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Module Description - W100 - Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law

28/03/2012 11:27

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Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law

This key introductory Level 1 course introduces the study of law and legal skills. It begins by looking at how rules develop within a society and how laws (in effect legal rules) are made, interpreted, and applied. Then, it examines the concepts of legal personality, unlawful conduct and states of mind. You will explore civil and criminal sanctions; issues raised by human rights legislation; and the concepts of rights and justice. Of particular interest as preparation for a law degree, the course also provides an excellent beginning if you wish to study other subjects. The course deals principally with the law of England and Wales.

What you will study

Course facts In this course you will develop a basic knowledge of the English legal system and will be introduced to a wide range of legal topics and issues. You'll also have an opportunity to develop introductory study skills (both legal and general study skills) and basic knowledge of the English legal system. It will be of relevance to you if you are interested in studying English law either for a qualification or for your own personal interest. You will be introduced to the nature and function of rules and law, to the distinctiveness of legal reasoning, and to the way in which law both responds to social, economic and technological change. The course will enable you to demonstrate an understanding of: laws and law-making through the role of common law, Parliament and Europe; the concept of legal personality and what constitutes unlawful conduct in law; the role of the institutions involved in adjudication enforcement; and how the law develops in order to respond to changing social, political, technological and economic climates. You will be introduced to the ideas of proof and truth, fairness and procedural requirements in the adjudication and trial processes. The role of sanctions and the notion of rights in both the organisational and individual context will be studied. You will then look at law, justice and social change through the study of aspects of family law as well as the legal challenges posed by new technologies. The course will end by considering the idea of a just legal order and the concept of justice. About this course: Course code Credits OU Level SCQF level FHEQ level W100 60 1 7 4

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During the course, youll also learn to define and use legal terms and concepts and identify characteristics of a legal argument. Other legal skills youll develop include reading legal and other study material in an appropriate way; identifying the relevance of information; and interpreting, accessing and using different information sources and evidence. As well as specifically legal skills, this course will also develop your general study skills as you will learn to: take notes efficiently and effectively interpret, access and use different information sources and evidence select, synthesise and integrate material for further use communicate effectively in an appropriate and accurate written form interpret information from data presented in various forms analyse tasks and make plans for tackling them identify and evaluate material with conflicting conclusions frame and address problems and issues

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Module Description - W100 - Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law

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identify and critically evaluate relevant information. monitor your personal progress, identify your own strengths and weaknesses and implement ways of improving your own learning.

Vocational relevance
The course develops vocationally-orientated skills that are transferable to the job market: good written and communication skills; critical thinking; ability to analyse, synthesise, reflect on and present arguments; and problem solving and evaluating issues.

This is a key introductory Level 1 course. Level 1 courses provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for higher education and distance learning. If you are new or a less confident learner, start with Starting with law (Y186). This is an Openings course, also at Level 1 but worth 15 credits. Designed with lots of support and no examination, it will give you a gentle introduction to this subject and to OU study. If you successfully complete this Openings course, you should be ready to study W100. If you are a non-graduate studying towards the OU Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and expect to complete your degree after 2016, you must study Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law as part of your degree. It will give you the foundation knowledge and study skills to study law at a more advanced level. By the end of the course you will be expected to be working at the level required of first-year undergraduate students. If you are a graduate you do not need to study this course as part of your law degree, although some graduates chose to do so as it gives a solid foundation for their later studies in law. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please seek advice from our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

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

If you have a disability or additional requirement

The written study material is available in a comb-bound format and written transcripts are available for the audio-visual material. The printed study materials are available in the DAISY Digital Talking Book format. Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material may be available. Some components may not be fully accessible using a screen reader and musical notation 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 are a new student, or new to courses using a computer or the internet, you will need to inform us of your particular needs as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Details of how to do this and our range of support services are described in our publication Meeting Your Needs. You can also find information about accessible study materials, financial support and the Disabled Students' Allowance, equipment and other services, on our Services for disabled students website. It also includes our contact details for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

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Module Description - W100 - Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law

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Study materials
What's included
A course introduction, course manuals, course readers, assessment guides and a DVD.

You will need

You will use your computer to write and submit your assignments for marking and you will have access to a website that offers resources for and news about this course. You will also use resources from the DVD which is viewable either through your computer DVD drive or a DVD player.

Computing requirements
You will need a computer with internet access to study this course which includes online activities. You can only access these using a web browser with Flash and Java. If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2006 you should have no problems completing the online activities. If youve 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 10.5 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 have a tutor with whom you can communicate by email, telephone and post, who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Your tutor will also run face-toface tutorials that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with the Open University before you register.

