Law, Rights and Justice - SO309

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
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4 15 (7.5) MS L Taylor







This module will introduce students to why social workers need to know the law; how laws are made and classified; natural law and positivist law and their intersection with ethics and philosophy; the sources and context of English law; and the ‘legal framework’ of English social work including legislation, quasi-legislation and social policy.

An introduction will be provided to the primary and secondary legislation and guidance and the cases that together constitute ‘the law’ relating to: children and families; youth justice; adults - including those with a learning disability, a physical disability and who are vulnerable as a consequence of age related ill health & carers; and mental health work.

Students will consider the application of legislation as it relates to social work activities, duties and decisions including Case Law, the role and nature of Courts and the legal profession, legal procedure, and the nature of evidence including forensic vs therapeutic interventions. They will be introduced to Human Rights and equality law with a particular focus on justice and the promotion of equality in the areas of “race”, gender and sexual orientation, disability and age. They will also consider safeguarding, mental capacity law, confidentiality and responsible information handling.


Contact hours


Method of assessment

One in-class-test examining the student’s ability to apply law to social work practice, counting for 40% of the final assessment.

One written assignment of 2,500 words, counting for 60% of the final assessment. This essay will test knowledge, argument and evaluation .

Students will be awarded a final mark based on the average across the assessed work for this module.

Indicative reading

Braye, S. & Preston-Shoot, M. (2010) Practising Social Work Law 3rd edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Brayne H and Carr H (2012) Law for Social Workers 12th ed Oxford University

Health & Care Profesions Council (2012) Standards of Proficiency - England London: HCPC

Laird, S. E (2010) Practical Social Work Law, Pearson, Harlow

Long, L., Roche, J. & Stringer, D. (eds) (2010) The Law and Social Work: Contemporary Issues for Practice (2nd edn) Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Partington, M (Ed) (2008) An Introduction to the English Legal System 4th ed Oxford University Press

White, R., Broadbent, G and Brown, K (2009) Law and the Social Work Practitioner 2nd ed Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module students will be able to:

11.1 Demonstrate an understanding of legal rights and justice for service users and their families

11.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the statutory and common law provisions that govern social work in England and Wales and the relationship between the citizen and the state

11.3 Appreciate the philosophical influences on the development and content of the law and statute

11.4 Acquire and evaluate knowledge and understanding of values and social ethics as they relate to the law

11.5 Demonstrate knowledge about and appreciate the application of key legal provision and policy for adults, children and the family

11.6 Demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to analyse information gathered for legal problem solving purposes

11.7 Appreciate the role and impact of public law and policy on the rights of groups likely to come into contact with social work services

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