A Level Law
Welcome to A Level Law. This document is intended as a guide to the subject and to give you some useful pointers about the course, background information about how it is taught, entry requirements, and things you can do to prepare for lessons to start in September, which are of course optional.
A LEVEL LAW – Course Summary
Background to A Level
Our A Level subjects are clustered into pathways - you should choose and follow a specific A Level pathway, taking subjects from the core and additional choices listed.
Law features within the following A Level pathways as a CORE subject: Law and Legal
It is included within the following A Level pathways as an ADDITIONAL subject: Business and Entrepreneurship; English and Communication; Humanities; Social Sciences
Other options may also be available, depending on timetabling.
This subject will enable you to understand how the Law affects your life. The topics covered – such as the English Legal System, the Judiciary, Criminal Law, the Law of Tort – constantly receive the attention of the press and news media.
The study of Law requires an understanding of Legislation (Laws made by Parliament) and Case Law. You will need to acquire the ability to apply these rules to unique circumstances, arriving at a logical conclusion – since that is what lawyers and judges have to do as a matter of course.
Whatever you decide to do at University, studying Law at A Level will allow you to learn to think clearly and logically. You will also improve your writing skills, in order to communicate your thought processes effectively. The skills that you begin to learn as a lawyer are highly transferable to other subjects, not just obvious ones with legal content such as Business and Politics, but English Literature too. An ability to be analytical will help you no matter what you end up doing.
Law combines well with any other subject, but has particular links with social sciences such as Government and Politics and Sociology. It is useful if taken with languages to take advantage of study and career opportunities in Europe, or with business-based subject
Law is very useful, both in terms of careers, and as an education for life. Everyone is subject to English Law, and you are both restricted and protected by it. The Law becomes increasingly important in adult life when you take on further responsibilities.
Law is relevant to many careers: banking, accountancy, the Police, Estate Agency, Insurance, any business career, and of course the Law itself.
Although A Level Law is not a requirement for entry to the legal profession, it could help you to decide whether or not you want to pursue this career idea. All universities now welcome students with evidence of prior study of Law at A level – some of our students interview for Oxbridge every year.
As stated above, the study of Law demonstrates your ability to think logically and express yourself clearly. This is an attractive skill in the eyes of all employers.
In order to be considered for an A Level programme of study, you will need to obtain a minimum of five GCSEs at a grade 4/C or above.
Specific entry requirements for A Level Law are detailed below:
You will must have at least 2 GCSEs (no equivalents) at Grade 6 (or B) or above including English Language and at least 3 other GCSEs at Grade 5 (or C) or above in any other subjects.
All of these GCSEs must demonstrate good levels of literacy, since A Level Law is an exam-based topic – there is no assessed work.
In the A Level you study the English Legal System – how laws are made both by Parliament and the Courts, how the Criminal Justice System works – from Police arrest to Criminal Trial. We will also look at how the Court hierarchy works, and how Criminal Appeals are dealt with.
You will also study key components of Criminal, Contract and Tort Law (otherwise known as the Law of Negligence).
Throughout the course we make use of textbooks, newspaper articles, electronic media and other material. Your understanding of topics will be developed and tested regularly through essays and problem-solving.
Obviously there will be a certain focus on learning how to write a Law essay, since that is how the subject is assessed. Examiners structure their marking in a way that recognises knowledge of the law and its’ application.
Nevertheless, the classes are far from being about rote-learning and the simple parroting of facts in an exam environment.
Just as important is learning how lawyers present their arguments orally, both to clients and to the court. As a consequence there is scope for students to prepare and participate in discussion, debates, quizzes and mock trials. Every Law degree course will offer the same facility, so the sooner students are exposed to these activities the better.
Apart from anything else, learning the law should be fun, as well as an opportunity to develop and maintaining the key skill of evidence-based argument.
Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
Students in the College also have the opportunity to study for the EPQ in certain subjects (not A Level Law) which frequently have a legal content. This is a written assignment of 5000 words. More information can be obtained about this from other course leaders.
This course does not contain a specific work experience component, but has other activities to help you develop employability skills. If you would like to undertake a work placement alongside your studies our Employability Team can help.
Timings and Assessments
A Level Law is “linear” meaning that you will study the subject for two years and then be examined on it in three exams at the end of Year 2.
You will have 5 hours per week of class time in the first year, and 4.5 hours in the second year. You will find that at least an equal amount of private study will be required to complete the course successfully. Individual support is available.
There are two designated Law teaching rooms. One room has easy access to several computers and use of internet resources is encouraged.
