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LAW AT CAMBRIDGE: A guide for prospective undergraduate students


A MESSAGE FOR APPLICANTS...

The University of Cambridge is an amazing place to study Law. The Faculty of Law is one of the oldest and finest in the world, the Colleges are places of community and learning, and the city itself is lovely. There are many ways in which Law at Cambridge is special: the lectures are given by experts; the ‘supervision’ classes are small and interactive; the library, in a magnificent modern building, is one of the largest law libraries anywhere; and the student body is diverse and exuberant. Everyone here is talented, and everyone is here to learn. Whatever your own background, we hope that you will decide to join us. The only criterion for entry is academic potential, and the only thing you need to do is apply.

THE FACULTY OF LAW ACCESS TEAM Claire Fenton-Glynn, Ali Lyons, and Henry Mares


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LAW AT UNIVERSITY

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LAW AT CAMBRIDGE

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THE UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE

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OTHER PATHWAYS TO LAW

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CAREER PATHS

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FACILITIES AT CAMBRIDGE

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APPLICATIONS

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WHAT WE LOOK FOR

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FIND OUT MORE


LAW AT UNIVERSITY Our laws are not set in stone. Like the law itself, an undergraduate law degree is dynamic and demanding. As a university law student, you won’t be asked simply to “learn” the law, but rather to engage in complex questions of analysis, interpretation, and ethics. Law is a richly interdisciplinary subject, combining elements of history, philosophy, English, and politics. You will learn from historical examples, advance your critical reading and writing skills, and learn to question the status quo.

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The combination of interests and skills present in a university level law degree makes it an excellent opportunity for students who have broad academic interests.

Likewise, the skills you will acquire in critical thinking and concise communication will offer you a range of opportunities following graduation, not only in the field of legal practice, but also in government, international organisations, the charity sector, and beyond.

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Why was this law written? What unintended consequences does it have?

How might this law apply to a new situation?

LAW AT CAMBRIDGE At Cambridge, our Law students take an academic approach to law. Our combination of lectures and small-group “supervisions” gives students a thorough grounding in legal principles, while encouraging them to think critically about the law.

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1 lecture = 1 hour 200 students/lecture

Lectures bring together Law students from every college. Held in large lecture halls at The David Williams Building, your lectures will give the core ideas for each subject you take. A leading member of the Faculty in the field will guide you through the subject, posing questions for you to consider before and after your readings, and encouraging you to challenge accepted views.

The supervision system is a form of small-group teaching at Cambridge that facilitates individual involvement with the material. Supervisions are a unique, personal way to engage with your fellow students and an academic member of staff who is an expert in the field. You will have the chance to ask questions, and to talk over some written work such as an essay or problem questions. You can probe ideas that interest you, dig in to ideas you’ve been struggling with, and listen to some opposing viewpoints.

SUPERVISIONS

LECTURES

8-12 lectures/week

1 supervision = 1 hour 2-4 students/supervision 2-3 supervisions/week

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LAW TRIPOS DEGREE The term “Tripos” used to refer to the three-legged stool that Cambridge students sat on to take their final exams. Although we don’t make you sit on a stool anymore, the name “Tripos” has stuck around. To gain a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA) as a first degree at Cambridge, you must pass two Tripos examinations, one of them above part I level.

3 year law track YEAR 1

LAW TRIPOS IA

YEAR 2

LAW TRIPOS IB

YEAR 3

LAW TRIPOS II

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“foundation subjects” CRIMINAL LAW LAW OF TORT CONSTITUTIONAL LAW LAND LAW LAW OF CONTRACT EQUITY EUROPEAN UNION LAW

The Law Tripos degree, working with the Cambridge degree system, is designed to give you maximum flexibility in your studies. Within the typical path, you will build a wide understanding of Law in your first year before having the chance to specialise in topics that especially interest you in your second and third years. Over the course of the degree, you will be able to complete the seven “foundation subjects” and the Legal Skills and Methodology half-paper. These are the subjects that, according to the professional bodies, will form the core of your legal knowledge, should you wish to become a practising lawyer.

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YOUR 1ST YEAR 10

All first year law students study the same four subjects, including three of the “foundation subjects”, as well as Civil Law:    

Criminal Law Civil (Roman) Law Constitutional Law The Law of Tort

Along with these modules, all first year students at Cambridge take an additional half-paper in legal skills and methodology.


