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Learning outcomes

At the end of this unit you should know that:

  • By biological evolution we mean that many of the organisms that inhabit the Earth today are different from those that inhabited it in the past.

  • Natural selection is one of several processes that can bring about evolution, although it can also promote stability rather than change.

  • The four propositions underlying Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection are: (1) more individuals are produced
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1.6.4 Blogs

The founder of Technorati  claims that the number of ‘blogs’ doubles every five months and that the creation rate is approaching two per second. One estimate I read in July 2010 put the number at 400 million blogs. Because these online diaries offer instant publishing opportunities, you potentially have access to a wealth of knowledge from commentators and experts (if they blog) in a wide ra
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1.6.2 Alerts

Online bookshops and some of the major search engines offer ‘Alerts’ services. These work by allowing you to set up a profile once you have registered on their site, and when there are items meeting your criteria you receive an email. The good thing about alerts is that you don’t have to do anything once you have set up your profile. The downside, particularly with alerts services from the search engines, is that given the extent to which internet traffic is on the increase whether new
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1.6.1 Introduction

The process of keeping up-to-date in your chosen subject area is useful for your studies and afterwards, for your own personal satisfaction, or perhaps in your career as part of your continuing professional development.

There are a great many tools available that make it quite easy to keep yourself up to date. You can set them up so that the information comes to you, rather than you having to go out on the web looking for it. Over the next few pages, you will be experimenting with some
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1.5.8 Bibliographic software

If you are considering taking your studies further you might like to consider using bibliographic software. Bibliographic software can be used to sort references, annotate them, manage quotations or create reading lists.

There are several software packages on the market. Some are listed below.

1.5.7 Referencing

We mentioned above that we need to reference sources to ensure we abide by copyright legislation. But there is another reason we need to give accurate references to items we use – so we can share it.

Consider this scenario. A friend says they’ve just read an interesting article where Joshua Schachter, founder of Delicious has spoken about why it isn’t a faceted search system, and you should read it. How would you go about finding it? Would you start looking in a news database, a s
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1.3.2 Search Engines and Subject Gateways

Although both search engines and subject gateways will help you find the resources that you need, the types of information that you find will differ.

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo! search the internet for keywords or phrases, and then show you the results. These results are not mediated by the search engines, and therefore you need to use your own judgement on the reliability of the results. You may, for example, find websites written by experts, alongside websites written by
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1.1.6 Keeping Up-to-date

How familiar are you with the following different ways of keeping up to date with information; alerts, mailing lists, newsgroups, blogs, RSS, professional bodies and societies?

  • 5 - Very familiar

  • 4 - Familiar

  • 3 - Fairly familiar

  • 2 - Not very familiar

  • 1 - Not familiar at all


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1.1.1 Assessing your current level of knowledge

If you explore all the resources and activities in this unit, you might need to allow between two and nine hours to complete it.

Before you read this guide, why not use the self-assessment questions on the next screen to rate your current level of knowledge?

Print or save these questions and for each question, mark the most appropriate number on the scale. When you have finished, you can review your answers. A score of three or less might indicate a gap in your knowledge
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3.5 Common law

This may be a familiar term that you have encountered in newspaper reports or on the television or radio. Common law has its roots in history. In 1066, William the Conqueror began to establish a strong central government and to standardise the law in England. Representatives of the King were sent
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4.13.3 Scrutiny

Again, connected to the accountability issue is the problem of adequate scrutiny. The detailed, technical and specific nature of much-delegated legislation means that, on the whole, Members of Parliament (the elected representatives) do not have the expertise to consider proposed legislation effectively. In addition, you have already noted that the scrutiny committees themselves only have limited powers.


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4.11.2 Substantial ultra vires

This is where the delegated legislation goes beyond what Parliament intended.

In R v Secretary of State for Education and Employment, ex parte National Union of Teachers (2000) QBD, the High Court determined that an SI concerning teachers’ pay and appraisal arrangements went beyond the powers provided under the Education Act 1996. Therefore, the delegated legislation was declared to be ultra vires on substantive grounds.


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3.3.3 Committee stage

At this stage a detailed examination of each clause of the Bill is undertaken by a committee of between 16 and 50 MPs. The committee subjects the Bill to line-by-line examination and makes amendments. The committee which carries out these discussions comprises MPs representing the different political parties roughly in proportion to the overall composition of the House of Commons. There will therefore be a Government majority on the committee. However, an attempt is made to ensure representat
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3.1 Types of Bill

Figure 7
Figure 7 The Houses of Parliament.

An Act of Parliament starts off as a Bill. A Bill is a proposal for a new piece of legislation that
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4.3 Summary of Part C

After studying Part C you should be able to:

  • explain the problems associated with formulating rules;

  • identify whether a rule is too specific;

  • identify whether a rule is too general;

  • identify solutions to a problem of rule formulation.


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2.3 Summary of part B

There is no right to privacy in UK law. Individuals who allege an invasion of privacy rely on one of the following:

  • breach of the right to confidence, which is a common law right;

  • Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

To succeed in an action for ‘breach of the right to confidence’ you would have to prove:

  • that the information had the necessary ‘quality of
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2.1 Treaties, conventions and constitutions

International human rights are part of a much wider area, public international law, which in broad terms encompasses law relating to the legal rights, duties and powers of one nation state in relation to its dealings with other nation states. These rights, duties and powers are set out in international treaties or conventions. Such treaties and conventions may be global in their application or restricted to certain regions of the world. Reference to a work on international human rights treati
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2.3 Application of the ECHR

The ECHR places an important emphasis on individual rights whilst trying to strike a balance between individual and collective rights.

Activity 1 Drafting a charter of rights

0 hours 15 minutes
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3.3 Have I given due consideration to units of measurement?

Many mathematical problems include units of measurement. The measurement may be of length, weight, time, temperature or currency. The UK uses both metric and imperial units.

The table below gives the units of length that are in everyday use in the UK, but you may know some others.

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Try some yourself

1 Without using your calculator solve the following calculations.

  • (a) 3 + 5 × 2 = ?

  • (b) 12 − 6 + 6 = ?

  • (c) 6 + (5 + 4) × 3 = ?

  • (
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