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Dear Fresher, This year, Catz Freshers are receiving an additional Catz JCR Publication – a Subject Guide. We commissioned our year group to create a guide designed to assist in adjustment to life and work at Catz, specific to each subject. Our contemporaries reacted with typical Catz spirit and we are so proud of the results. In each guide should be a brief intro to what your first year will be like, with contact details, relevant links, helpful tips and useful information. By no means will all of it be relevant (or even make sense) before you arrive, but hopefully having a gist of how the year will turn out will prove helpful, and we suggest you read it in the summer. We also recommend that you keep it in mind throughout the year, some of the points may only become relevant later in the year. We ask that you don’t distribute these guides outside the Catz community – it’s by Catz, for Catz. We have tried to verify all the information, but some will inevitably change, such as who will supervise you. Please accept our apologies if that is the case. For this Law guide we would like to credit and thank Rhiannon and Katie. Please remember there is a multitude of people for you to come to with questions – us, the Subject Reps, your college parents, and others in the main Freshers’ Guide. We all want to help. Looking forward to meeting you – enjoy the rest of the summer! Catz Love Beth and Mikey



WELCOME TO LAW AT CATZ! Congratulations for all the hard work you have put in so far to get here! We’re very proud of you already and can’t wait to meet you! Who are the current lawyers? From now on you’ll find yourselves referred to affectionately as ‘the lawyers’ despite having no credentials to justify it yet! Law is one of the subjects with the biggest workloads, which means the law students quickly bond in the face of it and there aren’t many subjects who have such a strong sense of community (cf Medics and Vets)! Here are the 2nd Year lawyers with email addresses (add after the initials and numbers) all of whom will be on hand in case you need any help! Katie Patrick – kap43 Robbie Denison – rbd26 Clara Browne – crb53 Jonny Hyman – jh867 Ingrid Kauler – ik312 Ciaran Constable – cjc207 Rhiannon Lockwood – rlhl2 Simon Sowerby – ss2111 Scott Warin – sw629 In addition to many 3rd and 4th years that we can’t be bothered to list. The Course Every first year lawyer studies the same subjects: civil, constitutional, criminal, and tort. This means you can bond over the trials and tribulations of a law degree. Together. How nice. It also means you don’t have to worry about which subjects to pick – love them or hate them this is what you’re going to be doing for the next year so you might as well learn to like them!


Civil (or Roman) law –you study different aspects of law in the Roman Empire, covering personal and property law. It’s really different from the other subjects, and you get to learn everything from how to free a slave, to who has rights over treasure. A few weeks in you learn to love it for the lack of cases to read! Roman tends to have the lightest workload of the four. Whilst there may not be masses of cases to read it’s more important that you try to get to grips with the more technical aspects of the law. Roman law is more about logic, being presented with a set of rules and then working out when they apply and how over time different individuals dealt with situations that caused problems for these rules.

Constitutional law – This looks at the relationship between the state and the individual and the methods used to govern the UK, focusing on the powers held by the different branches of decision makers. It considers things like the sovereignty of parliament, the role of conventions and constitutions and the importance of some fundamental human rights. It’s really relevant and allows

!! you to consider more conceptual ideas about the role of the law. This paper does have some political aspects to it and whilst those of us who had studied politics initially had a better grasp of the structure of government etc. you soon pick this up so don’t worry if it takes a bit of time! You do spend quite a bit of time at the beginning covering topics designed to help your understanding and it’s not until later, once you have this, that you then look at how this impacts on things such as human rights, which a lot of us found to be the more enjoyable part as you get the chance to form opinions and then debate this within supervisions. •

Criminal law – Quite self-explanatory! You focus on a different group of offences in each supervision (so one week you might do offences against the person, the next week sexual offences, etc.) and along the way tackle particularly contentious issues surrounding that area of law. Beware of the sometimes vast number of cases you can be asked to read – generally you don’t need to know many in detail, so don’t get bogged down in the gory details, and instead focus on learning the legal principle the case decided, for example as fascinating as I’m sure you’d find the case of R v Brown (and this is one you’ll be introduced to pretty quickly and will struggle to forget!) this case is important as it confirms that you cannot consent to anything amounting to actual bodily harm.

