Law and change: Scottish legal heroes
Law and change: Scottish legal heroes

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Week 6: Making a difference


Law responds and changes to meet and reflect the needs of the society in which it operates. Law cannot, however, change by itself; change can only be achieved through one of the law making bodies. There are numerous individuals and organisations who have campaigned and fought for legal change whether through a change in legislation or through the court system. They could all be seen as ‘Scottish legal heroes’. As you read this you may already be thinking about examples you have come across.

Historical changes, such as the advent of the printing press and, in a later century, the internet, have enabled greater access to the law and legal commentary on the part of the public at large. In particular, the internet has created greater opportunity for access to legal knowledge across jurisdictions. By following a twitter feed or through email alerts, instant updates on the law are now readily available. Widening knowledge of differing jurisdictions can be used to foster debate about laws and their comparative effect. However, as the complexity of society grows so do its laws; and so do the range and background of persons who can be rightly termed ‘legal heroes’.

By the end of this week you will be able to:

  • explain the role of individuals, organisations and institutions in effecting change in the law
  • identify examples of how the law has changed in response to the needs of society
  • explain the tensions over the rule of the UK Supreme Court.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371