How do we define a crime?

CRIMINAL LAW delves into issues of

criminal liability, considering the legal foundations for what we consider a crime. This course also explores issues of legal doctrine, public policy, and political philosophy.

What duty of care do we owe to other members of our society?

THE LAW OF TORT relates to issues of civil wrongdoing, asking you to consider a diverse range of questions. Can you sue a doctor who misdiagnoses your illness, making treatment less likely to succeed? What action can you take if a website contains inaccurate information which you rely on, causing you to lose money? Can you complain if the land next door to yours is being used as an incredibly noisy motor-racing venue? Can you sue the police if you are wrongly arrested and held in custody, even though you came to no harm?

How do our laws allocate and check the power of the state?

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW considers

how the British Constitution allocates powers to different institutions, such as Parliament, the judiciary, and the government. In addition, this course examines topical issues such as the concepts of Parliamentary sovereignty, separation of powers, the devolution of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as the effects of EU law and the European Convention of Human Rights on the legal system on the legal system in the UK.

How would you develop a legal system?

CIVIL (ROMAN) LAW explores the

legal system used by the Romans, which still influences our laws today. This course gives students a chance to study the big picture, including how the different aspects of a legal system function together, and how laws operate within a cultural and historical context. Studying the laws of the Romans offers the unique chance to view how a legal system developed organically to meet the needs of society. 11


YOUR 2ND & 3RD YEARS

As you progress through your course, you will be able to customise your studies. With a wide range of subjects available, as well as options to travel abroad or write a third-year dissertation, you can tailor your law degree at Cambridge to suit your interests.

[OPTION:] THIRD YEAR DISSERTATION In your third year, you will have the option of writing a 12,000 word dissertation on an area of law of your choice. This seminar course gives you the chance to work closely with academic staff, explore your interests in depth, and gain experience in independent research.

12,000 words = about 20-30 pages

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[OPTION:] ERASMUS EXCHANGE SCHEME As a Cambridge Law student, you would be eligible to spend your third year studying abroad at one of our partner institutions. This year would give you the opportunity to learn about the legal system of another country, gain experience and skills valued by employers, and develop your language skills.

erasmus scheme track YEAR 1

LAW TRIPOS IA

YEAR 2

LAW TRIPOS IB

YEAR 3

YEAR ABROAD

YEAR 4

LAW TRIPOS II

Students may apply to participate in this scheme once they have completed their first year of study at Cambridge. This gives us a chance to see your academic ability and language competence. For most destinations, teaching will be held in the local language, meaning that we would require you to demonstrate strong skills in that language in order to participate. Because the UK has chosen to leave the EU, the Erasmus scheme may undergo changes in the coming years. However, the Faculty of Law is committed to maintaining its international ties and continuing to facilitate beneficial student experiences.

destinations POITIERS, FRANCE UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS MADRID, SPAIN REGENSBURG, GERMANY 13


OTHER PATHWAYS TO LAW If you are interested in Law, there are several alternative ways to pursue legal education. Perhaps you are interested in adding legal understanding to another subject, or maybe you are looking to make a career change. The flexibility of the Tripos system at Cambridge gives you several options.

MATURE STUDENTS If you would be over age 21 when you start at Cambridge, and you do not already have a higher education degree, then you can apply for the three-year BA Law degree as a mature student. You will apply through the same process, and will be held to the same standards as other candidates. Because we assess each application individually, we will consider all of your past achievements and experiences to evaluate your unique potential.

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SENIOR STATUS STUDENTS If you already have a degree, you can apply to complete the BA Law degree as a Senior Status (“affiliated”) student. As a Senior Status student, you can focus on the seven “foundation subjects” as well as a limited number of options, allowing you to complete the degree in two years.

affiliated student track BEFORE CAMBRIDGE...

BA DEGREE FROM OTHER UNIVERSITY

YEAR 1

LAW TRIPOS IB

YEAR 2

LAW TRIPOS II

This pathway is recognised by the professional legal bodies as a qualifying law degree.


