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

Key information

Subject area:

FutureLearn Online Courses

Course type:

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Credit level:

Not for credit


5 weeks

Available course dates:

To be confirmed

Course overview

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.

What does this course 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

What will I achieve?

  • 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 will I learn with?

James Lee

James Lee

Professor of English Law

Who is this 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.

What is the teaching schedule?

This course runs multiple times each year. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Please click the Apply button to find out when the next run will start.

Course status:

Places available

Full fee £0



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