Subject Overview

Why study law?
When studying law at university, you will begin to examine not only what the law is, but what the law should be. It will teach you to understand complex arguments, to reason in a clear and logical manner, and to critically analyse the world around you. Law should appeal to those who want to develop their problem solving skills, but also those who prefer abstract thought.

The study of law encompasses seven compulsory subjects to qualify you to practice within the United Kingdom – constitutional law, tort, criminal law, law of contract, land law, equity, and the law of the European Union. In addition, students can choose to study a number of optional courses, such as: international law, family law, commercial law, human rights law, environmental law and jurisprudence.

What skills will I gain?
The skills learnt while studying law as an academic discipline are wide-ranging and highly transferable. Law gives you the chance to sharpen your mind, and improve your ability to analyse the world around you. In particular, the following skills may be learnt:

• Analytical thinking, and the ability to critically assess documents, arguments, and opinions, and challenge them
• To construct and defend your own coherent argument
• To reason through problems in a logical manner
• To assimilate large amounts of information, and synthesise complex ideas
• Strong oral communication skills, enabling you to communicate ideas clearly and succinctly
• General research skills, including use of academic literature
• Self-management, including planning and meeting deadlines
• Self-reflection and critical judgment
• To work independently and collaboratively
• Adaptability and flexibility

What kind of career will I have?
Most people who study law go on to have careers as practicing lawyers. They either become solicitors, who work directly with clients to provide legal advice and support to clients, or barristers, who are hired by solicitors represent their clients in court. As they become more senior, they can also become judges, and decide legal disputes.

However, a degree in law can also open the door to other careers. The transferrable skills learnt through a law degree mean that graduates have long been in demand across many sectors of business and industry, in roles that extend well beyond legal departments. Lawyers can be found working with governmental departments such as the Home Office or Foreign Office; in parliament as MPs; or for large corporations in business management. Many lawyers are also present in charitable sector, working with non-governmental organisations, or even in international organisations such as the United Nations, working on issues of international law, humanitarian relief and human rights protection.

In short, a law degree is just the beginning….

  • Criminal Law

    This topic looks at Re (A) (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation), which was a Court of Appeal decision on the separation of conjoined twins that took place in September 2000.

  • International Law

    On 1 April 2010, the UK declared the world’s largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) around the Chagos Archipelago. The Archipelago is one of 14 remaining British overseas territories, administered by the UK as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). In contrast to other British overseas territories such as the Falklands/Malvinas and Gibraltar, BIOT is not on the UN list of non-self-governing territories. There is currently no permanent local population because the UK cleared the archipelago of the Chagossians between 1968 and 1973

    In the Matter of the Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration (Mauritius v. UK), an international arbitral tribunal issued its award on 18 March 2015. The tribunal found that the UK’s declaration of the MPA disregarded Mauritius’ rights, rendering the MPA unlawful.

  • Public Law

    The Belmarsh Prison case was brought by a number of foreign nationals who were held indefinitely in Belmarsh Prison in London because the British Government suspected them of being international terrorists.

  • Land Law

    This topic looks at the law of “adverse possession” – which allows squatters to acquire ownership of someone else’s land, in certain circumstances.

  • Family Law

    This resource concerns the family law case of Vince v Wyatt, also known as Wyatt v Vince. The case involved a poverty-stricken new age traveller turned multi-millionaire, Mr Vince, whose former wife, Ms Wyatt, appeared years after their divorce to claim a share of his subsequently-acquired wealth.

  • Tort Law

    Tort law is a collection of legal rules and ideas to protect you from harm and vindicates many of your rights but you probably haven't heard of it that much unless you've already looked at legal questions.