Law, Rights and Justice - SOCI3090

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Leanne Taylor checkmark-circle


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

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


BA (Hons) Social Work

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework – essay (2000 words) – 80%*
Coursework – in-class test - 20%*
* These components are 'Pass compulsory' – Students are required to pass BOTH individual components of the main assessment to pass the module

Reassessment methods

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 Press
Health & Care Professions 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 (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate an understanding of legal rights and justice for service users and their families.
8.2 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.
8.3 Appreciate the philosophical influences on the development and content of the law and statute.
8.4 Acquire and evaluate knowledge and understanding of values and social ethics as they relate to the law.
8.5 Demonstrate knowledge about and appreciate the application of key legal provision and policy for adults, children and the family.
8.6 Demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to analyse information gathered for legal problem solving purposes.
8.7 Appreciate the role and impact of public law and policy on the rights of groups likely to come into contact with social work services.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to
9.1 Demonstrate the capacity to gather and evaluate library and web based resources (e-journals and other on-line resources) appropriate to level 4 study.
9.2 Integrate theoretical perspectives and evidence from a range of appropriate sources in order to construct a coherent argument in writing.
9.3 Demonstrate academic skills through library investigation, class discussion and written assignments.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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