Law Personal Statement
I have since a young age had an interest in logic and critical reasoning - picking apart anything from puzzles to arguments, seeing them in their component parts and analysing each piece individually. There is something inherently satisfying in deconstructing something and examining its individual components. While many find this fascination in the physical world, I take pleasure in the world of reason, thought and argument.
The main reason I wish to study Law academically is to further my understanding of complex issues. I believe the study of Law goes much further than simply examining laws and precedents. Why do people commit crime and can they ever be prevented from doing so? Should punishment be retributive or should we take a utilitarian approach? I wish to explore these questions and so many more and I believe the best way to do so is to study the subject in detail.
When the government introduced detention without trial for 17 foreign suspects who were deemed a threat to national security via the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act, it was described by Lord Hoffman as more of a threat to the British way of life than Al Qaeda. More recently the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005) which replaced internment with control orders means the government can effectively detain foreign suspects. The judgement for Secretary of State for the Home Department v. MB (FC) ruled firstly that the suspect’s control orders were to be quashed as they violated his right to liberty outlined in ECHR Article 5. However they also ruled that in future evidence used against suspects still did not have to be disclosed to them if doing so was not in “the public interest”. I believe this initially appears incompatible with Article 6 of the ECHR which outlines the right to a fair trial. The conflict between civil liberties and national security is one of the intriguing topics and ambiguities within the law I wish to study further – do we prioritise the public need for safety or the human rights of individuals? While I feel that once someone poses a serious threat to the rights of others it is acceptable for their own to be curtailed some see this as the road to an overpowering state. I will be attending the Taking Liberties exhibition at the British Library in November to further develop my understanding of the topic.
The interpretation of statutes which I read about in Glanville William’s Learning the Law has captivated me. This interpretive element of the law making process seems critical, not only in ensuring criminals are able to be prosecuted effectively but also in ensuring that complex laws can be applied to various cases effectively. Criminal Law has also interested me. I have developed this interest by not only reading Criminal Law by Tony Storey but also visiting the Old Bailey and watching the prosecution’s opening for a murder trial. I was fascinated by the procedure of the court and the skill of the prosecution barrister in very clearly outlining the case.
During the summer I undertook work experience at a solicitors firm in Holborn named J.E. Baring & Co. I observed the practical running of the firm and was able to shadow solicitors and attend hearings at the High Court. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it has encouraged me further to pursue a career in law.
I work part time as a paintball safety marshal at a local site where I give talks to large groups of people, maintain the safety of customers and referee games. The responsibility of dealing with many, often adrenaline filled customers in this environment has given me confidence and confirmed my strong communication skills and sense of responsibility. I have also undertaken voluntary work at Epping Forest, conserving the habitat. My school is sponsoring me to take part in the Lessons from Auschwitz project in which I will travel to Auschwitz to experience the horror of a Nazi concentration camp, showing I am a mature and responsible student. I am a form and peer mentor, assisting younger students of the school with a range of problems and this work is highly rewarding. It has allowed me to improve my ability to communicate and advise those of varying ages.
I am a hard working, enthusiastic and committed student. I believe that my taking up of relevant work experience, independently pursuing my interests in law and genuine curiosity towards the subject indicate I will be an attentive and dedicated student to the subject. While appreciating the volume of work required, I look forward with enthusiasm to the challenges offered by both the degree and my chosen career.
Universities Applied to:
- GCSEs: 3.5 A*s 6 As and a B
- AS Level: Averaged 90%
Edit from author: Received offers from everywhere except Cambridge and am currently in my second year at Durham reading law