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Barrister going to court

Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB)

Studying law is stimulating in its own right and knowing how laws are made, legal rights and duties and how law impacts upon society will help you to understand society and your own role within it. By the end of your degree, you’ll have the legal knowledge to understand and apply the law, together with skills of legal analysis. This law degree will be valuable preparation to enable you to acquire the knowledge and skills needed for a legal career and offers the flexibility to tailor your study according to whether you wish to gain a Qualifying Law Degree to become a barrister in England or Wales, or solicitor or barrister in Northern Ireland, or progress to take the national Solicitors Qualifying Examination to become a solicitor in England and Wales.

Key features of the course

  • Gives you an understanding of the role and place of law in today’s society.
  • Offers practical experience through an online law clinic and other online projects.
  • Provides specific routes to suit different career aspirations.
  • Offers the opportunity to cover the seven ‘Foundations of Legal Knowledge’ required for a Qualifying Law Degree, or prepare you for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination.

If you want to become a barrister in England and Wales, or either a barrister or solicitor in Northern Ireland, you will need to complete this degree within six years.

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course



  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with an introduction to criminal law and the criminal justice system, followed by tort law and civil justice.
  • At Stage 2, you’ll build on your knowledge of contract law and public law then choose two modules to focus on aspects of law that are of particular interest.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, your modules will be determined by whether you choose either the Academic law degree route, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination route for prospective solicitors in England and Wales or the Qualifying Law Degree route for prospective barristers in England and Wales or barristers and solicitors in Northern Ireland.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module.See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll begin by focusing on a range of criminal offences as well as addressing themes of law reform, human rights and issues relevant to the Criminal Justice System of England and Wales. You’ll then develop an understanding of the range of civil laws, as well as the operation of the civil justice system and explore various torts including negligence, nuisance and defamation.

We strongly advise you study one module per year. However, if you wish to study on a full-time basis you can start with W111 in October and then W112 in February 2022 enabling you to complete both modules within a year.

You'll study both of the following:
Criminal law and the courts (W111)60
Civil justice and tort law (W112)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

You’ll begin this stage by the studying law of relations between individuals and the state before learning how contracts are formed, their contractual terms and how they end. To complete this stage you'll choose two modules that focus on particular aspects of law that are of the most interest or relevance to your career.

You'll study both of the following:
Public law (W211) – planned for October 202230
Contract law (W212) – planned for October 202230
You’ll also study two from the following:
Business and employment law (W240) – planned for February 202330
Evidence law (W250)* – planned for February 202330
Family law (W230) – planned for February 202330
International, environmental and space law (W260) – planned for February 202330
*Students who intend to progress to an LLB and aim to be a solicitor or barrister in Northern Ireland will need to study this module.

Stage 3 (120 credits)

To conclude your degree you’ll have the flexibility to tailor your study to gain a law degree either as an academic law degree, a Qualifying Law Degree to become a barrister in England and Wales, progress to take Part 1 of the national Solicitors Qualifying Examination in England and Wales, or become either a solicitor or barrister in Northern Ireland.

Qualifying Law Degree/Northern Ireland route
You’ll study all of the following:
European Union law (W330)30
Land law (W312) – planned for February 202430
Trusts law (W311) – planned for October 202330
You’ll also study one of the following:
Exploring legal boundaries (W350)30
Justice in action (W360)30
Law, society and culture (W340)30
Academic Law Degree
You’ll study the following:
Trusts law (W311) – planned for October 202330
You’ll also study three of the following:
European Union law (W330)30
Exploring legal boundaries (W350)30
Justice in action (W360)30
Law, society and culture (W340)30
Land law (W312) – planned for February 202430
Solicitors Qualifying Examination route
You’ll study the following:
SQE: legal system, public law and criminal litigation (W321) – planned for October 202330
SQE: property and private client law (W322) – planned for February 202430
SQE: business law and dispute resolution (W323) – planned for February 202430
You’ll also study one of the following:
European Union law (W330)30
Justice in action (W360)30
Law, society and culture (W340)30
Trusts law (W311) – planned for October 202330

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 09 August 2021.


We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. This Bachelor of Laws uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mix of printed and online material. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
  • working with specialist reading material
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • using specialist software 
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
  • continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
  • using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance 
  • engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding.
  • Cognitive skills.
  • Practical and professional skills.
  • Key skills.

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you’ve already completed some university-level study somewhere else, you may be able to count it towards this qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. For more details and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB).

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you’ll need to succeed. If you’re not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you’re ready for study success

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Preparing for study with an Access module

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You'll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,168*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,336*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £19,008*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.

Skills for career development

As independent learners, law graduates have developed literacy, communication, presentation, numeracy, cognitive and organisational skills, and can apply an academically coherent methodology to current debates in law. This is excellent preparation for a career as a legal professional and is also an asset for many careers such as roles in finance, commerce, human resources, education, local and central government, the voluntary sector or management.

Career relevance

Studying law opens up many career options, whether in law or law-related fields, including solicitor, barrister, legal executive and paralegal. Solicitors and barristers usually work in private practice, in central or local government, commerce, industry, the armed forces or in professional bodies.

As well as having a degree solicitors in England and Wales will need to pass the national Solicitors Qualifying Examination before completing qualifying work experience.

Barristers in England and Wales, or solicitors and barristers in Northern Ireland, will need to have a Qualifying Law Degree and then complete further vocational training (Bar Course or Institute of Legal Practice Course) and a period of work experience (pupillage for barristers or apprenticeship for solicitors in Northern Ireland).

Other relevant jobs include Citizens Advice Bureau caseworker, Crown Prosecution Service caseworker, magistrates’ court legal adviser, court reporter or administrator, licensed conveyancer, patent attorney, trademark agent, teacher, or lecturer in law.


This qualification is recognised as a Qualifying Law Degree by the Bar Standards Board and the Council of Legal Education (Northern Ireland). This will exempt you from the academic stage of training for barristers in England and Wales and solicitors and barristers in Northern Ireland.

Other careers

The knowledge and skills you will gain from studying this degree are recognised and highly respected by employers outside the legal profession. Roles in finance, human resources, local government or general management all benefit from a legal background and from the discipline of studying law.

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience.

  • solicitor
  • barrister
  • barrister's clerk
  • legal executive
  • paralegal
  • judge
  • usher
  • researcher
  • legal cashier
  • legal secretary
  • civil servant
  • company secretary
  • teacher
  • patent attorney
  • tax adviser.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 09/12/2021

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