TRANSFER STUDENTS

LAW CONVERSION COURSE

If you are already an undergraduate student at Cambridge and you are interested in switching to Law, you may choose to pursue a transfer. You should keep in mind that a transfer into Law cannot be guaranteed, and is a matter for your college to decide.

As another pathway to becoming a practising lawyer, you might consider studying a different subject at university, then pursuing a 1-year conversion course.

transfer track 1 YEAR 1

OTHER 1ST YEAR CAMBRIDGE TRIPOS

YEAR 2 LAW TRIPOS IB YEAR 3 LAW TRIPOS II

transfer track 2 YEAR 1

OTHER 1ST YEAR CAMBRIDGE TRIPOS

YEAR 2

OTHER 2ND YEAR CAMBRIDGE TRIPOS

Our law students choose to study law as undergraduates for several reasons:  Law combines and applies aspects of several subjects  The three year degree offers more time to specialise in your favourite areas of law  You will have more opportunities to pursue internships in legal fields  You save time and money by not pursuing an additional course However, if there is a subject other than law that you are passionate about, choosing to study that subject at university will not hurt your chances of ultimately becoming a qualified lawyer.

YEAR 3 LAW TRIPOS IB YEAR 4 LAW TRIPOS II You should also be aware that if you intend to qualify as a barrister or solicitor, you will not have as many chances to explore possible specialities if you study law over two years rather than three.

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CAREER PATHS Graduates of the Cambridge Law programme pursue a range of careers. While many of our graduates secure positions at the bar, others cultivate successful careers outside of legal fields.

possible legal specialisms INTERNATIONAL LAW FAMILY LAW HUMAN RIGHTS CORPORATE LAW

BARRISTER As a barrister, you will serve as an advocate in court. You might specialise in a range of areas, and represent individuals, groups, or companies. Barristers are self-employed, and typically work alongside other barristers in chambers.

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SOLICITOR The counterpart to barristers, solicitors work mainly outside the courtroom, offering advice on a wide array of legal matters. As a solicitor, you will represent your client from the beginning of a case to the end. You might co-ordinate with barristers on courtroom appearances, or you may settle your client’s difficulties without ever entering a courtroom.

OTHER CAREERS IN LAW Because the law is prevalent in all areas of our society, many companies and organisations employ in-house legal counsel. This means that your legal expertise may be useful in sectors ranging from the government, to charities, to the financial sector.


CAREERS BEYOND LAW

FURTHER EDUCATION

If you prefer to work outside the legal profession, you will find that the critical thinking and language skills that you develop through your degree will make you well suited to a variety of careers.

Following your undergraduate law degree, you may choose to pursue further legal education. You might select one of these paths if you hope to become an academic, want to gain further knowledge in a specific area, or would like to return to education following career experience.

careers outside legal work CIVIL SERVICE JOURNALISM MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANCY

graduate legal degrees MASTER OF LAW

MASTER OF CORPORATE LAW DOCTORATE IN LAW

CONSULTING

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AT CAMBRIDGE... As a Cambridge Law student, you will have access to an array of resources, from the countless volumes of the Squire Law Library, to the state of the art IT facilities. In addition to the facilities within the Law Faculty, you can also access resources such as the University Library, your college library, and the Cambridge Careers Service.

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WITHIN THE FACULTY The David Williams Building, which houses the Faculty of Law, was designed to gather research and teaching under one roof and foster an atmosphere of intellectual collaboration. In addition to the Squire Law Library, The David Williams Building holds teaching rooms designed to accommodate a variety of teaching styles, from large lectures to small seminars. It also houses a cafĂŠ and casual seating areas, making it a social as well as an intellectual hub.

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LAW SOCIETY The Cambridge University Law Society (CULS) is an excellent resource for students, by students. CULS offers moots and mock trials, pro-bono opportunities, careers workshops, networking events, and socials.

SQUIRE LAW LIBRARY Housed within The David Williams Building, the Squire Law Library is one of the UK’s leading academic law libraries. With one of the largest collections of legal publications and resources in the country and study spaces for over 400 students, the Squire offers Law students a wealth of resources in a unique working environment. The library holds a full set of material in print form to cover and support the needs of the Law Tripos. The collections also include comprehensive resources for English law and an extensive array of works on European Union law, public and private international law, English legal history and Roman law. The Squire offers an ever-growing array of electronic books, e-journals and legal databases.

