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Justice in action

Qualification dates
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The defining feature of this module involves being allocated to a group Open Justice project where you will work collaboratively with other students under the supervision of a tutor. The Open Justice projects involve taking part in activities where you apply your academic knowledge to practical legal issues to provide members of the public with legal advice, assistance and guidance. 

Due to the nature of the module’s Open Justice activities, the October 2024 presentation will be limited to 224 places, allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

What you will study

During this module, you'll work in a small group on a practical activity designed to contribute to the public good. You'll also explore important themes relating to access to justice, professional identity and legal values and ethics and develop key legal, employability and personal skills.

Your Open Justice activity will involve undertaking a project to promote legal awareness and access to justice. Participation in a group project is a compulsory part of the module and forms an important part of your assessment. All the projects require collaborating in a small group and demand significant commitment and initiative. As you may be working for members of the public, you will be representing both the OU Law School and the wider University. You will be required to approach your allocated project in a professional manner, which includes giving due priority to your participation.

After you have registered for the module, you will be contacted by the Open Justice Centre and invited to express your preferences for particular projects. The Open Justice Centre will take these preferences into account, but you may not be allocated your preferred choice.

This summary provides details of the Open Justice projects that we plan to offer for the October 2024 presentation of this module. You can find more information about the Open Justice Centre and watch this short video to see reviews from students who have studied this module.

The module is divided into three blocks of work:

Block 1: Exploring pro bono
In this block, you'll consider why people undertake pro bono work and the concept of access to justice. It will explore how this relates to professionalism and professional identity within the legal profession and look at how legal values and ethics can and should influence legal work. During this block, you will begin to think about how these issues will affect your own work during the module. You'll also undertake your own skills audit to enable you to assess both the skills you already have and those you need to develop for personal and professional growth.

Block 2: Open Justice activities
This is the longest section of the module, where you will undertake a practical activity working collaboratively as part of a small group. During this block you will develop key legal skills relevant to your project. These may include skills relating to undertaking practical legal research, interviewing clients, legal writing, report writing, negotiation and presenting legal information. During this section of the module you will need to be flexible and prioritise the demands of the Open Justice activities and work effectively as part of a group. You will continue to think about your skills development and the themes that were introduced in Block 1.

Block 3: Drawing it all together
In the final, shorter block of the module, you'll complete any ongoing pro bono activity and relate them back to the themes you studied in Block 1. You'll complete your review of the skills you have developed throughout the module.

The main part of your assessment is at end the of the module and it is based on a 3,000-word critical reflection of your participation in your Open Justice activity. Therefore, your full and active participation in your allocated project is essential to succeed.

Please do not register on W360 unless you:

  • are sure that you are willing to work as part of a group with your fellow students
  • will have the time to prioritise your participation in your allocated project
  • are aware that the main method of assessment is a critical reflection on your participation in your allocated Open Justice activity
  • are aware that although we will do our best to allocate you to your preferred project, we can’t guarantee that this will happen.

Considering studying this module as part of a law degree?
If you’re considering studying this as part of your law degree at the OU, you can find out more from the module team chairs and previous students from the recording of an online event, ‘Choosing your OU level 3 optional law module’. This is available in the Student Experience room on the Law Study home page. You’ll also be able to find out about the other optional law modules.

You will learn

You'll gain knowledge and understanding of the role of law and legal practice in society, including looking at ethics, values and access to justice and the importance of professionalism and professional identity. You will develop your ability to collaborate and work as part of a team and clearly communicate information about law in a variety of ways to a range of audiences. You'll also identify and develop other important skills required for both career and personal development.

Entry requirements

This module is only available if you are studying a law degree (LLB).  As this is a Stage 3 module, you will need to have successfully completed 60 credits of study at Stage 2. 

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • module materials
  • audio and video content
  • tutorials and tutor group forums
  • various online resources.

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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You'll have a tutor who will mark and comment on your written work. Your tutor will also answer any questions you have about the study material and the Open Justice activity you are undertaking, as well as any other module-related queries. The Open Justice Centre will help oversee your participation in your allocated project.

The module includes online learning events and other training sessions. You are expected to attend these to enable you to interact with other students and effectively carry out your Open Justice activity. Recordings will typically be made available to students.

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.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying W360 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

Justice in action starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2030.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment