What is Law like at Oxbridge? Can you answer these questions?

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anaveragekid
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Hello,
I'm planning to apply for Law (2022 entry) and have a few questions to help me decide whether Law is the right subject for me @ Oxbridge and if I should apply for it or not.

1. I enjoy theoretical discussions and debate on the Law a lot, for example, whether certain things *should* be legal, how certain actions can infringe upon our rights, debating the line between individual rights and government intervention in security, stuff like this. I particularly enjoy topics like the John Locke Institute selects for its Law essays, e.g. "does a law prohibiting the sale of sex infringe on women's rights" etc.
Is this something that I would be doing if I study Law at Oxbridge or is Law something different at uni? If not, would PPE or some other course be more suited to me? I don't enjoy philosophy too much so am not too excited about PPE.

2. I have slow handwriting due to the way I hold the pen. I already find it a punishment to write long essays for my subjects in A-levels. I know Law is a lot about writing, are these essays in Law typed or handwritten?

3. What is the difference between Jurisprudence vs. Cambridge Law? I understand that Cam is more 'practical' and Oxford is more 'theory, but I can't understand how these two differ. Bearing in mind that, although I do enjoy learning about the established law, I also enjoy a lot of debate around "what if", etc, is Jurisprudence more similar to my interests or regular Cambridge Law?
Last edited by anaveragekid; 1 month ago
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nexttime
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(Original post by anaveragekid)
Hello,
I'm planning to apply for Law (2022 entry) and have a few questions to help me decide whether Law is the right subject for me @ Oxbridge and if I should apply for it or not.

1. I enjoy theoretical discussions and debate on the Law a lot, for example, whether certain things *should* be legal, how certain actions can infringe upon our rights, debating the line between individual rights and government intervention in security, stuff like this. I particularly enjoy topics like the John Locke Institute selects for its Law essays, e.g. "does a law prohibiting the sale of sex infringe on women's rights" etc.
Is this something that I would be doing if I study Law at Oxbridge or is Law something different at uni? If not, would PPE or some other course be more suited to me? I don't enjoy philosophy too much so am not too excited about PPE.

2. I have slow handwriting due to the way I hold the pen. I already find it a punishment to write long essays for my subjects in A-levels. I know Law is a lot about writing, are these essays in Law typed or handwritten?

3. What is the difference between Jurisprudence vs. Cambridge Law? I understand that Cam is more 'practical' and Oxford is more 'theory, but I can't understand how these two differ. Bearing in mind that, although I do enjoy learning about the established law, I also enjoy a lot of debate around "what if", etc, is Jurisprudence more similar to my interests or regular Cambridge Law?
I graduated a few years ago from a science subject but my perspective would be:

1) Oh yeah definitely. Law isn't even law at Oxford - its jurisprudence, specifically the theory and philosophical principles underlying laws.
They do a lot of Roman law I hear - not sure if that's a good or bad thing for you.

2) Handwritten is standard in exams, but it might be worth seeing if you can get special dispensation to type - I've seen that offered before. Your routine essays for tutorials could be typed I'm sure, although I would tell the tutors you plan to do this.

3) Beyond the definitions of each i.e. that jurisprudence is specifically the theory underlying law, I don't know.
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Peterhouse Admissions
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(Original post by anaveragekid)
Hello,
I'm planning to apply for Law (2022 entry) and have a few questions to help me decide whether Law is the right subject for me @ Oxbridge and if I should apply for it or not.

1. I enjoy theoretical discussions and debate on the Law a lot, for example, whether certain things *should* be legal, how certain actions can infringe upon our rights, debating the line between individual rights and government intervention in security, stuff like this. I particularly enjoy topics like the John Locke Institute selects for its Law essays, e.g. "does a law prohibiting the sale of sex infringe on women's rights" etc.
Is this something that I would be doing if I study Law at Oxbridge or is Law something different at uni? If not, would PPE or some other course be more suited to me? I don't enjoy philosophy too much so am not too excited about PPE.

2. I have slow handwriting due to the way I hold the pen. I already find it a punishment to write long essays for my subjects in A-levels. I know Law is a lot about writing, are these essays in Law typed or handwritten?

3. What is the difference between Jurisprudence vs. Cambridge Law? I understand that Cam is more 'practical' and Oxford is more 'theory, but I can't understand how these two differ. Bearing in mind that, although I do enjoy learning about the established law, I also enjoy a lot of debate around "what if", etc, is Jurisprudence more similar to my interests or regular Cambridge Law?
Hello! Posting with my ex-Cambridge-law-student hat on here. I haven't studied Law at Oxford so I'll mainly talk about the Cambridge side of things.

1. Firstly, this is good! This is the kind of stuff you do in Law. You do other things as well, but this is a good start.

2. I have the same issue! If it is causing you pain, I would recommend speaking to the Disability Resource Centre about it. They are best placed to advise on whether you would be eligible any special dispensation in exams. You wouldn't need to do this before you apply, though. The essays you write during your course (weekly or fortnightly) but which do not contribute to your overall mark are almost always typed, unless you're specifically asked to handwrite them as exam preparation. Having said all of this, having done exams differently in the last couple of years, there is a possibility that the format of exams may change in the future.

3. The main differences between the two courses are:

a) When they're examined. In Cambridge, you study several areas of Law for a whole year and are then examined on them at the end of that year. In Oxford, you have exams at the end of the second term on three courses and then study the rest across the final term of first year and into second and third year.

b) The options available. At Cambridge, I studied the equivalent of 14 full modules - 4 in my first year, 5 in my second and 4 + my dissertation seminar course in my third. There is now a legal skills paper in first year, but that didn't exist when I was a student (I'm not that old - I graduated in 2015 and the paper came in in the academic year 2014-15, I think). Of the 14 papers I studied, 6 were optional - over half of my 2nd and 3rd year papers.

Looking at the Oxford website, you study 12 papers in total, so slightly fewer than Cambridge. However, you only have 2 optional papers. This is partly because Jurisprudence - the philosophy of Law - and Administrative Law - law relating to the executive branch of government and judicial control over it (if you've ever heard the term 'judicial review', this is a lot of this topic) - are compulsory. Personally, I chose to study Administrative Law, but not Jurisprudence, because that's what interested me. There are some options which are available at Cambridge which aren't available at Oxford - the one I noticed was Criminal Procedure and Evidence (or some variation on the practical aspects of criminal law). Frustratingly, the Cambridge website only lists the full papers and not half-papers you can take in third year, or dissertation/seminar courses. I suspect this is mainly because the lists change slightly every year depending on the academics they have/who is on research leave.

Beyond that, the courses are quite similar. For me, it was the way the courses were structured and examined and the options I had at Cambridge that made me choose there over Oxford. There was also the difference that at Oxford you had to apply to do Law with French/German/Spanish etc. law at the outset, whereas at Cambridge you could only apply within the course. I'm not sure if Cambridge still offers this at all, though, and what the implications of the end of the UK's participation in the Erasmus Scheme are here. You may think differently, or that's it's not as important to you, or that there are more important factors when choosing between the two, and that's ok!

I hope this helps. Sorry it's so long! If you've got any more questions, please do ask!
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anaveragekid
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(Original post by nexttime)
I graduated a few years ago from a science subject but my perspective would be:

1) Oh yeah definitely. Law isn't even law at Oxford - its jurisprudence, specifically the theory and philosophical principles underlying laws.
They do a lot of Roman law I hear - not sure if that's a good or bad thing for you.

2) Handwritten is standard in exams, but it might be worth seeing if you can get special dispensation to type - I've seen that offered before. Your routine essays for tutorials could be typed I'm sure, although I would tell the tutors you plan to do this.

3) Beyond the definitions of each i.e. that jurisprudence is specifically the theory underlying law, I don't know.
Thank you for the response!

(Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
Hello! Posting with my ex-Cambridge-law-student hat on here. I haven't studied Law at Oxford so I'll mainly talk about the Cambridge side of things.

1. Firstly, this is good! This is the kind of stuff you do in Law. You do other things as well, but this is a good start.

