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Civil justice and tort law

Qualification dates
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By studying this module you’ll gain an understanding of the range of the laws under the civil law, as well as the operation of the civil justice system. You’ll develop knowledge and skills of issues relating to law-making in England and Wales, including key underpinnings of principles and actors operating in the legal system, as well as issues relating to access to justice and alternative dispute resolution. This module will also cover the substantive legal subject of tort law. A range of torts will be explored including negligence, nuisance, and defamation.

What you will study

This module covers a range of topics relating to the operation of the civil law system in England and Wales, and it also covers the substantive law subject of tort law.

You’ll be introduced to the operation of the civil law system in England and Wales, including looking at a range of areas of law which come under the umbrella term ‘civil law’. The civil law court system will be covered, as well as modern developments in the administration of civil justice. Key underpinnings of the legal system will be discussed, such as legal reasoning and legal precedent, as well as the role of various actors within the legal profession, including litigants and legal practitioners. You’ll have the opportunity to consider the ethical issue of some people being unable to obtain access to justice through the courts. You'll also consider wider critical approaches to understanding how the law is interpreted, including how issues such as judicial bias or policy can affect the development of the law.

You’ll also be introduced to a range of case law and legislation in the dynamic and constantly growing area of tort law. You’ll learn about a range of torts, such as negligence, which forms the basis of a lot of litigation including, for example, relating to car accidents and personal injury claims. The torts of nuisance and defamation will also be covered. Alternative approaches to tortious liability drawn from different jurisdictions from across the world will also be explored.

Through the module you'll be given the opportunity to engage with problem solving scenarios to test your ability to apply case law and legislation to a range of issues and aid the development of your skills as a lawyer. You will also be given the opportunity to critically engage with legal arguments through analysis of academic materials and reflect on improvements which can be made to the existing law.

You'll develop several skills when undertaking this module, such as in communication, research, information technology, self-reflection, and critical analysis. In engaging with this module, you will have the opportunity to develop skills germane to a career as a legal professional. These skills are transferable to several contexts for a new prospective career, or in your current employment in business, local and national government, education, charitable and non-governmental organisations, or other public facing and regulatory roles.

Professional recognition

If you are intending to use this module as part of the LLB, and hope to enter the legal professions, you should carefully read the careers information on our Careers page. There are different entry regulations into the legal profession 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 meet these requirements.

Entry requirements

OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for higher education and distance learning. It will give you the foundation knowledge and study skills to study law at a more advanced level (OU levels 2 and 3). By the end of your OU level 1 studies you will be expected to be working at the level required of first-year undergraduate students.

What's included

You will be provided with the textbook Tort law (Horsey and Rackley) and have access to a module website, which includes:
  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assignment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access.

Computing requirements

You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Online tutorials will be provided and recordings of these 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.

You will also have a selection of additional online tutorials focussing on direct study support, library skills and specific assessment support.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying W112 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

Civil justice and tort law starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in February 2022. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2029.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
No examination
No residential school