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20 years of teaching law at The Open University

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Celebrating #20yearsOULaw

It is with immense gratitude and pride that we are celebrating 20 years of Higher Legal Education at The Open University (OU). This journey began with 861 students studying the OU’s first law module W200 Understanding Law in 1998.

A lot can change over two decades. The OU Law School and teaching Law at the OU has come a long way. From starting with one law module to now teaching a full undergraduate Law qualification, a postgraduate taught offering and a postgraduate research programme.

Dr Anne Wesemann
Head of Department, The Open University Law School

The law programme grew considerably, with offering a total of eight modules in partnership with the then College of Law to form a full law degree. This partnership with the now University of Law continues into our celebration year while we launched our very first OU in-house produced law module in 2006 with W100 Law rules, rights and justice: an introduction to law. Excerpts from this successful module continue to be available on OpenLearn.

After launching its first Law postgraduate qualification in 2012, the OU Law School is home to the OU’s own full law undergraduate degree since 2014, now teaching around 7,000 students at any given time.

It is a time when we look back to remember those that played a vital role in enabling today’s success. The late Professor Gary Slapper, who was the first OU Law Professor and became the first Head of Law School, was convinced of the role The Open University had to play in Higher Legal Education. We can still today witness his enthusiasm and commitment when we look at five short recordings, where he and colleagues discuss the role of barristers, judges and justice itself.

We have taken our ‘lawversary’ as a moment to reflect on the last twenty years, but also to see where we are now and where we want to be in the next 20 years. This page will host a series of celebratory videos, showing the OU Law School contributors as they reflect and look ahead. Join us in celebrating #20yearsOULaw

Celebratory videos

Image of Dr Marjan Ajevski

Dr Marjan Ajevski

Marjan is our first Research Fellow and proudly reflects on the role the programme is playing in relation to social justice and diversity.

Image of Keren Lloyd Bright

Keren Lloyd Bright

Keren remembers well what legal education looked like at The Open University when she joined as a central academic in 2005.

Image of Dr Caroline Derry

Dr Caroline Derry

Caroline joined The Open University Law School in 2017 and is the driving force behind the law specific introductory programme.

Image of Carol Howells

Carol Howells

Carol has seen the Law programme at The Open University develop right from the start and helped bring the first module W200 on its way in 1998.

Image of Hugh McFaul

Hugh McFaul

Hugh has progressed from a student to an academic at the OU, and shares an inspiring encounter with the late Gary Slapper.

Image of Alison Miller

Alison Miller

Alison knows the workings of the OU Law Programme inside out, working with Associate Lecturers, Central Academics and Students.

Image of Dr Stephanie Pywell

Dr Stephanie Pywell

Stephanie talks about the excitement of this form of teaching and the purpose the Law School has in delivering a significant social mission.

Image of Dr Anne Wesemann

Dr Anne Wesemann

Anne reflects on the way Higher Legal Education has been transformed through the OU’s law programme and what role the OU Law School has to play in the future.

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Our growing research programme

Law School colleagues look back on the past 20 years and look ahead to the future

Image of Caroline and Stephanie

In conversation with Stephanie and Caroline

Steph and Caroline discuss different initiatives that helped enhance the student experience and enrich the programme

You can view all our #20yearsOULaw celebratory videos on YouTube.