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Law making in Scotland

This module introduces the Scottish Legal System and considers its distinctive nature. Scots law and Scottish lawyers have significantly influenced law and law making beyond Scotland's border. The module provides opportunities to explore this influence, both within the UK and internationally. Individuals play an important part in the legal system, and the role of those working within the Scottish Legal System and the role played by individuals in law making more widely is discussed. The module also provides an opportunity to learn about the role and function of the Scottish Parliament and Courts. The relationship between the Scottish and UK Parliament is considered, as is the impact of UK Supreme Court decisions. Throughout the module, there are activities designed to develop important legal and study skills and build confidence in using them.

Standalone study only

This module is available for standalone study only. Any credits from this module cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.


Module 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.

Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
Level of Study
1 7 4

Study method

Module cost

Entry requirements

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What you will study

The module is divided into two parts.

Part 1
During the first part, there is an element of choice. You'll choose three of the following topics to study before considering study and legal skills in more detail.

Scottish courts and the law

Here you consider the role courts play in society by ensuring that justice is done and seen to be done. You'll explore the function and purpose of the courts in Scotland and consider the way in which cases come to court, the difference between the criminal and civil justice systems, the separation of powers, how individuals may become involved with the court system, the alternatives to courts that have emerged in recent decades and possibilities for the future.

The Scottish Parliament and law making

In this topic, you'll consider the role of the Scottish Parliament in its law making. You explore how and why laws are made by both the Scottish and UK Parliaments. You'll learn about the meaning of specific terms such as devolved matters, reserved matters, legislative competence, and subordinate legislation and consider the changes in the legal culture of Scotland, which took place at the end of the twentieth century. You'll also be introduced to the skills of reading Bills and Acts of Parliament and learn about how citizens can become involved in the law-making process.

Legal skills and debates in Scotland

Legal skills are an important and transferable aspect of legal study. Here you consider the role of law and legal skills and consider how the development of new laws reflects changes in society. You'll learn to read legislation, court judgments and explore the art of legal writing and providing reasoned opinions. You'll consider a leading case in the law of delict, and using this as a basis, you'll explore how laws are applied and interpreted by lawyers and the judiciary.

Society and the law: Scottish legal heroes

Law plays an important role in society. A role that extends beyond parliaments and the courts. Here you consider how law has been used to respond to developments in society and explore whether it should influence them. You'll look at how Scotland has influenced the development of laws at a national and global level, with examples of how individuals, institutions and organisations have made a difference by challenging the law or legal system. In this you'll learn how the Scottish Legal System is highly regarded on the international stage. You'll consider how words such as principled, integrity, conscience, duty, justice, and fairness are used in relation to law and legal systems and their relevance in contemporary Scotland.

Part 2
The second part of the module is divided into five blocks. Each block is designed to consolidate knowledge and develop important transferrable study skills. The blocks cover evaluating sources of information, reading for academic study, critical thinking and persuasive writing. Reflective skills from an essential start of study and opportunities are also provided for reflection.

Studying this module
To provide you with greater flexibility, Part 1 of the module is available on the OU’s free-to-access platform OpenLearn and can be accessed at any time. This approach has been chosen as it enables students to choose to study over a timeframe that meets their individual study needs.

Studying Part 1 should be completed prior to the February in which you intend to enrol. You will need to keep your completion badges as proof of study.

You will learn

By studying this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how law is made in Scotland
  • analyse, explain and evaluate Scottish law making and Scottish legal culture
  • select, interpret, and communicate information relevant to law making in Scotland in a way appropriate to your subject, purpose and audience
  • demonstrate  digital literacy, using digital tools for learning and working
  • articulate and engage with relevant legal and ethical issues
  • demonstrate insight into personal goals, preferences and aptitudes.

Vocational relevance

This module develops a number of key transferable skills, such as developing a persuasive argument, digital literacy skills and reflective learning.

Teaching and assessment

Study support

You will have support of a study advisor and access to an online forum for discussion and advice.

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


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

Part 1 is assessed through online quizzes which you can complete in your own time. Part 2 requires you to submit a short piece of written work as the end-of-module assessment.

Future availability

Law making in Scotland starts once a year – in February. This page describes the module that will start in February 2025 when we expect it to start for the last time. 


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

Course work includes:

End-of-module assessment

Entry requirements

To study Part 2 of this module, you must have completed Part 1 and obtained statements of participation on completion of each topic. You will be required to provide proof of this prior to starting this module. 

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact the OU in Scotland.


Start End England fee Register
01 Feb 2025 Apr 2025 £606.00

Registration closes 09/01/25 (places subject to availability)

February 2025 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

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 receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Joint loan applications

If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and, therefore, the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules

This information was provided on 22/07/2024.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of not more than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

You will have access to the module website.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying WXM151 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.