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Making and using rules
Rules affect us all, and the way they are made and interpreted could affect how we live...
Rules affect us all, and the way they are made and interpreted could affect how we live. This unit explores how we could interpret and apply rules, and provides you with a basic understanding of rules and rule making within the English legal system.
After studying this unit you should be able to:
- identify and describe what is meant by a formal rule and understand the problems associated with rule making;
- explain what is meant by policy and why it is important;
- understand how formal rules are constructed;
- explain the difference between specific and general rules, and why the difference matters;
- explain why the language of formal rules is important;
- explain what is meant by interpretation and interpretive strategies;
- understand how formal rules are applied.
- You should also have developed skills in reading a document and beginning to analyse the content by answering questions about it.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Making, interpreting and applying rules
- 2 Part A Making formal rules
- 3Part B Policy and rule making
- 4 Part C How to make rules work
- 5 Part D Interpreting rules
- 6 Part E Applying rules
- 7 Review of the unit's learning outcomes
Study this free course
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Making and using rules
This unit is designed as an introduction to the academic study of the concept of rules, but will also serve as an introduction to a variety of different writing styles that are used in the academic world. It will challenge you to think about why some statements are rules and some are not, and what it is that distinguishes rules from habits and customs. It also looks at more formal rules and how such rules are applied and enforced. Rules shape our lives because they set out what we may and may not do, and what the consequences of breaking such rules might be. Finally, it discusses how rules have to be written clearly and concisely in order to make sense and examines the structures that exist to ensure that rules are respected, enforced and understood. Throughout this unit you will be asked to undertake activities that involve reading articles or thinking through a problem. These activities are designed to help you develop your own thinking and to teach you to read critically. Often there are no right or wrong answers, but the thought processes you go through to arrive at your conclusions are extremely important. You will learn that law is not an exact science and when it comes to designing, applying and breaking rules, there is a lot of room for interpretation.
This free course is an adapted extract relevant to The Open University course W100 Rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law, which is no longer taught by the University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 25th July 2011
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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