of legal (and some non-legal) research sources, in both paper and electronic format.

3. Identify legal and practical problems, and form solutions to them (which can involve recognition that sometimes answers cannot be definitive)

4. Make decisions in complex and (sometimes) unpredictable situations/contexts.

5. Develop further as an independent learner.



Module Aims

1. To consider how various forms of control are applied within the complex and flexible environment of cyberspace.

2. To critically examine the underlying rationales for regulating the Internet, and critically evaluate the means of Internet regulation (how can (and should) it be done, and by whom?).

3. To analyse the impact of the Internet on certain areas of law (e.g. Contract, Crime, Freedom of Speech/Expression, Privacy, Intellectual Property).

4. To identify, and then explore, areas of international agreement and discord on Internet regulation and governance.

5. To further develop students’ ability to manage their own learning and make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources.

Word count

Your assessment should be maximum 2,500 words, including references but excluding bibliography.


You must include a word count with your work.


NB: The bibliography is NOT included within the word count. However, footnotes ARE INCLUDED within the word count.


There is a 10% leeway permitted if needed, thus you may exceed the word count within said 10% which amounts to NO MORE than 2750 total words.


If the words exceed 2750, then markers will cease considering content for the purpose of grading and feedback once the stated maximum length has been exceeded and award marks ONLY on the basis of work within the stated acceptable upper limit of length.


In addition please also note that any false misrepresentation of the assessment word count within the required coversheet will amount to academic misconduct, and thus subject to the University academic misconduct procedure which can be found via the following link:


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