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Law: concepts and perspectives

This OU level 1 module is taught entirely online and builds your knowledge of the concepts of law, law making and the legal skills gained in An introduction to law (W101). This module considers a range of key legal principles and concepts and the role they play in modern society. It looks at different legal systems and traditions and considers the role and place of international law. You'll work through the module using a blend of online text materials, audio, video, and interactive online activities.

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. 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'll explore the meaning of justice in a legal system, and the features of a just legal system. You'll also be asked to think about the role and nature of the law and key legal concepts and the relationship between law and morality.

Professional recognition

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.

Entry requirements

This is a key introductory OU level 1 module and you should have studied An introduction to law (W101)(now discontinued) before commencing this module. Studying the modules in this order will ensure you've acquired the legal knowledge, understanding of legal terminology and legal study skills needed for successful study of W102.

OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for study at OU levels 2 and 3. By the end of the module you'll be expected to be working at the level required of first-year undergraduate students.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • module materials
  • interactive activities
  • audio and video content
  • interactive online activities
  • assessment guide
  • online tutorials and forums.

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

A desktop or laptop computer with either an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

While you study this module you will be supported by your tutor in face to face and online tutorials. Your tutor will facilitate online discussions with your fellow students in your tutor group forum and will be available for individual queries and help if you need it. Your tutor will also mark your tutor marked assignments and give you feedback on your progress. 

We aim to provide face-to-face tutorials in a range of locations students can travel to, though we cannot guarantee availability close to where you live, in specific locations, or locations that have been used previously. Student numbers on the module, and where tutors are based, will affect the locations of where tutorials are held, and what online alternatives are provided. Recordings will typically be made available to students. While you’re not obliged to attend any of these tutorial events, you are strongly encouraged to take part.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying W102 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Law: concepts and perspectives starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2021 when we expect it to start for the last time.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (iCMA)
No examination
No residential school

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