An introduction to Law


Q: What does the course entail? 

Within this subject you will study criminal law and area of civil law including tort law and contract or human rights law.

Criminal law will involve the study of offences against the person both fatal and non-fatal such as murder and grievous bodily harm. You will also examine offences against property including theft and robbery. Followed by defences including insanity and consent.

Tort law involves disputes between individuals and/ or companies rather than offences against the state. You will study a range of torts including: negligence; nuisance and occupier’s liability.

Q: I’ve not studied Law before, how do I know this is the right subject for me?

Law is not like any subject you will have studied before. Very few students who study Law at A-level have studied it before at a lower level. For most of you this will be a brand-new subject and as such, we assume no prior knowledge. The learning will be fast paced, and you will need to get into good habits quickly. As with all A-level subjects, you will need to be highly motivated. However, there are certain skills which link specifically to Law.

Achieving in Law requires self-discipline and an ability, and more importantly, a willingness to keep up with the work on a week-by-week basis. Alongside other work, you will need to commit to learning, on average, eight new cases per week. Normally this will only be the name of the case and a short point of law.

A big part of Law, especially if you want to continue your studies at a higher level, will be the ability to express your arguments articulately. To this end, we will encourage the development of your advocacy skills. This will include participating in debates. You will tackle some controversial and emotive issues and you will need to be able to respect other people’s point of view whilst respectfully arguing your own point.

Students normally find that if they achieve will in the humanities subjects then they have the necessary skills to achieve highly in Law A-level.

Q: What other subjects are useful to study alongside Law?

As many of the skills which mark out a good Law student are reflected in the humanities, subjects such as History will combine well with Law. Because of the subject matter, the knowledge gained by studying Government and Politics or Criminology will compliment your legal knowledge. In the second year of the course you will study the interplay between law and morality and law and justice. Studying Ethics and Philosophy alongside Law would increase your ability to debate moral issues with sensitivity and appreciate both sides of very difficult arguments.

Q: What are the class sizes like?

For all A-level subjects (excluding sciences) the maximum class size at Bilborough College is 25 students.

Q: I’ve heard that universities don’t want students to take Law at A-level, is this true?

No. To dispel this rumour, AQA contacted UK universities to gather their opinions on the matter. The following is a sample of the replies they were given. If you would like further information, please follow this link:

University of Cambridge:

‘While we are aware of the perception by some that studying Law at A-level might be considered a ‘negative’, we are somewhat puzzled by this’

University of Nottingham:

‘We too frequently come across these [negative] views regarding Law A-level. We are very happy to accept, and do accept, applications from candidates offering A-level Law as one of their qualifications.’ 

University of Surrey:

‘About eight years ago, we drew up a list of preferred A-levels: Law was on that list…On balance, as long as students arrive at university realising that the A-level does not mean that they don’t have to study hard during their undergraduate degree, the study of A-level Law is a positive step. The people that do it are far less likely to drop out during the course of their studies because they know what studying Law is like.’ 

Nottingham Trent University:

‘The view that students should not read Law at A-level before university is misguided; it represents the incorrect opinion that the law is ONLY an academic discipline. The law is in fact a dynamic vehicle for carrying rights, responsibility, obligations and punishments in the real world. It lives, it is, and it should be, learnt without discrimination. 

So, in terms of students electing not to take Law, in case Higher Education Institutions don’t accept it, in my view, this is nonsense and double nonsense.’ 

Q: What do former students say about the course? 

Christian Weaver:

“It is no exaggeration to say that studying Law at Bilborough College was one of the best decisions I made. The course not only pushed me academically; but thanks to the support of the Law department staff, helped me grow in confidence too. Studying law at Bilborough College made me realise that, through the law, I could affect positive change in society. The subject also improved my reasoning and analytical abilities. Since leaving Bilborough College, I have sat on the Labour Party’s Justice & Home Affairs Policy Commission, been the UK’s Youth Delegate to the Congress of the Council of Europe, and am currently a pupil barrister at a human rights barristers’ chambers. My introduction to the skills that were essential for these roles was in the Law classroom at Bilborough College. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to its staff”.

Jack Stuart:

“I really cannot praise Bilborough’s law department enough. The wonderfully engaging and committed teachers made the most intense A Level course a manageable one, really breathing life into the law we learned about. It was while studying law at Bilborough that my affinity and commitment to the Bar crystallised, after which the teaching staff gave me tremendous support in pursuing my goals.”

After studying Law at Bilborough Jack went on to study at Oxford University and is now sitting the Barristers Practice and Training Course at Nottingham Law School. He is also a sitting Magistrate and Chair of the Legal Advice Centre’s student pro bono committee.

Amy Rogers:

“I’d not studied Law at GCSE, but wanted to try it at college and I found that I loved it, especially criminal law. Learning what the law is and then applying it to scenarios is engaging at a practical level, and you also learn about the various theoretical underpinnings of why we have law at all. Law covers such a wide range of topics and ideas, with connections to subjects like politics, history and philosophy, which makes studying it really interesting.”

After studying Law A-level, Amy went on to study Law at the University of Birmingham, and now works in the Undergraduate Law textbooks department at Oxford University Press, in the editorial team.

We hope that the Course video, FAQs and Subject Live chat have answered all your questions about the course. If you do have any other generic questions, please contact the course leader [email protected]

Please note that queries about your individual progression onto the course should be directed to [email protected]