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Do you have an interest in understanding how the criminal justice system works? Have you ever wondered how punishments are calculated? Do you like the challenge of considering how evidence can be used to contradict a point? Are you considering a career as a lawyer, probation officer, police officer, court official or even a judge? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ then A Level Law is the subject for you!
Law is the study of a variety of offences as well as the processes that underpin the Criminal Justice and Legal System. It explores the individuals within that system who will use evidence to strengthen their argument as well as considering the concepts behind the concepts of morality and justice. You will also look into elements of civil law such as contracts and negligence. You will study the ideas that provide the foundation that offences are built on. It is an examination-based subject with an emphasis on the ability to construct logical arguments.
In Law, you will sit 3 AQA exam papers that test the knowledge, understanding and skills that you have gained from both years of your study at the end of the second year.
A minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 and above, including Maths.
A grade 5 in GCSE English Language and a grade 5 in English Literature.
In the first year you will study four units. In the second year you will study four more units that build on the concepts studied in the first year.
1. ‘The Legal System’ In this unit you will explore the structure and people within the legal system. You will gain an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of different personnel within the system, and how they contribute towards its function. You will evaluate the effectiveness of the distinct roles in achieving justice. You will also examine the purposes and processes of different courts and what their powers are, as well as gain an understanding on what the nature of law is.
2. ‘Criminal Law’: In this unit you will focus on non-fatal offences, such as assault, with a view to understanding how to assess criminal liability of a defendant through the elements of Actus reus (guilty act) and Mens rea (intention). You will also develop your knowledge and understanding of criminal law and use the skills you have gained to apply your knowledge to scenario-based situations. You will use your understanding to critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the law in relation to specific offences.
3. ‘Law making’: This unit is based around gaining an understanding of how primary and secondary laws are created. It also focuses on the strategies used by judges to apply common law, such as judicial precedence, as well as statutory law. You will also explore the influences on Parliament when creating law.
4. ‘The law of tort’: You will explore tortious liability through negligence and occupiers’ liability. You will examine the elements needed for a successful civil claim in these two areas as well as develop an understanding on how remedies are calculated following a successful claim. You will use your understanding to critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of these two areas of tortious liability.
5. ‘Further Criminal Law’: You will build upon your understanding of non-fatal offenses by exploring fatal offences, such as murder, and property offences, such as theft and robbery in this unit. This includes murder, manslaughter, theft, and robbery. You will apply your knowledge to scenario-based situations as well as evaluate the effectiveness in achieving justice for these offenses.
6. ‘Further Tort Law’: You will also build on your understanding of tort law by exploring more complex claims of economic loss and psychiatric harm as well as the responsibilities of employers as third parties. You will reinforce your understanding of this unit through scenario-based situations as well as evaluate the effectiveness of the tortious law.
7. ‘Nature of Law’: This unit explores the basic principles that underpin the existence of law and the differences between criminal and civil law. You will also explore concepts such as morality, justice, and fault as the basis of the existence of law.
8. ‘Specialism: Human Rights or Contract Law’: In this unit the class decides which specialism they would prefer to focus on; either Human Rights or Contract Law.
a. In Human rights, you will explore different theories of rights and contrast them to liberties and a
range of ‘fundamental human’ rights. Specific emphasis is paid to Articles 2,5, 8, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 1953. Students will explore the how the Articles work hand in hand with national English law.
b. In Contract law, you will explore theories of contract law that underpin the formation of basic requirements needed for a successful contact. You will examine the general and specific contractual terms implied by law in relation to consumer contracts alongside building a basic understanding of the nature of exclusion and limitation clauses. You will understand the ways in which a contract can be discharged as well as the remedies that can be awarded following a breach.
Law is a particularly good option to consider if you are looking at a career in the legal sector or many other avenues due to the breadth of skills you will gain such as advocacy, attention to detail and time management.
Considering what other subjects to combine it with will help broaden your skills set. For example, combining Law with Politics is an excellent choice as both look at how laws are created and enacted, whilst combining Law with Forensic and Criminal Investigation or Criminology allows you to look at various aspects of law from both an academic and practical perspective. Sociology is also a good subject to take with Law as you can further examine the issues and debates in society which are raised in the subject. History is another feasible option as you explore the development of law and the historical basis behind it. Whilst Business Studies can also be useful as it gives you an understanding of the themes involved in business law.
Learners who study Law have a range of different career options open to them. It is helpful if you wish to join the Police and is a useful starting point for an application to a Policing degree. You may wish to go on to do a Law degree as well. If you are not looking at going to university, Law still gives you a good understanding of themes which are useful for a range of managerial roles or administrative roles in a range of businesses.
There are a range of subject trips which are organised for you as a Law student. You will have the opportunity to go to Bristol Crown Court and Magistrates Court to observe some real cases taking place and speak to a judge about what their role is. You can also join our legal academy where the skills learnt in the class are embedded further by looking at a range of legal cases and listening to speakers such as representatives from the Policing Degrees at UWE. Law students also can benefit from our Sixth Form Talks series where speakers also attend from different law firms to talk about apprenticeship opportunities and life as a solicitor.