module specification

SW7047 - Professional Law for Social Work (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Professional Law for Social Work
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 10
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 100
64 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Unseen Examination 33% 50 3 hour unseen exam - Component 1
Unseen Examination 33% 50 3 hour unseen exam - Component 2
Unseen Examination 34% 50 3 hour unseen exam - Component 3
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

This module will help students develop a critical understanding of primary statutes, regulations and guidance related to social work in the context of children and families law, adult law and mental health law.

Module aims

 This module provides opportunities for students to:

  • Identify and critically analyse the main statutes, regulations and guidance relevant to social work.
  • Analyse case-law relevant to social work and critically evaluate the law as it applies to children and families and vulnerable adults.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the law within the context of anti-discriminatory practice


  •  Legal and policy frameworks
  • Applying legislation to practice
  • Reviewing case law
  • Tensions between guidance, policy and case-law in relation to interventions

     Core areas to include:

  • Children & Family law
  • Community Care law
  • Mental Health law
  • Law relevant to domestic violence
  • Equality & Human Rights
  • Disability

Learning and teaching

Weekly sessions will be interactive with a balance of direct input and student led seminars.
Students will be provided with questions related to aspects of the law and leading cases to be covered weekly. They will be directed to relevant reading in order to research answers to these questions, applying them to social work practice and values.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will:  
(LO1)   Critically understand the legal frameworks within which social workers practise.     
(LO2)   Demonstrate knowledge of the legal rights of service users and how they might be upheld in practice.     
(LO3)   Evaluate critically the relevant legislation and legal obligations available to  social workers,  and  options for intervention on behalf of service users in a range of practice settings

Assessment strategy

There will be 3-hour unseen open book examination which will require students to apply their knowledge of statute and case-law to set case studies.  The exam will consist of 3 equally-weighted components , each of which must be passed.


Brammer, A. (2010) Social Work Law (3rd ed.), London, Longmans

Brayne, H. & Carr, H. (2012) Law for Social Workers, (12th ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press

Brown, R. (2013) The approved mental health professional's guide to mental health law (3rd ed.) Exeter: Learning Matters

Edwards, A. (2011) Violence against women under international human rights law, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press

John, R. (2011), Using the law in social work (5th ed.), Exeter: learning Matters

Mandelstam, M (2013) Safeguarding adults and the law (2nd ed.), London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Mandelstam, M (2005) Community care practice and the law (4th ed.), London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Seymour, C & Seymour, R.B (2013) Practical Child Law for Social Workers A guide to English Law and Policy London: Sage

White, R., Broadbent, G. and Brow, K (2009). Law and the social work practitioner: a manual for practice (2nd ed.) Exeter: Learning Matters

White, R. (2008) The Children Act in practice (4th ed.), London:  Lexis

E- sources include legal databases (particularly Lexis)

Lexis Library:

SCIE (2009) E:Learning Law & Social Work