Costs and Resources
This course is free to students aged 16-18 years. The main workbooks used on the course will be provided in class and on the VLE. Textbooks are available for use in the classroom and the library. You are encouraged to buy your own textbooks and e-books are available. Law journals are available in the library; we do not recommend that you buy them yourself.
You should consider buying or reading a daily newspaper such as The Times, Guardian, or The Independent.
Visits and enrichment
Every year, a trip is arranged to London to visit the House of Parliament and the Supreme Court – the highest Court in the land.
For more information about this subject, including work which you may wish to do in preparation,
Please contact: Sean Bradley, Section Leader for Law –
For general enquiries please contact – email@example.com
Understanding how the Law affects you, and how you can use it to protect yourself and others, is a vital element of citizenship which everybody should learn – A Level Law fulfils this entitlement. You will be encouraged to visit local, national courts and the Supreme Court in London.
Preparing to study A Level Law – things to do over the summer
Students that wish to prepare for their studies may find the following suggestions useful:-
The Media – A good Law student will have a broad awareness of current affairs (in particular relating to legal issues). For this reason, we recommend that one of the best ways to prepare for your Law degree is to read a good quality British newspaper or news website every day.
Many newspapers have specific sections for legal news (included in the links below):
The Independent, The Telegraph, The Guardian – also -Twitter @GdnLaw Books Below are specific texts and other resources that may help you to prepare for your legal studies and expand your awareness of the scope of Law.
Please note that these are recommendations only – It is not necessary for students to have read these and A Level Law teaching begins with the assumption of no legal knowledge.
I have tried to restrict our recommendations to books that are not too expensive and may be of continuing use to you during your first year of study.
You may find these books cheaply via the internet or some may be available in your local library. My first recommendations are books about how to study law:
- N.J. McBride, Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University (Longman 2010)
- A. Bradney, F. Cownie, J. Masson, A. Neal and D. Newell, How to Study Law (Sweet and Maxwell 2010 )
- G. Williams, Learning the Law (14th edition; Sweet and Maxwell 2010)
Students who enjoy fiction may enjoy reading works with legal themes such as:
- Charles Dickens, Bleak House
- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mocking Bird
- Franz Kafka, The Trial Online resources
The following websites/blogs may be useful tools and gateways to additional information:
- The Guardian website have published “Law: a student guide” with interesting articles about what to expect whilst studying law at university, if you decide to go on to study law at degree level:
- The Student Lawyer is a free online resource that brings together legal news and articles in an accessible format for future lawyers. The site is written by law students or practising professionals and is intended for law students of all levels: http://thestudentlawyer.com/
- The Twitter feed of the New Weekly Law Journal: @newlawjournal There are a number of legal blogs that you may find interesting, including:
- Blogs written by two current University of Leicester students are obviously geared towards studying law in the first year of their degrees, but they do have useful things to say about studying the subject in terms of an ‘approach’:
- The blog of Leicester law graduate Philip Henson, who is now a partner and Head of Employment Law at an award winning London Law firm. He is regularly quoted as an expert in employment law in the national, international and HR media; including several appearances on BBC News 24, BBC Radio, ITN News and Sky News:
- Two blogs focusing on legal issues in the UK http://obiterj.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://charonqc.wordpress.com/
- The blog of an in-house lawyer from the telecoms industry http://lawactually.blogspot.co.uk/
- The blog of a Leeds-based barrister who writes about the realities of entering the profession: http://pupillageandhowtogetit.wordpress.com/
TASKS TO COMPLETE
Research the cases of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. These were cases involving men who were suspected of belonging to the IRA – a terrorist group that began a campaign of pub bombings in the 1970’s – 1980’s. These men were wrongly convicted. What do you think went wrong with the Criminal Justice process in these cases?
Research some key terms, cases and law that you will meet on the course, as follows:
Beyond all reasonable doubt
On the Balance of probabilities
Donoghue-v-Stevenson – Watch the You Tube clip on the birth of the law of Tort and Law Reporting https://youtu.be/yLleV7XhkRI
Prima Facie, Mens Rea, Actus Reus, Claimant, Defendant, Theft, Robbery, Burglary;
Some criminal defences you can research: Insanity – see R-v-McNaughten, Intoxication – R-v-Majewski, Recklessness – R-v-Caldwell, R-v-Cunningham
Crown Prosecution Service
Contract, Invitation to treat, Consideration, Exclusion clause, The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977
I hope you find these sources and activities useful. Hopefully see you in September!