SQE: business law and dispute resolution
This module covers a range of relevant SQE 1 functioning legal knowledge in the areas of business law and practice, contract, tort and dispute resolution. Alongside gaining knowledge of these areas, you’ll have the opportunity to develop legal and transferable skills (including communication, research and numeracy) professional behaviours and commercial awareness. The module aims to deliver substantive and procedural law in a highly engaging and authentic way. This should support you if you’re preparing for SQE1 and enhance your employability.
What you will study
The module is divided into the following three parts:
Part 1: Law on business practice
This begins by exploring what is involved in starting up a new business. You’ll consider and analyse the features of certain business structures with a focus on legal partnerships and the associated rules, and limited liability companies. You’ll look at how such companies are formed and managed. You’ll learn more about the role of directors and shareholders of a company and explore their respective rights, duties, interests and powers. You’ll then consider the legal mechanisms for resolving disagreements between these parties.
You’ll look at how businesses are financed and the legal regime that applies when a business gets into financial difficulty. You’ll understand how trading profits are assessed and reliefs applied. You’ll then apply this knowledge to calculate income tax. You’ll also consider the scope and nature of VAT. Finally, you’ll be taken through the calculation of capital gains tax and how to apply business property relief to inheritance tax.
Part 2: Law of obligations – contract law and tort law
You'll touch on contract formation and explore in depth four key aspects of contract law: frustration, mistake, discharge and remedies. This will be followed by brief consideration of the law on negligence before exploring other areas of tortious liability such as employers’, vicarious and product liability and nuisance (public and private) in more depth.
Part 3: Law relevant to dispute resolution
You'll begin by evaluating the different options available for dispute resolution. This will be followed by a step-by-step study of the processes involved in bringing a civil case to trial and the applicable law. This includes:
- the key issues that must be considered when bringing court proceedings.
- how to commence court proceedings.
- how to respond to and defend a claim and the importance of observing specified time limits.
- the meaning and purpose of interim applications in court proceedings and the nature of summary judgments.
- the role of the courts in managing the timetable of a case.
- the rules surrounding use of evidence in civil cases and the duty of disclosure.
- the rules governing costs, and the conduct and outcome of a civil trial.
Throughout the module you will have opportunities to reinforce and consolidate knowledge, and develop skills, through a variety of shorter and longer activities. The longer activities are designed to simulate a virtual working experience by setting the sorts of tasks typically undertaken by those training for a career in law. At the end of each unit of study there’s a consolidation activity comprising multiple choice questions, modelled on the approach taken in SQE1. You will be encouraged to reflect on ethical and professional conduct issues throughout the module and note the increasing role of technology in legal practice.
The Foundations of Legal Knowledge (FLK) route of the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB) (graduate entry) will be accredited by the Council of Legal Education (Northern Ireland) as a recognised law degree, subject to time limits, exempting you from the academic stage of legal training to become a barrister or solicitor in Northern Ireland.
Completing the FLK route within the specified time limits will enable you to self certify that you have fulfilled the requirements set by the Bar Standards Board to be exempt from the academic stage of training if you wish to become a barrister in England and Wales.
You must have successfully completed 60 credits of legal study from OU level 2 modules prior to studying this OU level 3 module. If you will be studying this module as part of the:
- Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (R81) or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (graduate entry) (R82) you must have completed Public law (W211) and Contract law (W212)
- previous versions of our law degrees Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (Q79) or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (graduate entry) (Q80), you must have completed Contract law and tort law (W202) and Public law and criminal law (W203).
Alternatively, if you are studying for any OU degree, other than the Bachelor of Laws (R81) or Bachelor of Laws (graduate entry) (R82), you must have either studied:
- a minimum of 120 credits of Law (which includes W211 and W212), or
- W202 and W203.
You must have a law degree which includes English and Welsh law and covers the seven foundations of legal knowledge if you will be studying this module as part of the Professional Certificate in Legal Practice: SQE1 (S36).
You must also:
- have at least nine hours available to study per week
- be a competent computer user, including internet use and Office 365
- have a strong command of reading and writing in English
- have reasonable numeracy skills, as part of the module requires completion of taxation calculations.
This module will build on your knowledge of contract law. It is therefore recommended that you look over your materials on contract law from your previous study of this topic in preparation.
If you will be studying this module for the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (graduate entry) (R82), you will not have studied tort previously and are therefore strongly advised to prepare by studying the supplementary materials on tort on the Law Study home site which will be available when you register.
You will be provided with textbooks on the following areas:
- Business law and practice
- Dispute resolution.
You will also be referred to the book on Ethics and Professional Conduct which you receive when you register for study on SQE: legal system, public law and criminal litigation (W321). You will be directed to read extracts from these textbooks as you work through the online study materials.
You'll also have access to a module website, which includes:
- a week-by-week study planner
- module-specific study materials
- audio and video content
- interactive activities
- assignment details and submission section
- online tutorial access and tutor support.
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 (11 'Big Sur' 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.