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 after accidents (eg. road traffic or medical mistakes). The second is criminal law, which includes general criminal liability and non-fatal offences (eg. assault and battery).

Upper sixth

In the second year, you will complete your study of criminal law by looking at murder, manslaughter and property offences (eg. theft). You will then take one of two optional subjects: (i) 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 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?

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 option chosen for study. Each paper contains essay or problem questions of varying lengths, lasts 2 hours and is worth 33% of the A level.


OCR Law for AS (3rd Edition)
By J. Martin
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

A2: OCR H415 

Mat Carmody
Head of Department


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Royal Veterinary College (Veterinary Medicine)

"I have loved MPW. The class sizes are very small and it is easy to ask questions. The teaching is really interactive and they all care so much about the students. My Director of Studies helped a lot with my UCAS statement, suggesting what to include and perfecting it with me. I honestly don’t think I would have go any university offers without her help."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Bristol (Law)

"I’ve had three fantastic years at MPW: I’ve had a happy time; I’ve met some amazing people; and, most importantly, I’ve left school knowing that I have fulfilled my potential, leaving with GCSE and A Level grades that I can be proud of. I feel that the teachers and Directors of Studies all care deeply about their students' futures and performance."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Edinburgh (History and Politics)

"All of my teachers have been great; they are experienced, friendly and treat us all like adults rather than teenagers. I’ve also enjoyed being in a city. There is so much to do and we’ve been on a lot of theatre trips after school which is something I hadn’t been able to do before. My favourite thing about MPW has been the people I have met."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
King's College London (Biology)

"I would like to say a big thank you to my teachers. Everyone at MPW has been so warm towards me and my teachers are so friendly and willing. They also adapt to learning styles and have been sensitive about responding to my needs; they provide extra help when I need it but also give me space to absorb new topics or information when I need that."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Bath (Mechanical Engineering)

"One of my favourite things about MPW is the people I have met, who are all really nice and really fun to be with. My Director of Studies was really enthusiastic which rubbed off on me. She also helped enormously with UCAS, taking the time to clearly explain what I needed to do and supporting me."