A Level Law

Course Leaflet

Law Student Handbook

What is A-Level Law?

  • Why do we need law?
  • How are laws made?
  • How do judges make decisions?
  • What are the different types of court and how do they operate?
  • How do people become solicitors or barristers?

The course will provide you with insights into legal processes and structures and give you a clear understanding of law in action. You will explore subjects such as the English legal system, the courts and principles of sentencing, as well as real criminal cases to establish who is criminally liable and what laws have been broken. You will also have the opportunity to explore issues of human rights and discuss the controversial outcomes and issues that derive from such cases.


Why should I study Law? What can I do with it?

If you have an interest in pursuing any kind of legal career, A-Level Law will give you a solid start in understanding legal principles as well as the cases from which they were derived. Law is very heavily knowledge based, and as such is well suited to those which are motivated by learning and retaining new information.

Students wishing to continue their legal studies after A Levels can opt for a university degree or work-based apprenticeship.  Both of these routes can lead to the qualifications required to become a solicitor, barrister or legal executive.

In addition to this, it helps students develop a range of transferable skills: analytical skills, attention to detail, logical thinking, research skills, essay writing skills and the ability to produce a balanced argument. Therefore, other popular careers include the police, teaching, social work, business and accounting.

The study of Law links with other areas of study – e.g. Sociology, Business, Economics, History and Politics.


Entry Requirements

In addition to the general 6th form entry requirements, you will also need a grade 5 or above in another essay based subject such as Sociology, History or English Literature.

Given the sheer amount of factual knowledge which students need to retain, it is important that only those who are prepared to spend additional time looking over material in their study periods apply for Law. Whilst a certain level of commitment and self-motivation is essential for any A-Level course, Law is only suitable to those fully dedicated to its study.


What will I study? How will I be assessed?

Students will be working towards the completion of a full A-Level. We do not currently plan to offer an AS.

The exam board used is OCR – course code H418.  You can see the course specification here.


A-Level Exams

Paper 1: The Legal System and Criminal Law

2 hour exam

33% of A-Level grade

The Legal System

  • Civil courts and other forms of dispute resolution
  • Criminal courts and lay people
  • Legal personnel (barristers, solicitors, judges, etc)
  • Access to justice

Criminal Law

  • The theory, rules and principles of criminal law
  • Criminal liability
  • Fatal offences (murder, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter)
  • Non-fatal offences (assault, battery, etc)
  • Property offences
  • Defences (intoxication, insanity, self-defence, duress, etc)

Paper 2: Law Making and The Law of Tort

2 hour exam

33% of A-Level grade 

Law Making

  • Parliamentary law making
  • Delegated legislation
  • Statutory interpretation
  • Judicial precedent
  • Law reform
  • European Union law

Tort Law

  • The theory, rules and principles of the law of tort
  • Various theories of liability (negligence, occupier’s liability, vicarious liability)
  • Defences
  • Remedies (compensation, injunctions, etc)

Paper 3: The Nature of Law and Human Rights Law

2 hour exam

33% of A-Level grade

The Nature of Law

  • Law and morality
  • Law and justice
  • Law and society

Human Rights Law

  • The theory, rules and principles of human rights law
  • Protection of the individual’s human rights and freedoms in the UK (from the Magna Carta 1215 to the Human Rights Act 1998)
  • Key provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights (Articles 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11)
  • Restrictions on human rights law (police powers, interception of communications, obscenity, etc)
  • Enforcement of human rights law (domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights)

In addition to the substantive topics above, students will also learn about the processes and people involved with the law and legal system, develop an understanding of legal method and reasoning as used by lawyers and the judiciary, and explore the nature of law in a wider context including the way it interacts with morality, justice, society and technology.

Students are assessed entirely through essay questions.


Law Wider Reading

Law: A Very Short Introduction, Raymond Wacks

Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction, Raymond Wacks

Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction, Andrew Clapham

The Justice Game, Geoffrey Robertson

The Rule of Law (Bingham)

The Secret Barrister – published by McMillan

Understanding Law (Adams and Brownsword)

Bonfire of the Liberties: New Labour, Human Rights (Ewing)

Law review (magazine subscription, available through Hodder)


What makes a successful Law student?

  • Rational thinker
  • Organised
  • Strong essay writing skills
  • Good at retaining large amounts of information

Where do I go to find out more information?

You can speak to Mr Lewis (Head of Social Sciences) in E19. Alternatively, you can email s.lewis@thepolesworthschool.com