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Topics covered


This course considers the nature of law and why societies develop rules to enable people to live peaceably. It sets out the features that distinguish legal rules from rules of custom or morality. It also classifies English law and explains the role of the judiciary in the English legal system.

Sources of law. In the English legal tradition, the source of a rule determines its significance and whether it might take precedence over another source (such as the UK Parliament / EU law).


This unit introduces the sources of law and their significance. See how the English legal system assembled various local customs into one standardised system - the Common law.

Precedent and Statutory Interpretation. This unit explains the operation of the doctrine of judicial precedent in the common law. The doctrine shows that legal principles made by judges in the higher courts bind all courts below in future cases of similar fact and in some circumstances, the rules of precedent require courts to follow their own previous decisions.

Overview of criminal liability and the criminal justice system. This unit introduces the general principles of criminal liability, including what is meant by a crime. It examines the objectives of civil and criminal courts and the aims of sentencing. This unit will help you produce case notes, both as a means of learning legal principles and for preparing for the exam.

Introduction to contract law. This unit explains how contractual terms are classified and the difference between express and implied terms. Explore the requirements for a legally binding agreement and the consequences of a breach of contract. The unit should enable you to identify legal issues in problem scenarios and apply the rules of contract law.

Tort law. An introduction to Tort law and, specifically, the tort of negligence. Discover the aims of tort law and the types of harm for which it provides compensation. Examine the elements of a claim in negligence and the operation of the doctrine of precedent to apply and further consolidate the legal skills you have developed.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, once you have completed the essential reading and activities, you should be able to:

  • Explain the nature and characteristics of English law;

  • Evaluate the operation of the law within the English legal system;

  • Demonstrate understanding of the criminal justice system and explain some general principles of criminal liability;

  • Understand the elements of contract formation, contractual terms and breach;

  • Explain the general principles of liability in tort and evaluate elements of the tort of negligence.



Essential reading

  • Askey, S., and McLeod, I., Studying Law (Palgrave Study Skills) Fourth Edition. ISBN: 9781137412683

  • Fry, J., Martin, J., Wilshire, T., Law (Cambridge International AS and A Level Law) (2017) Hodder Education. ISBN: 9781471866487

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