Tort law – One that is quite difficult to explain. It relates to civil wrongs, where people have caused harm to others, but not in a criminal way. (To put it really simply if someone does something wrong to you the state can launch criminal proceedings resulting in a criminal conviction or you yourself can sue them in tort and they may be found tortuously liable and could be required to provide compensation). Tort is really relevant and interesting – you get to learn lots (and lots and lots…) of cases and find out the law behind things you knew about but never really understood like why Naomi Campbell succeeded in getting an injunction against a newspaper exposing her drug addiction, or which Act ensures you are able to sue the manufacturers of defective products.

At the end of the year (at the beginning of June) you sit one exam in each subject. In each exam you have 3 hours to write 4 essays. But that’s to worry about later! Reading …is a massive part of a law degree, especially at Cambridge. Before you get here make sure you dig into the set holiday reading, but equally don’t stress about it. It’s just there to give you an introduction to subjects you will might not have done before so read the books and !!

!! familiarise yourself with the material but there’s no point in taking notes, you’re going to cover it all again in much more detail! – the real work starts when you get here so concentrate on having a nice relaxing summer! Your supervisors will advise you on specific textbooks that you need to read throughout the year, and for each supervision you receive a hand-out with a reading list of the relevant textbook pages, articles and cases to read. This reading is normally accompanied by questions to direct your reading, and sometimes a written piece of work to be submitted and marked. You will usually have about an essay a week, but be warned that it doesn’t always work that neatly! All the books for 1st year are available in the New Library in college, but since there are quite a few other first years, there aren’t enough copies for everyone. We found that buying the core textbooks was worthwhile – it means you can annotate or underline if that helps you and prevents a squabble over the textbook everyone needs for an imminent supervision. Conversely- don’t go out and buy every book under the sun! You only need 1 textbook for each subject – when you require others it’s easy just to pop into New Library and take a book for a few hours. If New Library is out, then Squire Law Library (at the Law Fac on Sidgwick) has copies of every law book you could ever want. You can check availability of books in all the libraries on the library computer. Make sure you ask your college parents whether they have books to get rid of before you buy new (and very expensive) versions. They Law Faculty run a book sale each year too, which can be good value for money. What you will need to buy new (from Heffers on … street) are copies of statute books. These basically detail relevant Acts of Parliament and you are allowed to take them into exams for reference (but need them throughout the year too). There’s no book for civil, so you just need a copy of Blackstone’s Statutes on ‘Public Law and Human Rights’, ‘Contract, Tort and Restitution’, and ‘Criminal Law’. Make sure you don’t write in these! They need to remain completely spotless if you want to avoid buying a new copy for your exams. A normal week You have lectures every day (except for at the weekends, well done for not choosing Natsci). Each one lasts an hour in the law faculty at the Sidgwick site and you usually have about 2 a day. Main recommendation: go to your lectures! They provide incentive to wake up on those disastrous post-Cindies Thursday mornings, and give !!

!! your day variety (otherwise you risk being chained to the library 24/7 and very few people find that fun). The clever people in charge have stopped you being able to get any internet or signal in the lecture theatres so resisting facebook is easier than one might imagine. Of course every lecture is fascinating so it’s easy to pay attention, but if you make you sure you concentrate and make good notes from the start, revising will be far easier at the end, so try your best. It’s worth trying to combine any notes you make from a lecture with your supervision notes so as to save yourself time later. The two are meant to run side by side so often a case that is explained to you in lectures can help with the supervision work. As well as lectures you have supervisions to fit in - preparation for these takes up the rest of your studying time. You have one supervision for each subject every 2 weeks. So generally this works out at 2 supervisions a week, some in college and some outside. This is a good opportunity to learn from other fellows, and experience the (inferior) vibe of other colleges. Supervisions take place in small groups (usually 3 students) and allow you to ask questions, go through particularly hard or contentious areas of the law, and resolve any difficulties you have. Make the most of them by coming prepared (making sure that all the core reading/set questions have been attempted) and not being afraid to ask questions and speak up when you don’t understand something. Different supervisors will have different styles so don’t worry if it takes some time to get used to! The 5 Steps on the Path to becoming a Happy Lawyer 1. Do something other than law! An odd one to start with, but it would be a shame if you had your head buried in a book in the library all day every day for 3 years. With good time management and limited procrastination (skills quickly picked up, we promise!) it’s definitely possible to make the most of other opportunities– whether that’s throwing ridiculous shapes on the sticky floors of questionable Cambridge clubs, scoring tries (or not scoring tries) for the college rugby team, eating copious amounts of hash-browns in hall on Sunday mornings, or impersonating Mozart in the orchestra, it really doesn’t matter, as long as you find time to relax and do something different. 2. Recognise that you can’t do everything – law is a challenging and time-consuming degree, and it can feel like there is an infinite amount to do. So focus on the core reading and prioritise the work if and when you feel very pressured for time.


