Law AS & A Level
Law is a new subject for most students joining York College. Studying this subject will give you an understanding of the way law influences and affects many aspects of our lives. It is a fascinating, dynamic and stimulating course which will equip you with a broad understanding of how our legal system works and how our laws are made, applied and changed. It will equip you with skills of logic and reasoning and you will develop knowledge which will serve you well in your studies, work and life.
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 (academic and practical) which are valued by employers and universities. Law is a subject which provides students with 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 5 or above. Alternatively, if you have a grade 4 in English Language you will need to have a grade 6 in either GCSE History or Religious Studies to do the course.
What will I study?
The Legal System
- Civil courts and Alternative Dispute Resolution; negotiation, mediation, conciliation and arbitration
- Criminal courts and lay people working in the criminal courts (jurors and magistrates)
- Legal professionals (solicitors, barristers, and judges)
- Access to justice (where to go for legal advice and representation)
- Funding legal cases (no win no fee agreements, paying as a private client and state funding)
- Criminal procedure (the role of the Crown Prosecution Service, bail, plea, trial procedure)
- Sentencing (the aims of sentencing, aggravating and mitigating factors and adult sentences)
Introduction to Criminal Law
- Basic principles of criminal law (elements 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 (civil liability - claims for compensation for loss and damage arising from another person)
- 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 (wrong-doing) 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 (cyber crime)
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 (police powers), 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
- We aim to 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 and 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 & 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 course work in either AS or A Level Law.
Good course combinations
This course works well with Politics, Sociology and English Language and is a stimulating fourth subject alongside any combination.
Your next steps
This qualification provides you with knowledge and transferable skills which are useful and relevant to a wide range of degree subjects and jobs. Many students go on to study law further and progress to work in the legal professions. It is useful for degree subjects such as criminology, policing and social work.
"I chose Law because I’ve always been interested in understanding how the legal system impacts our everyday life. Studying it at College is fascinating. Not only do we cover a large range of topics and aspects of the legal system, but take part in discussions that link to real-world issues.
I plan to study law and criminology at university before pursuing a legal career, something I never thought possible before College."