University of Cambridge: Guide & Discussion Forum
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Note: This page assumes that the student did not transfer into Law from another Tripos at Cambridge, and that he wishes to enter one of the Professions (either the Law Society or the Bar) upon his graduation from said University. Students not wishing to enter one of the Professions, and thus not requiring a qualifying Law degree, are less limited in their choices.
Law at Cambridge is hard work. Anybody would be lying if they said otherwise. You will be taught by some of the most important legal academics in the country and most likely will study from the textbooks they wrote. However, it does still leave time for a social life. In November every year the Law Ball is held. For the last two years it has been held in Newmarket racecourse. It is a black or white tie affair, with dinner served and seemingly endless amounts of champagne. It is not expensive compared to other balls because it is sponsored by various law firms such as Allen and Overy, Herbert Smith and so forth. There are also many events throughout the course of the year, such as formal swaps, dinners with law firms (free!) workshops and so forth.
At the University of Cambridge, the typical offer for Law is A*AA. There is a significant caveat attached to this, but it is one that every Cambridge course shares: owing to the collegiate nature of the University and the interview process, offers vary by College and by student.
Furthermore, for the same reason, the College to which candidates apply or are assigned determines any additional qualifications which must be submitted. The great majority of Colleges use the Cambridge Law Test, a written examination administered just prior to interview, to further gauge candidates' abilities in the field of Law. Exceptions are Churchill College, Clare College, Hughes Hall, and St Edmund's College, which use law tests specific to themselves.
A minority of Colleges also request samples of written work. This must have been produced as a result of normal high school coursework, marked accordingly, and certified as such by the teacher that assigned it. These Colleges are: Emmanuel College, Lucy Cavendish College, Magdalene College, St Peter's College, and Wolfson College.
The use of the LNAT as a standard entrance requirement has been discontinued by both the University as a whole and by the Colleges.
In the first year of study, undergraduate students offer four papers (that is, read four subjects):
- Civil Law (that is, Roman/Napoleonic law)
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law
- Law of Torts
Furthermore, gentlemen are required to take the Freshfields Legal Research Skills Course, an additional course in using electronic legal databases; this is divided into a hard-copy research skills seminar in Michælmas term, and a practical, computer-based class in Lent term. Other than the Freshfields, each subject is lectured, with a total of 10 hours of lectures a week. Every fortnight, each subject is also supervised. Examinations take place in May-June, and each paper lasts 3 hours. Normally, gentlemen are required to answer four questions in that time.
In the second year, undergraduate students offer five papers. Two of these papers are compulsory for all students wishing to enter the Professions, and must be taken as Part IB:
- Land law
- Law of contracts
An additional two of these papers are compulsory for entrance into the Professions, but may be taken for Part II of the Tripos (third year). These are:
- European Union Law
In the great majority of cases, students will then choose one to three additional papers from the following list:
- International law (if you want to take this, you MUST take it in second year)
- Civil law II
- Administrative law
- Family law
- Legal History
- Sentencing and the Penal System
- Criminal Procedure and criminal evidence
If the student wants to take more than three of these, he can simply take the overage for Part II of the Tripos (otherwise known as third year).
The examination system is more or less the same as in the first year.
Note: I suggest you take all four required papers for Part Ib, plus one from the list (I advocate for International law). This is because Part II is very interesting, and you want room on your schedule for the courses that will really bend your mind. Part II includes such goodies as tax law, banking law, competition law, commercial law, and company law. xx Honeywhite 07:10, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
In the third year, students have several choices. If you did not take either Equity or European Law, or both, for Part Ib, you must take whichever one you didn't for part II. First of all, the student may offer five papers, taken from the list below:
- Commercial Law
- Labour Law
- Intellectual Property
- Company Law
- Aspects of Obligations
- Conflict of Laws
- Comparative Law
He may instead offer ten half-papers from the list below, or any combination of half-papers with full papers adding up to five:
- Banking Law
- Civil Procedure
- Competition Law
- EU Environmental and Sustainable Development Law
- European Human Rights Law
- Historical Foundations of the British Constitution
- Landlord and Tenant Law
- Law of Taxation
- Law and Development
- Media Law
- Personal Property
- Topics in Legal and Political Philosophy
An additional choice is to drop a paper, or two half-papers, for a seminar. In this case, the student will write a final essay on a prescribed or chosen topic, rather than sitting a Tripos examination.
- Ethics and the Criminal Law
- Family in Society
- International Law
- Law and Economics
- Law and Ethics of Medicine
- The Legal Process: Justice and Human Rights
- Women and the Law
Note: For example, this is what my schedule would look like, if I were a third-year Cambridge Law student: 1) Commercial Law 2) Company Law 3) Aspects of Obligations 4a) Banking Law 4b) Competition Law 5a) Civil Procedure 5b) Taxation Law. Some people might call it dry, but I am a financial man, and when you work with finances, you also get finances. xx Honeywhite 07:14, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
At the end of the third year, you will leave with a BA in Law (rather than an LLB as it is in most other universities).