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APPLICATIONS If you choose to apply to Cambridge, your application will be considered by the college you apply to, rather than by the Law Faculty. This means that, although the Faculty can provide some guidance on applying, you should direct any specific questions or concerns to your chosen college. You can find a list of contacts for the colleges on the University’s website: undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/colleges 20


CHOOSING A COLLEGE The college system is a big part of life at Cambridge, with your college providing you with a place to live, to eat, and to study, as well as college-level activities, clubs, sports, and events. Choosing which college to apply to is your opportunity to decide which community at Cambridge you would most like to live in for your time at university. All Cambridge Law students take the same lectures and sit the same exams. This means that your choice of college will not affect your academic life at Cambridge. Furthermore, because of the University’s pool system, your choice will not impact your chances of getting a place at Cambridge.

factors to consider LOCATION SIZE TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION TYPE OF COMMUNITY FACILITIES AVAILABLE

[OPTION]: OPEN APPLICATION If after considering all 29 colleges, you feel that you would be happy at any of them, you can make an open application. Once you have applied, you will be allocated to a college, after which point your application will be treated like any other. If you have any specific or unusual requirements, we recommend that you make a direct application so that you can seek advice from your chosen college early on.

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APPLY WITH UCAS Your UCAS application for Cambridge will be due on October 15, a little earlier than some other universities. This is to allow us enough time to consider each application individually.

PERSONAL STATEMENT Your UCAS personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate your interest in your subject. Consider telling us about the specifics of any independent academic exploration you have pursued. Keep in mind that your personal statement is sometimes a jumping off point for your interview, so be prepared to discuss the ideas you present. Although our admissions tutors tend not to focus on your non-academic activities like sport or music, we understand that your UCAS personal statement will be sent to other universities, and you must consider their priorities as well as ours.

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SUPPLEMENTARY APPLICATION QUESTIONNAIRE You will be asked to complete a Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) about one week after you submit your UCAS application. The SAQ requests some further information, and gives you the opportunity to write an additional personal statement. Although you will not be penalised for leaving this blank, consider the SAQ personal statement your chance to add any Cambridge or lawspecific information that you did not cover in your UCAS personal statement.


The Cambridge Law Test (CLT) is designed to complement the other elements of our admissions process, such as your interview, personal statement, and the record of your academic performance.

If your UCAS application is successful, you will be invited to interview by the college that is handling your application. Because each college makes its own arrangements, there is no single model for a Cambridge interview.

You will not be expected to have any prior knowledge of the law. If you are asked questions relating to legal matters, this is to see how you can address the question, rather than what you already know.

CAMBRIDGE LAW TEST

INTERVIEWS

We interview as a way to learn more about your academic interests, how you think, and how you handle difficult questions. We may ask you questions about your personal statement and other information from your application materials.

You will sit the CLT when you come to Cambridge for your interview. Your college will make the necessary arrangements, and you won’t have to pay a fee. You will have one hour answer an essay based question. You will have a choice of three questions, but only have to answer one. The questions will not require that you have any prior knowledge of the law. We are looking to test your general critical thinking and writing skills. You can find sample tests and information on the qualities we will look for in applicants' answers, on our website: ba.law.cam.ac.uk/ applying/cambridge_law_test/

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WHAT WE LOOK FOR If we offer this student a place to study Law at Cambridge, will they succeed and thrive?

When reading your application materials, admissions tutors are always trying to answer this question. This means that they will look for evidence that you have the traits that make a great Cambridge student: high academic standards, intellectual curiosity, and independent motivation.

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EXPLORE YOUR SUBJECT

QUALIFICATIONS

Exploring your academic interests outside school is a great way to define your own interests. Here are a few options to consider:

We have no particular requirements for the subjects you take at A Level or equivalent.

 Reading about the law, including books from our suggested reading  Following the news  Attending court  Exploring the law resources on HEPlus.com  Participating in work experience or a shadowing scheme Remember that we are mainly concerned with how you think. This means that you don’t have to find an internship at a big law firm to impress us. Just think critically, ask questions, and be prepared to tell us about what you learned.

