What is Law?
Studying law gives you an understanding of the role of the law in today's society as well as raising your awareness of the rights and responsibilities of individuals. Whilst studying the subject at A-level you will learn how legal principles are used to make and develop laws within the English legal system and gain a thorough understanding of several aspects of English law. As the course progresses, you will develop several key skills including your ability to analyse text, think critically, solve problems and make decisions. You will be taught to approach tasks in a clear, reasoned and logical way.
AQA A-Level Law
- Paper 1: Criminal law. This paper focuses on the general principles underlying criminal law. In particular, you will study laws relating to murder and manslaughter, assault, liability and property offences. You will also look at the types of defences a defendant can make. For example, if a man had beaten his wife for thirty years, and then eventually, one day, she snapped and shot him – should she have a defence to murder?
- Paper 2: Tort. A tort is a civil action taken by one citizen against another, rather than a criminal action, this will include things the reasons why people sue each other, for example if they behave negligently. Consider the situation: If you went to a public park in pursuit of Pokemon after the park had officially closed and you fell down a manhole which didn’t have a sign warning you it was there – could you sue the council for any injuries?
- Paper 3: EITHER law of contract OR Human Rights. Contract law relates to regulating contracts and you will study the rules and theory of contract law. Alternatively, you will study the rules and theory of Human Rights law, focussing in particular on the 1953 European Convention of Human Rights. The Human Rights questions we might encounter could include - Is torture ever acceptable? Should prisoners have the right to vote? And, why is this death penalty still operating in some of the world’s most developed countries?
Careers and Prospects
Students with a law degree often go on and become lawyers (solicitors or barristers), but also look at a range of other options including working as a civil servant, advice worker, legal executive, teacher, or trading standards officer. It is important to note that you do not need to study law at A-Level to pursue a degree in law, but you can do.