Online course in Law

The Modern Judiciary: Who They Are, What They Do and Why it Matters

Explore the role of judges in the UK and learn about the daily business of judging, from common law to judicial diversity.

The Modern Judiciary: Who They Are, What They Do and Why it Matters

  • Duration 5 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $74 Find out more

Who are judges, what do they do, and why does it matter?

From criminal trials to Brexit, judges in courts and tribunals across the country make decisions that affect our daily lives everyday, but their role isn’t always understood.

On this course, you’ll be introduced to the role of judges in the legal system of England and Wales through an array of articles, cases and interviews with judges.

You’ll explore how judgement works and engage with the work of the judiciary through the study of a recent decision of your chosen court. You’ll also consider how judges are portrayed in the media and learn how working practices have evolved over time.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsWelcome to our course on the Modern Judiciary, who our judges are, what they do, and why that matters. My name is James Lee, and I teach law at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King's College London, and this course is delivered in partnership with King's College and the Judicial Office. What we're going to do is learn more about the everyday working lives of our judges and how that bears on everyday members of the public, like you and me. And we'll do that by reading together real-life decisions from the courts, also speeches, we'll have interviews with judges themselves. 'There's a vast range of jobs open to lawyers.'

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsAnd we'll have mini lectures and a variety of other content articles and cases to read. In addition, there'll be interactive opportunities through quizzes and fora to deepen our understanding together. We look forward to teaching you.

What topics will you cover?

  • An Introduction to the legal system of the United Kingdom
  • Common Law reasoning
  • Judges in Courts and Tribunals
  • The daily business of judging
  • Who are the judges? (Diversity in the judiciary)
  • Judges and the Media

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

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

  • Describe the role of the judiciary in the legal system of England & Wales, and the United Kingdom.
  • Explain how judges reason when deciding cases, both in trials and hearings, and on appeal.
  • Explain the working practices of the judiciary have evolved over time.
  • Summarise a recent decision of your chosen court.
  • Evaluate a recent decision of your chosen court.
  • Evaluate the effect of reforms in respect of diversity of the judiciary.
  • Evaluate the portrayals of the judiciary in the media (both news reports and in fiction).

Who is the course for?

This course is designed primarily for young people interested in studying law.

The course will also be of interest to those at the beginning of their undergraduate law degrees as part of an Introduction to the English (& Welsh) Legal System course or module, and for non-Law university students interested in pursuing a career in the law.

There are no prerequisites for this course and anyone with an interest in the legal system of England and Wales would enjoy this course.

Who will you learn with?

James Lee

James Lee

I am an academic at The Dickson Poon School of Law at King's College London. I teach private law subjects and I write about how judges make decisions.

Who developed the course?

King’s College London, established in 1829 and a founding college of the University of London, is one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities, based in the very heart of London.

The Judiciary of England and Wales

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