Subject Overview: Law is a thoroughly rewarding subject not only in terms of our understating the legal system and its effects on every facet of our society, but further as a stepping stone to achieve entrance to higher education/vocational training. There is an emphasis on problem solving and application of offences to scenarios.
What we cover each year:
Years 12 & 13: A-Level Law: The current specification entails our study of a number of subjects both compulsory and optional in part. This includes Parliamentary Law Making an outline of influences on Parliament: role of the Law Commission; political, media and pressure group influences; Green and White consultative papers. Formal UK legislative process: roles of the House of Commons, House of Lords, and the Crown; the types of Bill; stages in the process. Doctrine of Parliamentary supremacy and limitations on it: effect of membership of the European Union; effect of Human Rights Act 1998. Advantages and disadvantages of the influences on Parliament and of Parliamentary law making. Delegated Legislation Statutory Instruments; Orders in Council; By-laws (Local Authority and other bodies). Reasons for delegating powers. Parliamentary and judicial controls on delegated legislation. Advantages and disadvantages of delegated legislation. Statutory Interpretation Common law approaches to interpretation: literal, golden and mischief rules; purposive approach. Aids to interpretation: rules of language; internal and external aids. Advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches and aids to statutory interpretation. Judicial Precedent, the Doctrine of Precedent: the hierarchy of the courts; stare decisis, ratio decidendi and obiter dicta; law reporting. The operation of the doctrine: following, overruling, distinguishing and disapproving. Advantages and disadvantages of the doctrine and operation of precedent.
In addition we examine the Civil Courts and the appeal system, dispute resolution, tribunals, arbitration, mediation, conciliation and negotiation. Advantages and disadvantages of the civil courts and other forms of dispute resolution, including comparisons with each other. The Criminal Courts and lay people including classification of offences. Lay magistrates: qualification, selection and appointment; composition of bench; training; role and powers. Jurors: qualification and selection; role. The advantages and disadvantages of using lay people in the criminal courts. The Legal Profession and other Barristers, solicitors and legal executives: qualification, diversity, sources of advice, and funding training and work of each group. Other sources of legal advice. Outline of private funding: own resources, insurance and conditional fees. Outline of state funding: Community Legal Service and Criminal Defence Service. Simple evaluation of the legal profession, of other sources of advice and of funding. The Judiciary Judges: qualification; selection and appointment; composition of the bench; role and work; training; dismissal. The independence of the judiciary: security of tenure, immunity from suit; independence from the Executive; the separation of powers and an evaluation of the judiciary.
In the second year candidates will study Criminal Law in greater depth (Fatal and non-fatal offences against the person) Murder Actus reus (including causation), mens rea (malice aforethought). Voluntary manslaughter Defences of loss of control and diminished responsibility. Involuntary manslaughter Gross negligence manslaughter, unlawful act manslaughter. Non-fatal offences against the person Assault, battery, actual bodily harm, wounding and grievous bodily harm, wounding and grievous bodily harm with intent. Defences Insanity, automatism, intoxication, consent, self-defence/prevention of crime. Evaluation Critical evaluation of all of the above (with the exception of involuntary manslaughter), including consideration of proposals for reform. We will also study a wide range of property offences:- Theft and Robbery Actus reus (appropriation, property, belonging to another). Mens rea (dishonesty, intention permanently to deprive) (s1 Theft Act 1968). Theft with use or threat of use of force (s8 Theft Act 1968). Burglary Elements of s9(1)(a) and s9(1)(b) Theft Act 1968, burglary in dwellings and other buildings. Blackmail, unwarranted demand with menaces (s21 Theft Act 1968). Fraud by false representation (s2 Fraud Act 2006) and obtaining services dishonestly (s11 Fraud Act 2006). Making off without payment making off without payment (s3 Theft Act 1978). Criminal Damage Basic (s1(1), Criminal Damage Act 1971) and aggravated (s1(2), Criminal Damage Act 1971) and by fire (arson s1(3), Criminal Damage Act 1971). Defences Intoxication, duress, duress of circumstances, self-defence/ prevention of crime.
Students will finally be required to relate their knowledge of legal processes, institutions and substantive law, gained in studying any of the modules, to the concepts which follow, where possible with reference to contemporary issues. Law and Morals: The distinction between law and morals; the diversity of moral views in a pluralist society; the relationship between law and morals and its importance. The legal enforcement of moral values. Law and Justice: The meaning of ‘justice’, theories of justice. The extent to which substantive legal rules, legal institutions and processes achieve justice or create barriers to justice. Judicial Creativity: The extent to which the judges are able to display creativity in the operation of the system of judicial precedent and in statutory interpretation. Consideration of the balance between the roles of Parliament and the judiciary. Fault: The meaning and importance of fault in civil and/or criminal law. Balancing conflicting interests: Identification of the different interests of parties to disputes. Public interests against private interests, the subordination of individual rights to community interests.
Enrichment opportunites: Aside from debating and moots students will be undertaking visits to Parliament, the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey.