A Level Law


What is it about at sixth-form level?

What would it be like to live free of laws in a state of nature? A state of bliss in which we are free to do as we choose? According to the philosopher Hobbes, in this state life would be “nasty, brutish and short.” It is through a system of law that we ensure order and obtain rights enable to live safely and productively. As a student of law, you will look at where our rights come from and the institutions that supervise and maintain them. You will look at some of your rights and whether or not they are well-motivated. For example, we may consider police powers and whether police on behalf of the state should have the authority to stop and search you and how that might be balanced against your rights as an individual. You will study criminal law in detail and look at actual cases. You will be required to advise on fictional scenarios. You will visit the courts to see the criminal law at work and we will invite legal professionals to visit the college give you an insight into their professional world.

An A level in Law will give you a profound understanding of the complex mechanisms that maintain this pillar of democracy and an insight into the complexities of legal argumentation. It is a challenging but well-respected and very rewarding subject.

Lower sixth

In the first year you will study the English legal system (the courts, the magistracy and the jury system, the criminal process, the legal profession (solicitors and barristers) as well as the process of law reform. You will be introduced to where law comes from in the United Kingdom (Statute, European Law, Human Rights Law and Case Law). You will also look at two areas of substantive law. The first is the law of tort, which includes personal injury and negligence claims. The second is criminal law, which includes criminal liability and non-fatal offences.

Upper sixth

In the second year, you will complete your study of criminal law by looking at murder and manslaughter. You will then take one of two optional subjects: (i) the Contract Law, which is the basic law that underpins all transactions in this country from buying a newspaper to a car to a house; or (ii) Human Rights Law, which involves the study of rights such as the right to free speech and the right to a private family life, and how these rights are protected. You will also analyse some of the philosophical issues that underpin the law – what is the nature of law? How does law relate to morality and justice? How does the law operate to balance conflicting interests in society? How does the law deal with and keep up with technological advancement and changes?

Why study it and what Why study it and what skills does it develop

It is not necessary to study A Level Law in order to study law at university or to qualify as a lawyer. It does however provide a very useful grounding. You will have a clear idea as to what is involved in the study of law; and you will have covered a lot of the subject material that you would expect to encounter on the first year of a law degree course. The A level will develop the skills of rational analysis and evaluation and the ability to put together and present a well-structured argument. There is a focus on written work, so your ability to communicate clearly and with the proper use of technical language will significantly improve. The subject works well with History, Politics and Psychology or any other subject that demands logical thinking and analysis.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You will need at least a C in English as there will be a lot of writing.

How is the course assessed?

AS level

This AS level is assessed by two examinations. Paper 1 deals with the English legal System and criminal law. Paper 2 covers law-making and the law of tort. Each paper consists of eight ten-mark questions. All questions must be answered. Four are essay questions; four are based upon a hypothetical scenario and would include questions requiring the student to advise what the law is and how it applies in the scenario. Each paper lasts 1 hour 30 minutes and is worth 50% of the AS level.

A level

The A level is assessed by three examinations. Paper 1 deals with the English legal System and criminal law. Paper 2 covers law-making and the law of tort. Paper 3 examines the nature of law and either the law of contract or human rights law, depending on what you option you have chosen. Each paper contains a number of essay questions of varying lengths. Each paper lasts 2 hours and is worth 33% of the A level.


There will be new OCR text books produced to support the course starting in 2017. In the meantime the textbooks below will provide a good introduction to most of the key areas.

OCR Law for AS (3rd Edition)
By J. Martin, S. Teal
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1444192742

OCR Criminal Law for A2 4th Edition
By J. Martin
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-1471807060


Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: OCR H015, A level: OCR H415


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Exeter University (International Relations)

I have really enjoyed my time MPW and would recommend this college to anyone. I learnt how to work more efficiently and revise more effectively thanks to the tutorials and weekly Timed Assignments, which also allowed me to prepare myself mentally for the exams from the first day. My history teacher was phenomenal. He managed to get me to reengage with the subject, as well as giving me all the support and help I asked for and more, giving me the knowledge and exams technique needed to achieve an A*."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Southampton University (Business Innovation)

The small class sizes proved invaluable for a number of reasons, some of which I did not anticipate. Aside from the obvious individual attention, the size of the class allowed for a lot of students’ questions to turn into a fruitful academic discussion. I have found the atmosphere at the college far more friendly and supportive than I expected. The support I had from my Personal Tutor was very helpful during the application process for university. I could tell that he really did care about my future and wanted to do everything he could in order to help me secure my place at my chosen university. Overall, I am pleased to say that my high expectations of MPW were fully met.


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Warwick University (Chemistry)

“I have definitely made the right decision to come to MPW - my grades have gone from averaging Es to straight As. Teaching at MPW is much more personal and I felt like talking to teachers. They are very good and give you lots of support if you do not understand something. My Personal Tutor took me through the UCAS process step by step. We went through my Personal Statement many times to make sure it was completely perfect. I am very excited about my firm choice.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Nottingham University (Philosophy)

As a dyslexic student who initially got CCEE for my AS, I was convinced that I could not achieve any higher. My time at MPW proved me wrong. Initially I was reluctant to move from my local school in York to a college so far away from home, my parents, and friends. At the end of my first year I was overjoyed to find that many hours of hard work and renewed revision techniques had resulted in me achieving three A's in my subjects. I wanted to continue at A2 as I knew it would greatly improve my university prospects and encourage me to work even harder. After two fantastic years at MPW I can emphatically say that going to MPW was the best decision I ever made. 


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”