What you will study
The module explores the wider role of law in society and the international community by considering different legal systems and traditions. It considers civil law, common law and national systems and discusses the nature of legal obligations.
Having set the wider context the module then explores the nature and role of a justice system. This is done by consideration of criminal and civil justice systems, their role, purpose, operation and function. The key concepts of rights and responsibilities are explored by considering both criminal and civil liability. This is built on through a discussion of the provision of legal services and an exploration of the issues surrounding access to the justice. Case studies are used at intervals throughout the module to highlight the relevance and application of key principles.
The module ends by considering key concepts which underpin a range of legal thinking. This section of the module explores human rights, the international human rights framework, the relationship between law and morality and the philosophical foundations of the concept of justice. Here examples will be used to encourage reflection on practical situations. These subjects have been deliberately placed here to encourage you to think about the wider role played by law, its changing nature and impact.
Throughout the module you will explore the meaning of justice in a legal system, and the features of a just legal system. You will also be asked to think about the role and nature of the law and key legal concepts and the relationship between law and morality.
You will learn
An integral aspect of this module is the development of legal and other study skills. These will enhance your ability to reason, explain, and present an argument. They will also enable you to challenge accepted ideas and practices. You will be expected to become a critical thinker and also spend time reflecting on your own learning and progress.
The development of skills forms an essential and integral part of legal study. The thinking, reasoning and organisational skills developed through academic legal study are highly sought after and valued.
Students will be challenged to become critical thinkers rather than participants who absorb and process material to reach an outcome.
In addition to the knowledge you will gain from this module you will also develop essential legal study skills. This includes the ability to:
- read and discuss legal information
- use legal material and other sources appropriately, including the application of appropriate referencing
- use legal authority and legal principles appropriately
- identify and use appropriate primary and secondary sources of law and legal information
- correctly reference and cite relevant material including case and statute law
- interpret, describe and apply legal principles and legal authority in a logical and coherent way
- interpret, analyse and use different kinds of evidence and sources of law
- research legal issues using legal databases, the internet and other relevant sources
- understand and engage with legal debates and arguments.
The module is also designed to develop a range of general skills which form part of study at this level and which aid the development of your legal skills. The ability to communicate effectively in writing is an essential skill for a law student and the module has been designed to develop the skills listed below throughout the module and your study of each unit. You will be provided with the opportunity to learn how to:
- read information, identify relevant points and take notes and make summaries in a manner appropriate to the task
- present and structure information clearly and accurately using language appropriate for the intended audience
- select, synthesise and interrogate materials to develop an argument
- analyse and apply knowledge to different situations to develop a reasoned and impartial argument and/or to identify potential solutions
- identify and analyse conflicting accounts, interpretations or points of view.
- manage tasks and solve problems
- make appropriate and professional use of IT including presentation of word processed documents, and use of electronic communications and websites
- plan and adapt a search, and record the results accurately
- engage in appropriate and effective communication online
- use appropriate quality criteria to filter results from a given search output
- apply digital techniques to conduct and share research
- apply a suitable method for managing a large volume of information
- discuss and understand information from a table, graph, pie chart or bar chart.
- compare and contrast statistics contained within different sources
- assess the use of statistics in different reports
- work effectively including managing your time to ensure deadlines are met
- reflect, assess and learn from your own studies
- accept and respond to constructive feedback
- develop as an independent learner and reflect on own development as a learner
- act independently in planning and undertaking tasks and solving problems
- manage your own time effectively.
The module develops vocationally-orientated skills that are transferable to the job market: good written and communication skills; reaching reasoned conclusions; critical thinking; ability to analyse, synthesise, reflect on and present arguments; and problem solving and evaluating issues.
If you are intending to use this module as part of the LLB, and you hope to enter the Legal Professions, you should read carefully the careers information on The Open University Law School website. There are different entry regulations into the legal professions in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. You should read the information on the website as it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet these requirements.