!! 3. Work with the other lawyers – put up with the hate you risk getting from non-lawyer friends and talk about your work together. Instead of working right up until 5 minutes before your supervision, aim to finish 2 hours before so you can meet up with 1 or 2 other lawyers to talk over the material. It consolidates what you’ve read and is a more sociable way of succeeding in law. Your friends are often able to explain the simple things, which you’ve not understood, leaving plenty of time for the supervisor to deal with the complicated stuff. 4. Ask for help – Luckily the lawyers at Catz are friendly people who are happy to help. Don’t be afraid to ask the older years for advice when you are stuck; whether that means sharing their notes to help with a topic you’re struggling with, showing you the basics of an online resource they know like the back of their hand, or giving you a pep talk during moments of stress when you don’t want to burden your year. Your tutor/director of studies/ supervisors are all there to help you too, so let them know when you are struggling and they will do all they can to resolve those difficulties. 5. Things to learn from the mistakes we made! You’re going to learn a lot from first year about the way you work best, from what time of the day you find it easiest to work out to how to best make notes (what bits are worth noting, which bits are not etc.) Just two quick pieces of advice and it’s up to you whether or not you listen – I know when our college parents told us the same it was all too easy to ignore but having done it ourselves we wish we’d perhaps listened a bit more! a. Work a proper day! It sounds simple enough but what with the new found freedom of only have two, possibly three hours of timetabled things it’s easy to get distracted and spend your days lazing around and then finding yourself up until all hours trying to complete work for a supervision. If you try and say to yourself you’ll work from 9 until 5 you shouldn’t struggle to get the work done and it’s so much nice to take time to relax having finished the work early. It is a lot of work and it will take time to adjust (when I say 9 til 5 that isn’t just for the weekdays!) but you’ll get a lot quicker as the time goes on so just keep going it is doable! b. Use the holidays wisely! By the time you get to Christmas all you pretty much want to do is sleep and you deserve it so do! But all we would say is don’t waste it. You’re never going to have enough time during term to do all the further reading, so spending some time over the holidays doing it will help you no end when it comes to exams, going over lecture notes/ supervision notes and editing/ condensing them for the first terms work will mean you’ve !!

!! done half when it comes to exam term and if you do manage to get any of the supervision work for lent term done you can do what some of the second years managed and remain one supervision ahead for the rest of the year so there’s never a last minute panic to get everything done! Obviously these things are all ideals but try and do as many as you can without going crazy and I promise it will help! Directions Your college parents and your supervisors will keep you right about where things are, everyone understands you won’t know your way around, and you will always have 2 other Catz lawyers going to the same place as you, so don’t worry about getting lost! Make the effort to arrange to all meet in the college car park on the first morning of lectures and plan to go to the first few supervisions together at least until you get a feel for where everything is, it’s much nice to turn up with everyone else! Here is a helpful map Lectures – all lectures are in the law faculty, which is the massive building, which looks like an airport at the Sidgwick site. A 7 minute walk or 3 minute cycle from Catz if you’re speedy, but leave longer than that (at least in week 1). The lecture theatres you will be use are all right next to each other - go down one flight of stairs in the faculty and through the doors straight ahead to find them. •

Civil supervisions take place in Dr Melikan’s room which is at the top of O staircase. Just go out into the fellow’s carpark, through the archway on the left and the door is straight ahead.

Constitutional supervisions are in Dr Elliott’s room, which is at the very top of B staircase. Go through the second door on the left hand side of main court, walk up a lot of stairs and you’ll be there.

Criminal Supervisions throw you out into the big bad world, all the way to Jesus College. It is notoriously difficult to find your way around, but Dr Stark will meet you the porter’s lodge first time.

Tort Supervisions take place at Pembroke College. Just come out of Catz main entrance, cross the road, turn right, and walk 2 minutes up the road. Nick McBride will tell you where to go from there.

Finally, remember that you have been accepted here for a reason, so make sure you make the most of your time in Cambridge!


!! Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about law or anything else (just email any of us, your college parents or Katie the Law Rep). In the meantime, HAVE A GREAT SUMMER and we look forward to meeting you all properly in October! PS watch this it has LOTS OF CATZ Fresher!lawyers!on!day!1!




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