2. I have the same issue! If it is causing you pain, I would recommend speaking to the Disability Resource Centre about it. They are best placed to advise on whether you would be eligible any special dispensation in exams. You wouldn't need to do this before you apply, though. The essays you write during your course (weekly or fortnightly) but which do not contribute to your overall mark are almost always typed, unless you're specifically asked to handwrite them as exam preparation. Having said all of this, having done exams differently in the last couple of years, there is a possibility that the format of exams may change in the future.

3. The main differences between the two courses are:

a) When they're examined. In Cambridge, you study several areas of Law for a whole year and are then examined on them at the end of that year. In Oxford, you have exams at the end of the second term on three courses and then study the rest across the final term of first year and into second and third year.

b) The options available. At Cambridge, I studied the equivalent of 14 full modules - 4 in my first year, 5 in my second and 4 + my dissertation seminar course in my third. There is now a legal skills paper in first year, but that didn't exist when I was a student (I'm not that old - I graduated in 2015 and the paper came in in the academic year 2014-15, I think). Of the 14 papers I studied, 6 were optional - over half of my 2nd and 3rd year papers.

Looking at the Oxford website, you study 12 papers in total, so slightly fewer than Cambridge. However, you only have 2 optional papers. This is partly because Jurisprudence - the philosophy of Law - and Administrative Law - law relating to the executive branch of government and judicial control over it (if you've ever heard the term 'judicial review', this is a lot of this topic) - are compulsory. Personally, I chose to study Administrative Law, but not Jurisprudence, because that's what interested me. There are some options which are available at Cambridge which aren't available at Oxford - the one I noticed was Criminal Procedure and Evidence (or some variation on the practical aspects of criminal law). Frustratingly, the Cambridge website only lists the full papers and not half-papers you can take in third year, or dissertation/seminar courses. I suspect this is mainly because the lists change slightly every year depending on the academics they have/who is on research leave.

Beyond that, the courses are quite similar. For me, it was the way the courses were structured and examined and the options I had at Cambridge that made me choose there over Oxford. There was also the difference that at Oxford you had to apply to do Law with French/German/Spanish etc. law at the outset, whereas at Cambridge you could only apply within the course. I'm not sure if Cambridge still offers this at all, though, and what the implications of the end of the UK's participation in the Erasmus Scheme are here. You may think differently, or that's it's not as important to you, or that there are more important factors when choosing between the two, and that's ok!

I hope this helps. Sorry it's so long! If you've got any more questions, please do ask!
Was secretly hoping for a response from you, considering Cambridge is secretly my goal over Oxford.

1. That's great to hear and definitely makes me more certain this is the course I want to pursue. Could you elaborate a little bit more on what the other things are like? I understand in 3 years with such a vast syllabus there's probably a lot more, but if I could like a general gist of what it's like. I study Law at A-levels too as a 4th subject and it's not much theoretical discussion on the law, more about learning the currently established principles of law (not that I have any issue in doing this). I assume that's the type of stuff you're referring to, right? Memorising cases, precedents, the reasoning behind those cases etc.

2. I'll definitely look into this. Yep, it causes me quite a lot of pain especially in the wrist when writing for extended periods of time. I don't want to end up jeopardising my whole degree because I couldn't answer to my full extent due to writing limitations. It's something that already scares me in A-levels but I'm just about managing. I don't think I'd be able to keep it up at uni though, so will look into this. Any idea whether I'd need a medical certificate or doctor's reference for this? No worries if you don't know, I could just ask them directly.

3. The Cambridge examination style definitely appeals to me more, I don't like memorising everything in a lump sum at the end and much rather prefer to get it done with as I go along. Just a quick question, did you do the LNAT for other universities? I assume you definitely sat the CLT, but if you've done the LNAT too which did you find comparatively easier? What's the best way in your opinion to prepare for the CLT (I also am prepping for the LNAT side-by-side). Just doing lots of past papers under timed conditions, would that be enough or should some extra reading be added?

And not at all, I really appreciate the detailed answers. Better get used to reading them too if I'm going into Law.
Sorry if I'm overloading you with questions. Just want to have everything in order.
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