What makes the Cambridge Law course so special?
The Law course at Cambridge is intended to give a deeper appreciation and understanding of the working of legal rules and institutions than is obtainable from vocational training. It provides an opportunity to see Law in its social and economic context and to examine its general principles and techniques. The problems studied involve questions of interpretation, logical reasoning, ethical judgment, civil and political liberties and social control. So the course is interesting, challenging, and sharply relevant to a whole range of situations which arise in our society.
Why choose Newnham for Law?
Newnham is particularly well-suited for those considering Law at Cambridge. The College has a long and successful history of teaching law. Newnham students are regularly awarded prizes for outstanding achievements in their studies and international competitions. The striking Faculty building, which houses the Law Library and all of the lecture rooms, is just across the road, on the Sidgwick site. There is an active Law Society in Newnham, and various activities are arranged for students, including mooting. There is a strong network of former Newnham lawyers, who help provide support, advice and opportunities for current students.
How many students take Law at Newnham and what options do they choose?
Typically there are between four and six students in each year of Tripos, as well as graduate students in the LLM, MCL and PhD programmes. Civil Law and Legal Skills and Methodology are taken by all first year students, and almost all undergraduates will also take the seven foundation subjects (Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Tort, Contract, Land Law, Equity, EU Law). Beyond this, students may choose freely. There is a wide range of choices in the third year in particular, where the half papers and seminars are popular options.
Can you tell me more about the Law Fellows?
For information on the current teaching staff and Fellows for Law, please visit our teaching staff webpage for Law.
What jobs do Newnham Law students go on to do?
As might be expected, many Newnham Law students enter the legal profession, in all its myriad forms, both public and private, all over the world. But a Law degree offers an excellent starting point for a wide range of jobs in business, industry, civil service and further afield. Law remains very popular with employers. A number of Newnham Law graduates go on to some form of higher education in Law, or related spheres. A biennial Newnham Law Lunch allows Newnham students to catch up with what everyone has been doing.
Are there any A-Level subjects that are particularly useful?
A student who intends to study Law at Cambridge need not have taken any particular subject at school. A Law student must be able to think clearly and write well, so any subjects that enhance these skills, such as English, are useful. Knowledge of foreign languages can also be a helpful asset when pursuing a legal career. A general interest in history, politics and current affairs is likely to make the study of some legal subjects, such as constitutional and international law, more enjoyable.
Can I take a gap year?
Yes. We have no preference about this.
How should I prepare for interview at Newnham?
Read as much legally-related material as you can, in any books that interest you, in newspapers, or on the web – especially about cases or legal issues that are of current interest. Exploring these materials will help you decide whether you enjoy this sort of study, and whether you really do want to read Law. Although this is by no means essential, you might like to visit law courts, or to seek some work experience to see if you enjoy it. Placements may be available in a solicitor’s office or barristers’ chambers, or in legal departments in any industrial or commercial sector, including local government. You could also look out for any volunteering roles, which will allow you to develop your ability to assimilate information, listen carefully to people’s experiences, and/or develop your written and oral communication skills. Try to think how you can demonstrate your motivation and enthusiasm for reading Law. Most important at interview is to be yourself.
Is there an Admissions Assessment for Law?
All applicants for Law are required to take the Cambridge Law Test, a written assessment, at interview, if interviewed. You do not need to register or be registered in advance for the assessment at interview – the College will provide details of arrangements in the letters inviting applicants to interview. Information regarding the Cambridge Law Test can be found at: https://ba.law.cam.ac.uk/applying/cambridge_law_test/
Applicants considering combining Law with another Tripos should indicate this when they apply, whether or not they are intending to read Law before or after another subject. If called for interview, they will have interviews (and if applicable, written assessments) in both subjects.
Useful preliminary reading?
Barnard, O’Sullivan & Virgo, What about Law? (2nd ed. 2011)
Elliott & Quinn’s, English Legal System (19th ed. 2018)
Holland & Webb, Learning Legal Rules (9th ed. 2016)
McBride, Letters to a Law Student (4th ed. 2017)
Walker & Walker’s English Legal System (11th ed. 2011)
Williams, Learning the Law (16th ed. 2016)
Where can I find out more?
Lots more information about the Law course is to be found on the Law Faculty website.
The Law Subject Overview on the ‘My HE+’ website also provides information and resources for exploring your subject.