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. The assignments are an essential part of the course, so you should complete all of them. You will be given more detailed information about the assessment when you begin the course.

Future availability
The details given here are for the course that starts in February 2013. We expect it to be available again in October 2013. We then expect it to be available, once a year, in October. Page 3 of 8

Module Description - W100 - Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law

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This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2019.

Professional recognition
If you are intending to use this course as part of the LLB, and you hope to enter the Legal Professions, you should read carefully our Recognition leaflet 3.13 Law. 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.

Technical requirements
For this course you will need a computer with at least the following specification:

Processor Memory Operating System DVD Drive

3.0GHz Pentium 4 or 2.0GHz dual core or similar 512MB (more required with Windows Vista or 7) Windows XP/Vista/7 or Mac OS X 10.5 or a recent Linux distribution No

We suggest that you check this technical specification against your existing computer or take it into consideration if you are planning to purchase a new one.This specification is based on the most common type of home computer: the Windows PC. If you are using another other type of computer, please read the relevant sections accessible from the On this page links above.

Microsoft Office offer

Microsoft is currently offering Microsoft Office Professional Academic 2010 at a reduced price to all staff and students of UK Universities, including The Open University. See the Microsoft website for details. Please check that your computer meets the Microsoft requirement to be able to run this product. To take advantage of this offer you will need to order using an OU email address (such as: ), which you can obtain by registering with Google Apps. You will find the link to do this on your StudentHome page via the Tools menu, Go to Google Apps email.

Computer hardware and software explained

The processor is the main component that determines a computers performance with the speed measured in Gigahertz (GHz). Although many other factors will affect the overall performance, generally the better the processor the faster your computer will run. Processor specifications have changed dramatically in recent years so that it is no longer straightforward to define a minimum requirement by speed alone. Most Intel processors now have code numbers and are also described as duo, dual- or quad-core. Any such processor is sufficient. Older (single core) Pentium processors will be described by their speed and 3.0GHz or faster will be adequate. Laptop and portable computers may have slower processor speeds; we would recommend that you use one of more than Page 4 of 8

Module Description - W100 - Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law

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Laptop and portable computers may have slower processor speeds; we would recommend that you use one of more than 1.6GHz. Even then, performance may be sluggish, especially for advanced level modules in computer science and technology. Equivalent AMD or other brand processors are satisfactory.

Memory (RAM)
This is the memory your computer uses to run programs. The more memory you have, the more programs can run simultaneously. Minimum memory requirement is dependent on the operating system of your computer. The minimum of 512MB is only suitable for computers with Windows XP and, where applicable, basic Linux distributions. You also need to check with your supplier and/or the Microsoft or Apple websites for the minimum memory requirements of Windows Vista, 7 or Apple OS X variants.

Screen size
The screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels is readily achieved by a standard LCD screen of 15 (38cm) or more, with either a desktop or laptop computer. (This is the distance across the diagonal of screen.) This screen resolution may also be met by screens of a smaller physical size, but this will depend on whether they are the older standard 4:3 ratio (width:height) or the more modern widescreen. Netbooks with a widescreen size of 12 inches or less may have a height of less than 768 pixels often only 600 or 640. Some applications will not be usable on these narrow screens and others will require a lot of scrolling up and down to navigate readily. Some smaller laptops will also have this problem. The minimum colour range for Open University software will be achieved by even the smallest of screen sizes.

A few modules require a good quality photo printer (see individual module descriptions for details).

Operating system
This is the software that runs in the background on a computer. Examples include Microsoft Windows, Linux and Apple Macintosh OS X. The current versions that we support and for which our software is tested include: Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 OS X 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7 (Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion). Further information is available about Apple Mac and Linux.

Internet access
You will need an account with an internet service provider (ISP) to get a connection to the internet. Access via only a public library or company computer may prevent you accessing websites and installing software. We recommend that you have broadband access to the internet. To access basic module activities a 512kbps service is adequate but if you use the audio conferencing feature or watch video clips, 1 Mbps is the minimum recommended. If you use dial-up (56kbps) to access some of the basic online teaching activities, it will mostly work, but you will need to be patient. There are a growing number of online activities, for example, downloading study materials, that you will find very timeconsuming. If possible, we recommend that you upgrade to a broadband service. However we are aware that this is not possible in some parts of the country.

