What you will study
The module will cover a range of substantive legal principles and the law making framework in England and Wales. Throughout your studies you will develop a number of key legal academic skills and learn to interpret and apply the laws which have been created by the Westminster Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the courts and European institutions.
The module begins by asking you to consider the nature and sources of law. Why do we have law and what role does law play. It then examines the fundamental principles which form the UK’s constitution before considering law making in England and Wales. Through your studies of the law making process you will learn about the range of institutions and bodies which have power to make law which impacts directly or indirectly in the UK. You will look at the role of the Westminster Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the wider impact of devolution, secondary legislation and the role of common law. You will also explore the relationship between common law and equity, law making processes in the EU and the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
You will then explore how laws are administered and what sanctions can be imposed when laws are broken. Creating law is only one aspect of the legal system and you will consider the importance within a legal system of the administration of justice and the relationship between judicial reasoning, public policy and politics. Fundamental legal concepts will be introduced, such as evidence (burden, proof and truth), legal personality, culpability and liability.
Throughout the module you will be asked to think about the role and nature of the law and key legal concepts and the features of a just legal system. An integral aspect of this module is the development of legal and other study skills. These will enhance your ability to reason, explain, and present an argument. They will also enable you to challenge accepted ideas and practices. You will be expected to become a critical thinker and also spend time reflecting on your own learning and progress.
The development of skills forms an essential part of legal study and is an integral part of legal study. The thinking, reasoning and organisational skills developed through academic legal study are highly sought after and valued.
You will learn
In addition to the knowledge you will gain from this module you will also develop essential legal study skills. This includes the ability to:
- interpret, describe and apply legal principles in a logical and coherent way
- interpret, describe and apply legal authority in a logical and coherent way
- identify the characteristics of a legal argument
- identify and analyse conflicting accounts, interpretations or points of view.
- read and discuss legal information
- use legal authority, legal material and other sources appropriately.
- identify and use appropriate primary and secondary sources of law and legal information
- reference and cite relevant material including case and statute law.
The module is also designed to develop a range of general skills which form part of study at this level and which aid the development of your legal skills. The ability to communicate effectively in writing is an essential skill for a law student and the module has been designed to develop the skills listed below throughout the module and your study of each unit. You will be provided with the opportunity to learn how to:
- identify relevant points and take notes in a manner appropriate to the task
- summarise the key points of a piece of written material
- present and structure information clearly
- make accurate use of the English language and legal terminology
- manage tasks and solve problems
- make appropriate and professional use of IT including presentation of word processed documents
- make use of electronic communications and websites
- plan, adapt an electronic search and record the results of that search accurately
- engage in appropriate and effective communication online
- discuss information contained in a table, graph, pie chart or bar chart.
- effectively plan and manage your own time and studies .
- analyse tasks and make plans for tackling them
- learn from feedback, monitor and reflect on personal progress, identifying strengths and weaknesses
- identify and implement ways of improving learning and performance
- develop as an independent learner.
The module develops vocationally-orientated skills that are transferable to the job market: good written and communication skills; reaching reasoned conclusions; critical thinking; ability to analyse, synthesise, reflect on and present arguments; and problem solving and evaluating issues.
If you are intending to use this module as part of the LLB, and you hope to enter the Legal Professions, you should read carefully the careers information on The Open University Law School website. There are different entry regulations into the legal professions 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 ensure that you meet these requirements.