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Becoming empowered through legal awareness

Ahead of Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to law, lead educator Lloyd England discusses how a basic understanding of the legal system can empower you and improve your life.

Ahead of Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to law, lead educator Lloyd England discusses how a basic understanding of the legal system can empower you and improve your life.


Does the world need a legal system?

Imagine you discover after finishing a day’s work you that will never actually receive any pay for it. On the bus travelling home, you receive a fine, even though you purchased a valid ticket and show it upon request. When you get home, someone else has moved into it during the day, is now claiming ownership, and all your possessions are gone. What a day!

Imagine then calling the police and they arrest and accuse you of something of which you are innocent, and vigilantes in your home-town wish to mete out rough justice before you have a chance at a fair trial and telling your side of the story. Or being locked up indefinitely, without charge.

Alternatively, imagine trying to buy an apple and having to worry whether it is even fit for human consumption, or returning home from a holiday and being refused entry into your home country. You are understandably distressed and need help!

Who can help? Hint: the law.

In fact the ‘law of the land’ – your land. A legal system seeks to provide law and order. Essentially, it is a system of logic imposed upon a society to manage the human interactions within it. It attempts to offer reliability and certainty, effective structures to administer functions, reasonably foreseeable outcomes, remedies to disputes and is primarily designed to reflect and impose the will of the people or the society it governs. It is therefore necessarily ‘plastic’ or fluid, in that it must evolve as the views of the society it governs evolves, and should ideally reflect current community standards, or at least some agreed manifestation of such.

It’s not always so simple, as a law lecturer once put it ‘the Law is a limping dinosaur, chasing the ferret of reality’. This captures the tension and inevitable delay in the law, conservatively and predictably moving forward, simultaneously attempting to reflect the views of a rapidly evolving populace and global society. Whether the law is ever really in sync with evolving community standards and views is debatable, but it does its best through law reform, regular elections of politicians, doctrinal rules and institutional conventions, to move towards this ever evolving values frontier, whilst still retaining the certainty, predictability and reliability, being its inherent value it endeavours to deliver.

What is legal literacy and why is it important?

If you purchased a new board game and take it home to play with the family, the first thing you’d do is to all read the rules, right? Perhaps think of the law as the rules of life. You don’t need, nor should you, a law degree to understand these rules of life. Now is the time to read the rules of your life and the society you chose to live in. This will help you better understand your rights and responsibilities, and better contribute to avoiding and resolving disputes to help make your world, whether immediate, local, regional or national, a better place.

Nobody lives or works in a legal vacuum – variations of the common law system are used in countries that are home to 2.3 billion people worldwide.From a personal and professional standpoint, everybody needs to have at least a basic awareness and understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities. By raising your knowledge about the common law system, you can operate more effectively, legally, lawfully and better contribute to your success and the success of your local community.  96% of cases settle out of court; it is less stress and less money to take control of your own legal affairs and avoid or settle any disputes you may find yourself in. Resolving conflict is a key skill in any organisation or situation; increasing your legal literacy will help you stay informed on how to manage disputes.

Knowing how to search for legal information that you need

The internet is a modern day wonder. It’s made up of an incredible amount of information that can sometimes be overwhelming and misleading, which can make accessing legal information you need a challenge. That’s where our course can help – it’s practical and provides you with a framework for searching for legal information that you can then use to find what you need.

Whether out of professional or personal interest in the legal environment in which you live and work, this course will help you to understand the common law system and your legal rights and responsibilities.

Join the free online course Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law today

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