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Module Description - W100 - Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law

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Web browser
A web browser is the software program that enables you to access web pages on the internet. For some module activities you need to add two add-ons to your browser: Flash (from Adobe Corp) and Java (from to extend its functionality. These are free to download and install if you dont already have them. You may also need Adobe Reader to view study materials provided in PDF format; this is also free to download and install. Our websites and browser-based software delivered on disk for student use, whether academic or administrative, are tested to be compatible with the current and the previous versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari at the time that the software was first released. Some browsers on mobile devices, notably Safari on the Apple iPad, have limited functionality that restricts some features of the Universitys websites. Some Open University modules use some of the educational tools in the Google environment. These are designed to work best with the Chrome browser. If you want to keep your preferred browser, as well as Chrome, it is quite possible to have two browsers installed on your computer and use them for different purposes.

Laptop and netbook

Although you can get laptops with processors and memory as powerful as the best desktop PCs, on an equivalent price basis, you may get a lesser specification for a laptop than a desktop. The main difference between a laptop and a netbook is that the latter normally does not have a disk drive and usually has a smaller screen in the range of 10 to 13. Often the vertical resolution of a netbook screen is only about 600 pixels. This means that you have to do a lot of scrolling up and down to view and navigate most web pages. Sometimes, this may be so restrictive that you can't see parts of the web page at all. If your module doesnt have software on disk (check that it says No in the DVD Drive item in the table, under Technical Requirements, above) then you will be able to use a netbook. Remember, though, to check other modules that you might want to study as part of your qualification in the future. If they require a disk drive, you shouldn't buy a netbook. Netbooks also have slower processors than laptop or desktop PCs. This tends to make them unsuitable for some of the advanced level modules in computer science and technology. You will need a more powerful computer to do the computing activities on these modules.

Mobile and tablet devices

This covers a large range of portable systems from advanced mobile phones, PDAs to tablet systems like the Apple iPad, Dell Streak, Samsung Galaxy Tab and many others. These have a broad range of screen sizes and browser capabilities and mostly use an operating system quite different from the most common PC system. The basic features of the Universitys websites are available to most mobile devices. However, you may find that some features do not work if you have an uncommon operating system or browser on your mobile device. Some browsers on mobile devices, notably Safari on the Apple iPad, have limited functionality that restricts some features of the Universitys (and other) websites, including some teaching applications.

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Module Description - W100 - Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law

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Apple Mac
Over 450 modules can be studied online using almost any computer, including a Mac. However, for modules designated for Windows only, if you decide to use a system other than a Windows-based PC, you may have problems accessing the software and data files supplied with study materials. The technical help for Mac users available from the OU Computing Helpdesk will be limited, so you should make sure that you have some other form of support in case you run into difficulties. Online content is currently tested with Safari. Mac users can therefore access online materials. The minimum acceptable version of the Mac operating system is OS X v10.5. Most new DVDs for OU study work in a browser, so they can be accessed from Macs as well as from PCs. Unfortunately older, non-browser-based products arent directly Mac-accessible. About 150 modules use software (mostly on CD or DVD) that runs in Windows. Recent Intel processor Macs can use the Apple Boot Camp dual booting software that allows you to install Windows in native mode on your Mac. There is also other software to run Windows on a Mac. You will need to talk to your computer supplier for support on using these systems. If you have an older, slower Mac with a limited amount of memory, performance may be an issue and you should take appropriate technical advice before installing one of these products. A limited number of modules may require students to use platform specific specialist software (usually for Windows or Linux). This will be indicated in the module description. The electronic tutor-marked assignment (eTMA) system accepts word-processed documents in Microsoft Word format (.doc, not .docx) or the platform-independent rich text format (.rtf). Students can submit assignments prepared using a Mac, running their preferred word processor and a standard web browser, as long as they use one of these formats. There is a Mac self-help group organised by OU students.

Because there are many distributions of Linux designed for different hardware platforms and users requirements, we cannot be prescriptive about which distribution and/or platform you should use. Normally, we would expect the majority of Linux users to have Firefox as their web browser. The Open University software that is browser-based is tested on Firefox. Depending on your Linux distribution you may have to install additional applications into the browser, such as Flash, Shockwave or Java. Depending on the other study requirements, for example for the electronic tutor-marked assignment (eTMA) system, you may need to provide and install other software, such as a word processor which is compatible with Microsoft Office formats (.doc and .rtf, currently not .docx), into your Linux computer. If you need to set up your Linux system to dual boot with Windows, you can use the Virtual Box software. Please note that the OU Computing Helpdesk support for Linux users is very limited.

Computing helpdesk
Our experts can help you to get the most from our computing resources, and offer technical support for access to OU software and online materials. Page 7 of 8

Module Description - W100 - Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law

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If you want to discuss your computer specifications for your module, phone or email our helpdesk: Phone +44 (0)1908 653972 (08.00 to 21.30) Email FAQs site

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