Open Learning

Open learning

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Open learning

Free online learning created by the Open Justice Centre in collaboration with our partners.

Find out more and access these resources on the links in the text.

Refugees at Sea

Search and rescue of refugees at sea

This free course was written by Neil Graffin (The Open University Law School), Joanne Vincett (Liverpool John Moores University) and Matt Howard (University of Kent, Kent Law School). It looks at the law and issues of wellbeing regarding the search and rescue of people who make dangerous crossings at sea.

The course aims to introduce you to international laws that govern maritime search and rescue (SAR). It also seeks to examine issues of wellbeing which might arise from working with traumatised people. It is designed for those who have an interest in the law of the sea or may find themselves working on search and rescue operations. 


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Introduction to UK immigration law and becoming an immigration advisor

This free course has 15 learning hours of self-paced study and is designed to introduce UK immigration law and advice. It has been developed for anyone with an interest in this area. It is likely to be of particular interest to anyone considering becoming an immigration adviser. This course has been designed by The Open University and HJT Training professionals , who specialise in immigration law.

If you enjoyed this free course and wanted to study further we also have a short course ‘Foundations of UK immigration law (OISC Level 1)’ that is designed for individuals seeking to learn more about the UK’s Immigration Rules and practice and for individuals seeking to practice as a qualified immigration adviser at Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Level 1. Developing both relevant knowledge and skills the course also provides an opportunity for examination preparation and the development of highly sought-after legal skills.

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Implementing the United Nations Education for Justice (E4J) initiative in your university

The Open Justice Centre and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are continuing their partnership to support the Global Resources for Anti-Corruption Education (GRACE) initiative. GRACE has been developed to prevent crime and promote lawfulness by supplying integrity and ethics education resources for schools, colleges and universities around the world.

Open Justice co-produced this certified five-hour online train-the-trainer course with UNODC, launched in November 2019, and translated into Spanish in 2020.


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Support Through Court : Domestic Abuse

The Open Justice team collaborated with charity Support Through Court (STC) to launch a free open online resource for learners, themed around domestic abuse. Its timely launch coincided with the rapid rise in numbers of people in domestic abuse situations seeking help during the UK lockdown.

STC helps members of the public who are facing court alone to navigate our complex civil and family legal systems. The service is delivered by more than 750 trained volunteers. The Open Justice Centre  has produced the digital course to train these volunteers to work with both survivors and alleged perpetrators of domestic abuse. The course’s domestic abuse modules will also make useful learning for anyone who is thinking of volunteering to work with domestic abuse charities.

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A practical guide to UK human rights and discrimination law

The OU Law School’s Open Justice Centre has developed a prototype online learning module in discrimination and human rights law training for charities. This follows a five-month collaborative project with AdviceUK, the UK’s largest network of independent social welfare advice organisations.

Law lecturers Hugh McFaul and Francine Ryan from the Open Justice Centre worked closely with Chilli Reid, Executive Director, and colleagues at AdviceUK on the ‘Improving lives through online learning for the advice sector: Discrimination and Human Rights’ project. They reviewed current training resources around discrimination and human rights law, and identified training needs for those working across the advice sector by engaging with a range of social welfare advice organisations.

This research informed the design of the prototype online learning module which comprises five hours of learning. All AdviceUK members have also received a briefing on discrimination and human rights resources.

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Pro bono work and social justice

Pro bono (‘for the public good’ in Latin) involves lawyers and law students giving up their time on a voluntary basis to help people who need legal assistance but do not have the means to afford it.

In this free course, Pro bono work and social justice, you will consider the role of pro bono in law schools, examine the relationship between pro bono and legal aid, and evaluate whether pro bono should be mandatory. The theme of social justice will be explored and you will examine how innovation can address the justice gap. You will consider the development of the online court and the role that crowdfunding may play in facilitating access to justice.

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BBC : The Detectives

Hugh McFaul and Francine Ryan have been appointed as Academic Advisors to The Detectives; a three-part BBC2 documentary following Greater Manchester Police as they tackle complex and organised crime. This is due to be broadcast early in 2021 and is an excellent opportunity to raise the public profile of the OU Law School and the Open Justice Centre.

Hugh was advisor for the previous series which reached millions of viewers who were invited to explore the legal issues raised in the series on OpenLearn, the OU’s public platform.