• Royal Holloway logo
  • The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the court of final appeal for the UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies.

Inside the UK Supreme Court: Its Role, Its Work, and Cases that Affect Us All

Explore the role of the UK Supreme Court, hear from its Justices and staff, and learn about some of the Court’s landmark rulings.

2,865 enrolled on this course

Photograph of exterior of the UK Supreme Court, south east corner
  • Get access to 1,000's of courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Tests included when available
  • Digital certificate when eligible
  • Long term access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Tests included when available
  • Printed and digital certificates when eligible - great for career learners
  • Course access expires 30 Aug 2022
  • Limited learning time
  • Excludes certificates and tests

Find out more about how to join this course

Delve into the UK Supreme Court and its inner workings

If you’d like to learn more about the UK Supreme Court, what it does, and what it’s like to work there, then this Royal Holloway course, produced in collaboration with the Supreme Court, is for you.

Over the two weeks of the course, you’ll get to explore the current workings and history of the UK Supreme Court and wider aspects of the law. You’ll also get to take a closer look at routes into the legal profession.

Whether you want to practice law or just understand it as a citizen, you’ll gain a fascinating insight into this key institution’s legal role.

Compare Courts from across the globe

This course starts with an introduction to the functions and history of the UK Supreme Court, before moving onto the role of its Justices as members of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

You will also discover how the UK Supreme Court works in relation to the European Court of Human Rights and how it compares to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Step into the shoes of a Justice

After you’ve got a clearer idea of how the UK Supreme Court is structured and how it operates, you’ll explore six landmark cases, covering a wide range of legal issues, from human rights and employment law to public law and criminal law.

Once you’ve heard the background to each case and a selection of the arguments made in Court, you can then vote on what you would have ruled as a Justice before you discover the outcome of the case.

Learn from Justices, Judicial Assistants, and academic experts

On this course, you’ll be learning from academic experts from Royal Holloway, as well as hearing from a wide range of people who work at the Court, from Justices and Judicial Assistants to members of the Executive team.

Skip to 0 minutes and 15 seconds Hello, and welcome to Inside the Supreme Court, a course developed with Royal Holloway, University of London. My name is Lord Reed. I’m the President of the Supreme Court, and serve as one of its 12 justices. I’ve been a justice since 2012, and served as Deputy President between 2018 and January of 2020, when I became the President. The Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, and it started work in October 2009. It’s the final court of appeal for all civil cases in the United Kingdom and for criminal cases from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It only hears cases which raise arguable points of law of general public importance.

Skip to 1 minute and 8 seconds You may well have seen some of our judgments reported in the media. I hope that, by participating in this course, you’ll learn more about the work of the court. In the weeks ahead, you’ll be learning about the sort of cases that the court hears and how it decides them, and you’ll also hear about the role which the court plays in the legal systems of England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Thank you for your interest in this course. I hope that you will enjoy it.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    What is the Supreme Court?

    • Introduction

      An introduction to 'Inside the UK Supreme Court' and look ahead to the topics we are exploring this week.

    • What is the UK Supreme Court?

      In this activity we explore the role, history and function of the Court in relation to the UK's legal systems.

    • Working at the Supreme Court, Part One

      In this activity we are going to hear what it is like to work at the Supreme Court.

    • Landmark Cases: Lee v Ashers Bakery (2018) UKSC 49

      Lee v Ashers Bakery was a landmark human rights case.

    • Landmark Cases: R v Jogee (Appellant) (2016) UKSC 8

      R v Jogee is a landmark criminal law case.

    • Landmark Cases: AXA v Lord Advocate (2011) UKSC 46

      AXA v Lord Advocate is a landmark devolution case.

    • Conclusion

      In this activity we reflect on what we have learnt this week.

  • Week 2

    International Aspects and Comparisons

    • Introduction

      In this activity we look ahead to the topics we are going to be covering this week.

    • International Contexts and Comparisons

      In this activity we examine how the Court and the JCPC compare to and interact with other courts around the world.

    • Working at the Supreme Court, Part Two

      In this activity we learn more about being a Supreme Court Justice and hear from the Court's Librarian and Chief Executive.

    • Landmark Cases: R (Unison) v Lord Chancellor (2017) UKSC 51

      In this activity we explore the case of R (Unison) v Lord Chancellor and its landmark ruling in relation to access to justice.

    • Landmark Cases: R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice (2014) UKSC 38

      R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice is an example of a case where the Supreme Court has been asked to make a decision about a difficult and sensitive subject.

    • Landmark Cases: Uber BV and others v Aslam and others (2021) UKSC 5

      In this activity we explore the significance of the Uber case in relation to employment law and the definition of a worker.

    • Conclusion

      In this activity we reflect on what we have learnt this week and across the course.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the role, inner workings and history of the UK Supreme Court, and different career paths into the law.
  • Identify the Courts role in relation to the Commonwealth and Europe.
  • Compare the UK Supreme Court with the United States Supreme Court.
  • Investigate the various roles that make up the Supreme Court, from Justices and Judicial Assistants to the Registrar and Executive team.
  • Debate and evaluate recent cases heard by the Supreme Court.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone considering a career in law, as well as those interested in learning more about the law.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Matthew Smith, Senior Lecturer in Public Humanities, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr David Yuratich, Lecturer in Law, Royal Holloway, University of London

Who developed the course?

Royal Holloway, University of London

Queen Victoria presided over the grand opening of Royal Holloway in 1886. Since then the College has continued to grow in size and status to become one of the top research-led institutions in the UK.

The Supreme Court of The United Kingdom

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Supreme Court is independent and hears cases of the greatest public importance affecting the whole population.

Judicial Committee of The Privy Council

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the court of final appeal for the UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies. It also serves those Commonwealth countries that have retained the appeal to Her Majesty in Council or, in the case of republics, to the Judicial Committee.

Recommended

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe to Unlimited

Join with limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$54

One-off payment

$27.99/month

Automatically renews

Free

Unlock your expertiseAccess thousands of coursesTry this course - with limits
Access to this courseticktickLimited to 2 weeks
Access to ALL eligible coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Tests to check your learningticktickcross
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Buy this course

Ways to learn

Subscribe to Unlimited to access this course and thousands of other short courses or buy just this course for extra benefits. Or, join with limited access.

Subscribe to Unlimited

$27.99/month

Automatically renews

Access thousands of courses

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Buy this course

$54

One-off payment

Unlock your expertise

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Join with limited access

Free

Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 2 weeks

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...