What you will study
The module is divided into five sections covering a range of topics and providing an element of choice. Students study three of the following four topics: The Scottish Parliament and law making, Scottish Courts and the law, legal skills and debates in Scotland, Society and the law: Scottish Legal Heroes, before moving on to consider study and legal skills in more detail.
Scottish courts and the law
Here you consider the role courts play society in 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
Here the role of the Scottish Parliament in its law making is considered. 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, subordinate legislation and consider changes in the legal culture of Scotland which took place at the end of the twentieth century. You'll also be introduced to reading Bills and Acts 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 read legislation, court judgments, learn about the art of legal writing and reasoned opinion and 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 legislatures 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. You'll consider how words such as principled, integrity, conscience, duty, justice, fairness are used in relation to law and legal systems and their relevance in contemporary Scotland.
The final section of the course is divided into five blocks which cover evaluating sources of information, reading for academic study, critical thinking and persuasive writing. Reflective skills from an important start of study and opportunities are also provided for reflection.
WXM151 is accessed via the OU’s VLE. In addition, four of the five sections of the module are also available on OpenLearn the OU’s free to access platform. These are The Scottish Parliament and law making, Scottish Courts and the law, legal skills and debates in Scotland, Society and the law: Scottish Legal Heroes. These can be accessed at any time and students should keep their completion badges as proof of study.
Study of your choice of three from the sections: The Scottish Parliament and law making, Scottish courts and the law, Legal skills and debates in Scotland, Society and the law: Scottish legal heroes, should be completed prior to the February for which you intend to enrol. This can either be achieved through OpenLearn study or by early registration. This approach has been chosen as it enables students to choose to study over a timeframe that meets their individual study needs.
You will learn
From 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, communicate information relevant to law making in Scotland in a way appropriate to your subject, purpose and audience
- digital literacy, use digital tools for learning and working
- articulate and engage with relevant legal and ethical issues
- demonstrate insight into personal goals, preferences and aptitudes.
This module develops a number of key transferable skills such as developing a persuasive argument, digital literacy skills and reflective learning.