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Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law

Understand the common law system used worldwide, and your legal rights and responsibilities, with this free online law course.

45,408 enrolled on this course

Traditional judge's wig on a bookshelf full of bound copies of acts of parliament
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

From a personal and professional standpoint, everybody needs a basic comprehension of the legal system in which they live, in order to operate within the law and understand their legal rights and responsibilities.

To be legally aware is to be empowered.

Get an accessible introduction to the common law system

This free online course will provide an introductory insight to the common law system, variations of which are used in countries that are home to 2.3 billion people worldwide.

The course will introduce key legal doctrines and principles in readily accessible formats and language. Case studies will illuminate common applications of the law in real life scenarios, enabling you to explore the relevance of specific subjects to your own professional and personal circumstances, and legal jurisdiction.

Apply the law to your professional and personal life

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • locate and apply relevant regulatory requirements
  • identify, research, articulate and apply the legal principles relevant to your professional and personal life
  • communicate effectively about legal principles, rights and responsibilities
  • anticipate and mitigate legal risk and problems arising in your professional and personal life.

Learn with one of Australia’s top law schools

The course is an extension of the multi-disciplinary subject that lead educator, Lloyd England, already offers to students at the Monash University Faculty of Law – one of the largest and most prestigious law schools in Australia.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds LLOYD ENGLAND: Hello, I’m Lloyd England. A justice of the peace, and a law lecturer here at Monash University– Faculty of Law– Melbourne, Australia. This course is for everyone. The law is literally everywhere. Governing all aspects of our behavior. Can you think of an area of your life that isn’t governed by law? I don’t think there are many. In fact, I don’t think there are any. Imagine a world where everyone behaved lawfully. Wouldn’t you like to bring your kids up in that sort of a world? I’ve assembled barristers, solicitors, judges from the Monash Law Faculty, and together we are going to explore some fundamental doctrines of law.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds ROSS HYAMS: The law is everywhere. It intersects with people’s lives all over the place. So everything you do has some intersection with law. A lot of people get in trouble with the law because they don’t understand either their rights or their obligations.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds MELISSA CASTAN: Legal information used to be locked up in books like we see behind me. And now quite esoteric and hard to read and difficult to access. But now we all have the capacity to access the law. We’re all walking around with a little, miniature supercomputer in our pockets. Imagine if you could use that to actually understand what all the rules and responsibilities are that every person has.

Skip to 1 minute and 21 seconds NICOLE MOLLARD: There’s a sense that law is a discrete area that only lawyers know about. And yet law affects everything that we do every day. You’d be amazed how many laws you could breach in five minutes on Facebook.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds LLOYD ENGLAND: Together we will explore the world of contracts where people decide to make mutual binding obligations and agreements. Criminal Law– where society itself governs the behavior of its citizens. Torts Law– tortious liability is like a jellyfish with tentacles stretching far and wide. Touching each and every one of us. You owe people a duty of care you may have never even met. Intellectual Property Law, which tries to look after ideas and expressions of ideas so that we can drive innovation, and move our society forward. The law is literally everywhere. Whether you drive a car, buy goods and services, lease a flat when you get married, or go to work under a contract of employment.

Skip to 2 minutes and 18 seconds Human rights, animal rights, security, privacy– all of this is governed by law.

Skip to 2 minutes and 23 seconds ROSS HYAMS: There’s a lot of legal mythology out there. People who hear information passed from person to person, word of mouth. And it’s often wrong. And so it’s very important that people get the right understanding of the laws, and that’s essential for them to actually understand their position.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 seconds NICOLE MOLLARD: That tree of yours that hangs over the fence that irritates your neighbor beyond words– what are your obligations in relation to that? If your neighbor decides to cut that tree down, have they done a wrong by you? If your neighbor decides to pick all the fruit from your overhanging tree, have they done a wrong by you? If they turn that fruit into jam, can you ask for the jam back? If you have a reasonable idea of your obligations towards your neighbor, and your neighbors towards you, you’re much more likely to live harmoniously.

Skip to 3 minutes and 10 seconds LLOYD ENGLAND: This is law for everybody– this is law for you. Enrol in this course and come and join us. I look forward to working with you.

Skip to 3 minutes and 18 seconds NICOLE MOLLARD: If a guy pushes you in the pub and spills your beer, does he have to buy you a new one?

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to the Common Law system
  • Accessing and understanding online legal resources
  • Contract law
  • Criminal law
  • Torts law
  • Intellectual Property law
  • Your legal and social rights and responsibilities

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...

  • Apply relevant regulatory requirements to the learner's personal or professional context
  • Assess legal risk arising in the learner's personal or professional context
  • Discuss steps to mitigate identified legal risks in different situations
  • Explain key legal principles, rights and responsibilities
  • Debate risks and responsibilities across a range of legal case studies

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in law. Whether out of professional or personal interest in the legal environment in which you live and work, this course is for you.

Who will you learn with?

Interested in legal education and raising legal consciousness in society for the benefit of us all

Who developed the course?

Monash University

Monash University is one of Australia’s leading universities, ranked in the world’s top 1% by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. It was established in Melbourne in 1958.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

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

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