Law AS & A Level
Law is a subject that will be new to most students coming into York College. It is a fascinating, stimulating and challenging course which will equip you with the skills of logic and reasoning, and also give you an understanding of the way in which the law influences aspects of our everyday lives.
A Level Law is a well-established course which has for many years developed students’ knowledge and understanding of the law. It also allows students to develop skills of analysis, evaluation, independent research and problem-solving skills which are valued by employers and universities. Law is a subject which provides students useful knowledge for life. It is relevant and useful for a wide range of university courses and jobs.
A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 4 or above. You should have a grade 5 or above at GCSE in either English Language, History or Religious Studies.
What will I study?
The Legal System
- Civil courts and Alternative Dispute Resolution (other ways of resolving disputes without going to court such as negotiation, mediation and tribunals)
- Criminal courts & juries and magistrates
- Legal professionals (solicitors, barristers, legal executives and judges)
- Access to justice (where to go for legal advice and representation) and funding cases
- Sentencing (the aims of sentencing, aggravating and mitigating factors and types including custodial/prison, fines and community orders)
Introduction to Criminal Law
- Basic principles of criminal law (elements or parts of a crime)
- Non-fatal offences against the person (assault, battery, actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm and wounding)
- Parliamentary law making (acts of Parliament), what influences parliamentary law making (media, public opinion, pressure groups and law reform bodies), how laws are reformed and how the courts interpret the meaning of parliamentary law
- Delegated legislation (laws made by government departments, local authorities and by large corporations)
- Judicial precedent (how judges make laws/rules in court cases)
- Introduction to Tort Law
- The basic principles of negligence (who do you owe a duty of care to and what amounts to a breach of that duty of care) and occupier’s liability (the duty of care that occupiers/owners of property owe to visitors and trespassers)
- Damages (the different types of compensation claimed, how it is calculated and paid)
An advanced study of non-fatal offences, fatal offences (murder, voluntary and involuntary manslaughter) attempted crimes, offences against property (theft, robbery and burglary) plus a range of defences including insanity, automatism, intoxication, self-defence, consent, duress, necessity, loss of control and diminished responsibility.
Additional Tort law
Torts (wrongdoing) against land nuisance, defences in the law of negligence and vicarious liability (employers’ liability for their employees’ wrongdoing).
You will study the concepts/ideas which underpin our laws:
- Justice (Is this always achieved? We look at miscarriages of justice.)
- The relationship between legal and moral rules
- Law and society (law acting as a way to control society)
- Law and technology (cybercrime)
In addition, you will study a range of Human Rights laid down in both UK law and the European Convention of Human Rights, including Article 5 liberty & security of person, Article 6 fair trial, Article 8 privacy and family life (includes surveillance, the press, breaching official secrets etc.), Article 10 freedom of expression and Article 11 freedom of assembly and association.
Xtra Curricular Activities
The Law team offer a wide range of extra-curricular events:
- Law Club
- Visiting speakers from universities and the legal profession, including from a local magistrate
- Mock trials
- Debating Society
- Skills based Legal Apprenticeship Competition – completed by A Level students in 2019 and 2020
- A large number of A Level students have completed work experience at courts
We take students to Nottingham to take part in a mock trial and do a tour of 300 years of crime and punishment.
Pick up a newspaper and see how many articles contain or refer to the law. Follow interesting cases in the news, watch UK TV documentaries on the law & legal system and visit your local magistrate’s court with a parent or friend.
Method of delivery
You will typically be in College four days per week. In-College delivery is supported by online resources, and students develop strong independent learning skills to equip them for their next steps.
How will I be assessed?
Both years are assessed by exams.
Year One (AS Level) has two 90 minute papers.
Year Two (the full A Level) is three 2 hour papers - legal system and criminal; law making and tort; further law (nature of law and human rights).
You will be examined on both your first and second years for the full A Level qualification. There is no coursework in either AS or A Level Law.
Good course combinations
This course works well with Politics, Sociology and English Language. It also makes a stimulating fourth subject alongside any combination. Students interested in studying law at university should consider taking Law as their fourth subject.
Your next steps
Many students are offered places at university to study law with the intention to go on to become barristers or solicitors. In recent years, we have had students go on to read law at Cambridge, Bristol, Nottingham, Newcastle, York, Leicester, Warwick, Sheffield and Northumbria universities.
Similarly, students go on to study subjects other than law at university. It is particularly useful for subjects like criminology, sociology, history and business-related degrees, as well as more diverse professions such as social work, the probation service, youth offending and nursing.
This may also be a good route to a legal apprenticeship, working in a law firm.
“I chose Law because I knew it would be very useful for the future, no matter what I decided to do. I really enjoy the course. I find it very interesting, and I greatly enjoy learning the different laws and how the country is run, as well as where and how this knowledge can be applied.”