Starting with law
Starting with law

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.

Free course

Starting with law

1 What is law and why does it matter?

In this part of the course we are going to explore the role of law within society, its relationship to us as individuals, and its purpose.

There are many aspects to our law and legal system, and you may have come across reports of court cases, crime statistics, the behaviour of judges or the sentencing of a convicted criminal in the news, books or newspapers, television programmes or films. Law is actually all around us; it is wide-ranging and governs all aspects of our lives. The law underpins simple day-to-day transactions from buying a bus ticket or a cup of coffee, to more complicated matters such as employment, paying taxes, renting a home and how businesses operate. It even provides the guidelines which determine how a government may use its powers to rule.

What is a law? How do we recognise laws and why are they obeyed? It is important that we decide what we mean by the term ‘law’ before we go any further.


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