A Level Law subject information

A LEVEL LAW

At Bales College we have a very successful and well attended Law Department.  In addition to the lesson timetable, students will visit a number of legal institutions including: local courts, The Royal Courts of Justice, The Old Bailey, Parliament and The Inns of Court.  They will also take part in workshops led by visiting speakers from a range of legal professions.

 

The law department will provide help and coaching with the Law National Admissions Test (LNAT) that leading universities (Oxford, Bristol, UCL, Kings) have now introduced, designed to test the student’s aptitude for Law.  Your offer will be based on your performance in this test.

 

The course is delivered using a variety of methods, such as: course workbooks, tests, quizzes, revision notes, extended reading, presentations, peer teaching, exam practice, homework, mind maps, essays and project work.

 

The Law Department also arranges work experience, during their holidays, in a local law firm if they feel they would benefit from this.

WHY STUDY LAW?

Law regulates all of our lives and relationships, no matter what profession we are in.  For example a doctor or business person will have to operate within, and will be impacted by, the law.  Knowledge of the law can give people more power over their lives and provide information on their rights.  The law helps to define a society’s values and is a means to solve problems and disputes.  Law provides the framework within which society operates, regulating almost all aspects of our lives.  It is therefore of direct interest to all of us.

FURTHER STUDY AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

A level Law will be an asset on any CV.  The study of Law leads not just to a career as a lawyer but also to a variety of opportunities.  For example, in politics, business, management, the police force, the civil service, the diplomatic service, media and medicine to name but a few.

WHAT GOES WELL WITH THE STUDY OF LAW?

 Economics, Business and Politics are some of the more obvious subjects that have a good overlap with Law.  However even those studying Science and Language subjects can benefit from the study of Law.  There are many combinations of degree on offer; for example: Law and Languages, Law and Biology and Law and Engineering.

LEARNING SKILLS OTHER KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED IN STUDYING LAW

Although learning the law is a demanding subject, the study of law will provide you with an extensive vocabulary and enable you to develop evaluative and research skills.

 

You will also develop analytical and problem solving skills that will enhance your study of other subject areas.  In addition, you will gain a better understanding of current affairs, politics and the economy.

COURSE OVERVIEW

The main subject areas are as follows:

  • The Legal System
  • Criminal law
  • Law Making
  • The Law of Tort
  • The Nature of Law
  • The Law of Contract

ASSESSMENT

Paper 1

The Legal System and Criminal Law

100 marks

2 hour paper

33⅓ % of total A level

 

Paper 2

Law Making and the Law of Tort

100 marks

2 hour paper

33⅓ % of total A level

 

Paper 3

Further Law (The Law of Contract)

100 marks

2 hour paper

33⅓ % of total A level

BOOK LIST

Text Books

OCR AS/A Level Law Book 1

by Jacqueline Martin and Nicholas Price

 

OCR A Level Law Book 2

by Nicholas Price and Richard Wortley

Secondary Sources and Background Reading

 Periodicals

A level LAW Review

Times Law pages

Law Reports

Law Dictionary

Books

 The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham

The ‘rule of law’ is a concept often mentioned in public debate but with little analysis of what the phrase actually means. Here, the late Lord Bingham sets out clearly and accessibly what the rule of law is, and why all lawyers need to be aware of its importance. It is about the proper limits of power and who should have responsibility for setting boundaries to the use of power. As an introduction to this fundamental constitutional principle on which the UK legal system is founded, it is without equal.

The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Trial tells the story of Josef K, who is arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime revealed neither to him nor indeed to the reader.  All law students should read this work as it forces the reader to consider what can happen if accepted norms of behaviour by public authorities are not adhered to – indeed what can happen if the rule of law is ignored. Its themes are relevant not just in the context of criminal justice but also administrative justice.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

This is the tale of, among other things, the long-running case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce. Charles Dickens was critical of many aspects of the legal system as it operated in 19th century England.  In Bleak House there are two particular targets in his sights.  First the extent to which proceedings could be drawn out by endless procedural steps that failed to move the case forward – an issue that has only relatively recently been improved following Lord Woolf’s reforms of the civil justice system.  Second, and related to the first, is that a claimant in an action may ultimately succeed in his action, but because of the delay and expense of the lawyers involved, there is ultimately no money left to satisfy an award of the court.  This is an essential point that to this day needs to be borne in mind whenever civil litigation is contemplated.

Billy Budd by Herman Melville

This is a brilliant short story/novella which raises profound questions about the relationship between law and justice.  Billy Budd tells the story of a sailor who, after a false accusation of conspiracy to mutiny, fatally injures one of his ship mates.  While his remaining ship mates believe in Billy’s moral innocence, he must still face a court-martial and bear the consequences of his actions. Many works of literature explore this tension between law and justice – consider contemporary issues such as mercy killing. In what circumstances can killing be excused?

Arthur and George by Julian Barnes

This is a very enjoyable novel about a real life case that arose at the beginning of the 20th century. George Edalji was a Parsi English solicitor and son of a vicar in a South Staffordshire village.  He served three years’ hard labour after being convicted on a charge of injuring a pony.  His case came to the attention of Arthur Conan Doyle – author of Sherlock Holmes.  He arranged for investigations to be made which demonstrated that George could not have committed the crimes for which he was convicted

At the time, the legal system offered only extremely limited opportunities for appealing against unsafe criminal convictions. Indeed, the events surrounding the case were a key element in a campaign which eventually led to the creation of the Court of Criminal Appeal in 1907.

Since that time, of course, there have been further changes, in particular the creation of the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 1997.  The story reminds the reader how difficult it can be to get the balance right between ensuring that the public can be confident in the integrity of the criminal justice system confidence and at the same time being sufficiently flexible to ensure that miscarriages of justice do not occur, and that where they do, remedial action is taken.

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy

Less well known, and shorter, than War and PeaceResurrection is nonetheless an excellent novel that raises profound questions about the justice of man-made laws.  The story is about a nobleman, who seeks redemption for a sin committed years earlier. Following a brief affair with a maid, Maslova, she was fired and ended up in prostitution. Framed for murder, she is convicted of the crime and sent to Siberia.  Nekhlyudov, the nobleman, goes to visit her in prison, meets other prisoners, hears their stories, and slowly comes to realize that all around his charmed and golden aristocratic world, yet invisible to it, is a much larger world of oppression, misery and barbarism. It illustrates the dire consequences of a criminal justice system that lacks fairness and humanity.