What makes the Cambridge Law course so special?

The Law course at Cambridge is intended to give a deeper appreciation and understanding of the working of legal rules and institutions than is obtainable from vocational training. It provides an opportunity to see Law in its social and economic context and to examine its general principles and techniques. The problems studied involve questions of interpretation, logical reasoning, ethical judgment, civil and political liberties and social control. So the course is interesting, challenging, and sharply relevant to a whole range of situations which arise in our society.

Opportunities exist to study at a university in another country of the European Union for one year (between Part IB and Part II) under the ERASMUS scheme. The current partner institutions of the Faculty of Law are the Universities of Poitiers (France), Regensburg (Germany), Utrecht (the Netherlands) and the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain).

Why choose Newnham for Law?

Newnham is particularly well-suited for those considering Law at Cambridge. The College has a long and successful history of teaching law. Newnham students are regularly awarded prizes for outstanding achievements in their studies and international competitions. The striking Faculty building, which houses the Law Library and all of the lecture rooms, is just across the road, on the Sidgwick site. There is an active Law Society in Newnham, and various activities are arranged for students, including mooting. There is a strong network of former Newnham lawyers, who help provide support, advice and opportunities for current students.

How many students take Law at Newnham and what options do they choose?

Typically there are around six students in each year of Tripos, as well as graduate students in the LLM, MCL and PhD programmes. Civil Law is taken by all first year students, and almost all undergraduates will take the seven foundation subjects (Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Tort, Contract, Land Law, Equity, EU Law). Beyond this, students will choose freely. There is a wide range of choices in the third year in particular, where the half papers and seminars are popular options.

Can you tell me more about the Law Fellows?

Dr Christina Angelopoulos is University Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law and a member of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL). She is Director of Studies at Newnham. She lectures in Intellectual Property Law at the faculty on the undergraduate Tripos and the LLM course, as well as supervising in college. Her research interests lie primarily in copyright law, with a particular focus on intermediary liability. She studied in Athens (LLB) and Edinburgh (LLM). She wrote her PhD on the European harmonisation of the liability of online intermediaries for the copyright infringements of third parties at the Institute for Information Law (IViR) of the University of Amsterdam. Her thesis was published by Kluwer Law International in 2016 under the title European Intermediary Liability in Copyright. Further information, including a complete list of her publications, may be found here.

Dr Felix Steffek is University Lecturer in Comparative Commercial Law at the Faculty of Law and Trinity Joint Law Lecturer at Newnham College. At the Faculty, he lectures Commercial Law, Corporate Finance Law, Corporate Insolvency Law and the MCL Deals course. He serves as Co-Director of the Centre for Corporate and Commercial Law and as Deputy Director of the LLM programme. In college, he is Director of Studies in Law and supervises Company Law and Commercial Law. Further research interests include alternative dispute resolution, technology and law, law and economics, comparison of laws and justice theory. He has acted as policy advisor and expert for the OECD, the European Commission and Parliament, the World Bank, national governments and parliaments. He studied in Cambridge (LLM), Heidelberg (PhD, undergraduate) and Hamburg (Habilitation, court clerkship). He has published widely in his areas of interest and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Corporate Law Studies and the Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies. Further details can be found here.

What jobs do Newnham Law students go on to do?

As might be expected, many Newnham Law students enter the legal profession, in all its myriad forms, both public and private, all over the world. But a Law degree offers an excellent starting point for a wide range of jobs in business, industry, civil service and further afield. Law remains very popular with employers. A number of Newnham Law graduates go on to some form of higher education in law, or related spheres. A biennial Newnham Law Lunch allows Newnham students to catch up with what everyone has been doing.

Are there any A-Level subjects that are particularly useful?

A student who intends to study Law at Cambridge need not have taken any particular subject at school. Some knowledge of history and current affairs is desirable, particularly in relation to the study of constitutional and international law. A Law student must be able to think clearly and write well, so any subjects that enhance these skills are useful.

Can I take a gap year?

Yes. We have no preference about this. However, if you do take a gap year we would like it to be a well-structured and constructive use of your time – though this certainly does not mean that we expect it to be focused on legal experience.

How should I prepare for interview at Newnham?

Read as much legally-related material as you can, in any books that interest you, in newspapers, or on the web – especially about cases or legal issues that are of current interest. Exploring these materials will help you decide whether you enjoy this sort of study, and whether you really do want to read law. You might like to visit law courts, or to seek some work experience. Placements may be available in a solicitor’s office or barristers’ chambers, or in legal departments in any industrial or commercial sector, including local government. This is not essential, however. Try to think how you can demonstrate your motivation and enthusiasm for reading law. Most important at interview is to be yourself.

All applicants for Law are required to take a written assessment at interview, if interviewed. You do not need to register or be registered in advance for the assessment at interview – the College will provide details of arrangements in the letters inviting applicants to interview.

Applicants considering combining Law with another Tripos should indicate this when they apply, whether or not they are intending to read law before or after another subject. If called for interview, they will have interviews (and if applicable, written assessments) in both subjects.

Recommended reading

Barnard, O’Sullivan & Virgo, What about Law? (2nd ed. 2011)
Elliott & Quinn’s, English Legal System (19th ed. 2018)
Holland & Webb, Learning Legal Rules (9th ed. 2016)
McBride, Letters to a Law Student (4th ed. 2017)
Walker & Walker’s English Legal System (11th ed. 2011)
Williams, Learning the Law (16th ed. 2016)

Where can I find out more?

Lots more information about the Law course is to be found on the Law Faculty website.

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