These notes describe the admissions procedure and the teaching of Law at Queens', and should be read in conjunction with the relevant sections of the Cambridge University Undergraduate Prospectus.
The course - and what we look for
The Tripos at Cambridge consists of three parts: Part IA taken at the end of the first year, Part IB taken at the end of the second year, and Part II taken at the end of the third year. In Part IA there is no choice of subject and papers are taken in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, the Law of Tort, and Civil Law. In the second year almost all undergraduates take three of the five subjects available - Contract, Land Law and International Law. In the third year all undergraduates study Equity and E.U. Law, which must be taken in order to complete the exemption requirements for the academic stage of training as a solicitor or barrister. Beyond this the undergraduate course offers a wide range of options. Some of those intending to go into a career in commercial law might be drawn to subjects such as Company Law, Commercial Law, Intellectual Property and Banking Law. Others may feel that a course with a more heavily social content is to their liking and will therefore study subjects such as Labour Law, Family Law, Human Rights or Criminal Justice and the Penal System. Others again may decide that a range of options with a more theoretical content may be appropriate, such as Jurisprudence or Legal History. At Queens' we are happy to encourage undergraduates to take the range of options, which suits their particular interests; we certainly do not expect undergraduates to fall into one or other of these categories.
As a consequence of these objectives we look for candidates who can demonstrate a capacity for hard work, rigorous analysis, clear writing and a willingness to think. Students are from the beginning expected to work with the reports of cases and statutes, which are the raw material of the subject. An ability to apply an independent and critical judgement to the original sources is therefore particularly important. At Queens' we like to insist first that Law is an academic subject worthy of study in its own right, secondly that undergraduates must be competent in the technical aspects of Law, but thirdly that they should be encouraged to consider the law in a critical way.
Given the structure of the Cambridge Law Tripos, and the heavy demands on undergraduate time taken by the main courses, the broad outlines of the Law Tripos will be the same whichever College an undergraduate goes to. All six official Fellows of the College hold University teaching posts and are actively engaged in legal research. Professor Tiley is the Professor of the Law of Taxation, Mr Fentiman is primarily interested in the Conflict of Laws, Mr Bridge in Land Law and Family Law, Mr Dixon in Trusts, Land Law and International Law, Dr Allison in Civil Law and Public Law and Dr Rajamani in the Law of Tort and International Law. As happens in Cambridge, while these individual dons have particular fields of interest, they by no means confine their teaching activities to those subjects.
All supervisions in the curriculum's core subjects are given by Fellows of the College; the balance will be given by specialist Fellows of other Colleges. Undergraduates reading Law are given a "supervision" (or tutorial) in each subject once a fortnight - usually in groups of three or four.
- the Tripos system
1. There is no "automatic right" to change to Law. Usually, the Director of Studies in Law is happy to accept someone who gets a II.1 or better in another subject but in other cases reserves the right to refuse to accept a transferring undergraduate. An undergraduate changing over to Law from another subject has to attend a short conversion course run by the University prior to the commencement of the academic year.
2. The College will normally allow a change to Law only if the undergraduate will study Law for at least two years - even though this means a four-year course. This is to ensure that the undergraduate derives valuable educational benefit from the academic study of Law.
3. An undergraduate who wishes to read Law for two years will find the range of options limited as compared with the undergraduate who studies Law for three years. However, he or she will be able to satisfy the exemption requirements for the purposes of subsequent qualification as a solicitor or a barrister. Tripos regulations allow an undergraduate to change from Law at the end of the first or second year.
4. It is not normally possible to permit an undergraduate to change to Law before the end of his or her first year studying another subject.
Law will be a new subject to most applicants and Law candidates are particularly encouraged to attend a Queens' open day to find out more about the discipline. Queens’ is fortunate in attracting very good applicants to read Law and is pleased by the success they have achieved both in the Law Tripos Examinations and in their subsequent careers usually, but not exclusively, in legal practice (the Lord Chancellor, the former President of the Family Law Division and several High Court judges are Queens' graduates). The College enjoys a high reputation for law and encourages a house-style which is at once scholarly and relaxed. Queens' has an active College Law Society and a well-stocked College Law Library. It has strong links with a number of prominent firms of solicitors and Barristers chambers both in London and elsewhere.
For further information about the Law course you can view the Faculty’s website www.law.cam.ac.uk