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Free course

Judges and the law

Free statement of participation on completion
Judges and the law Copyrighted Icon


Please note: This is course is due to be archived on Wednesday 21st December. You can study the course up until this date. For learners who have completed the course, the Statement of Participation will remain in your learner records in your OpenLearn profile.


How do judges make law? This free course, Judges and the law, will examine how the common law system works, the differences between 'civil code' and 'common law' systems, and the advantages and disadvantages of the common law system. The role of the judiciary in the law-making process is explored by examining the origins of common law, the system of precedent and the rules of statutory interpretation.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand what is meant by a common law system
  • demonstrate a good knowledge and understanding of what is meant by the common law and how its rules are made and changed
  • discuss how a precedent can be altered or avoided
  • identify the ratio decidendi and obiter dictum of a court case
  • read and analyse legal materials (cases, statutes and academic commentary).

First Published: 10/08/2012

Updated: 05/07/2019

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