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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
Upper sixth

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 and 4 examine 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.

Reading

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

A level: OCR H418

Mat Carmody
Head of Department

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