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    An undergraduate course in Law.

Law: the individual and the state

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This course builds on the knowledge and skills developed in Understanding law (W200) and examines a further two Foundations of Legal Knowledge: public law and criminal law. Public law considers the relationship between citizen and state; the structure of state institutions; how government action may be challenged (judicial review); the legal values that determine a citizen’s rights and duties; and an outline of civil liberties law. Criminal law considers criminal liability in the context of particular criminal offences; the requirements of specific defences; areas where criminal law is considered flawed; and proposals for reform. The course deals principally with the law of England and Wales.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2355.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2355.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£3205.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2355.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2355.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£3045.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2355.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

This second-level course is for students who already have a good knowledge of the English legal system and method building on the knowledge and skills developed in Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law (W100) and Understanding law (W200). It covers two of the Foundations of Legal Knowledge: (1) Public Law (sometimes known as Constitutional and Administrative Law) and (2) Criminal Law. The course is split equally between these two areas.

The course will enable you to:

  • understand how public power can be subjected to law; the role of fundamental values; how the power of institutions can be defined; how the law defines the state and allocates power within the UK
  • understand how procedure can be an element of control; how conflicts between institutions are resolved; how conflicts between the state and individuals are resolved; how the law defines and protects human rights
  • understand how a legal approach to analysis of public power differs from other approaches (historical or political)
  • understand the limits of legal controls on public power (political and social context)
  • understand the principles of criminal law; what conduct and state of mind must be proved for a person to be convicted of a criminal offence
  • define the elements of particular crimes such as murder, burglary and theft
  • understand the requirements of defences including infancy, insanity, duress, intoxication, loss of control and diminished responsibility
  • be able to apply the legal concepts you encounter to factual scenarios, developing your skills of analysis and problem solving
  • acquire the confidence to reflect critically on the current state of the law, appreciating that in many areas the criminal law is widely felt to be flawed or inconsistent; and be aware of proposals for reform.

In addition to knowledge and understanding the course will provide you with an opportunity to develop subject specific and general study skills suitable for study at Level 2. These include the ability to:

  • identify relevant facts and issues and apply legal principles in an orderly way
  • assimilate and organise extensive factual and legal material, and present a reasoned, coherent and personal view
  • evaluate and make critical judgement of the merits of particular arguments
  • assimilate and present arguments based on course manuals, standard text books and wider directed reading
  • appreciate and demonstrate the techniques of legal argument
  • access, comprehend and use paper based and online legal resources.

Entry

This course will be a good choice if you have taken Understanding law (W200) and intend to obtain a qualifying law degree or if you have studied the law before, and want to develop your understanding of public and criminal law. This could be either out of general interest or because some legal knowledge would be useful in your work.

The course assumes that you already have a grounding in the English legal system and up-to-date awareness (though no in detail) of the Foundations of Legal Knowledge (e.g. criminal law, law of obligations (contract and tort)). If you haven’t studied for some time, we strongly advise you to take Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law (W100) before starting this course. If you haven’t studied law before, we strongly advise you to take Understanding law (W200) first.

This is a Level 2 course and so builds on your Level 1 study with The Open University or from equivalent work at another university. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Outside the UK

Please note that this course is only concerned with the law of England and Wales.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

The written study material is available in a comb-bound format and written transcripts are available for the audio-visual material. The study materials (excluding text books) may be available on CD-ROM in Adobe (PDF) format. Some components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. You will need to spend time using a personal computer and the internet. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Course books, other printed materials and access to certain legal databases. Access to a website that offers online resources and course news.
The study materials are updated annually, but it may be necessary to update during your study of the course if there is a major (and unexpected) change to the law.

You will need

This course may offer online tutorials in the future, in which case you will need a headset with a microphone and earphones to take part.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be allocated a tutor who will give you guidance on your work, and will offer academic support wherever he or she can. Your tutor will assess and give feedback on your course assignments. We expect to offer group tutorials which may be face to face or, in some sparsely populated areas may be offered online. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course. Although you are not obliged to attend any of these, you are strongly encouraged to take part.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

You complete all the assessment as it is an integral part of the teaching. The substitution rule will not apply for this course. 

Professional recognition

This course can contribute to a degree that is recognised as a qualifying law degree. It is acceptable for completing the academic stage of training as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales, as long as you comply with the requirements of the Professional Bodies. You can view or download our Recognition leaflet 3.13 Law for further information. 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 Recognition leaflet as it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet these requirements.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in February 2014. We expect it to be available again in October 2014. We then expect it to be available once a year, in October.

Students also studied

Students who studied this course also studied at some time:

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“Good course, with a lot of interesting law. ...”
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“The course set out with what can only be described as a dry subject -Constitutional Law - comparing written and ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code W201
Credits 60
OU Level 2
SCQF level 9
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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