Typically, our applicants have a mixture of humanities and science subjects. You may also find that essay-based subjects, such as English or History, are useful preparation for the reading and writing that you will do as a law student. Because the Cambridge Law degree is designed to offer a thorough grounding in legal concepts, we do not expect you to have any legal knowledge before you begin your course. Typical offer = A*AA For information on equivalent qualifications, see the University’s website.

SUGGESTED READING What about Law?

BARNARD, O’SULLIVAN, AND VIRGO

Letters to a Law Student

MCBRIDE

How to Do Things with Rules

TWINING AND MIERS

Law and Modern Society

ATIYAH

The Law Machine

BERLINS AND DYER

Eve was Framed: Women and British Justice

KENNEDY

Law: A Very Short Introduction

WACKS

Learning the Law

WILLIAMS 25


FOR MORE INFORMATION... 26

To learn more about the Cambridge Law degree, applications, and upcoming events, consider the following resources. If you have further questions, please email our Access Team at outreach@law.cam.ac.uk.


LAW UNDERGRADUATE WEBSITE

COLLEGES

ba.law.cam.ac.uk

undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/colleges

The Law Faculty’s website for prospective undergraduates offers further information on Law at Cambridge, including videos by academic staff and students.

For more information on choosing a college, as well as a full list of college contacts, see the University’s website.

ASK A STUDENT askastudent@law.cam.ac.uk Email questions about life as a Cambridge Law student or the experience of applying and receive answers from current students.

THINK CAMBRIDGE LAW medium.com/think-cambridge-law The blog from the Law Faculty explores the application process, student experiences, career options, event information and more.

HE+ HEPlus.com This website offers academic resources in a variety of subjects, including a range of different law specialties.

STUDENT FINANCE gov.uk/studentfinance Cambridge offers information and guidance on navigating your university finance options.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDY WEBSITE undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk

facebook.com/cambridgelawfaculty

The University’s website includes detailed information on courses, colleges, applying, finances, and upcoming events.

@CambridgeLaw updates from the Law Faculty

DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTRE

@ThinkCamLaw updates on admissions and events

cam.ac.uk/disability The DRC offers advice and support for applicants and Cambridge students with disabilities, health conditions, or Specific Learning Difficulties.

youtube.com/cambridgelawfaculty

@CambridgeLaw 27


FOR MORE INFORMATION... 28

To learn more about the Cambridge Law degree, applications, and upcoming events, consider the following resources. If you have further questions, please email our Access Team at outreach@law.cam.ac.uk.


FACULTY OF LAW ACCESS TEAM outreach@law.cam.ac.uk Email questions about the Law degree at Cambridge and receive answers from the Faculty’s Access Team

UNDERGRADUATE STUDY WEBSITE undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk The University’s website includes detailed information on courses, colleges, applying, student finances, and upcoming events

ASK A STUDENT askastudent@law.cam.ac.uk Email questions about life as a Cambridge Law student or the experience of applying and receive answers from current students

COLLEGES undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/colleges For more information on choosing a college, as well as a full list of college contacts, see the University’s website

LAW UNDERGRADUATE WEBSITE

ALTERNATIVE PROSPECTUS

ba.law.cam.ac.uk

undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk

The Law Faculty’s website for prospective undergraduates offers further information on Law at Cambridge, including videos by academic staff and students

The University’s website includes detailed information on courses, colleges, applying, finances, and upcoming events

THINK CAMBRIDGE LAW medium.com/think-cambridge-law The blog from the Law Faculty explores the application process, student experiences, career options, event information and more.

DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTRE cam.ac.uk/disability The DRC offers advice and support for applicants and Cambridge students with disabilities, health conditions, or Specific Learning Difficulties

HE+

facebook.com/cambridgelawfaculty

HEPlus.com

@CambridgeLaw

This website guides students through academic exploration in a variety of subjects, including a range of different law specialties.

@ThinkCamLaw (for prospective students) youtube.com/cambridgelawfaculty @CambridgeLaw

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FACULTY OF LAW The David Williams Building University of Cambridge 10 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DZ United Kingdom

Please contact: Mrs. Ali Lyons Schools Liaison Co-ordinator

Tel: +44 (0) 1223 330094 Email: outreach@law.cam.ac.uk

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