Open days

It is a very good idea for applicants to come to one of the University open days. There are general events at Hertford, including an opportunity to meet and talk with a Law tutor. The Law Faculty also organises open days.

This is a valuable opportunity to meet students and teaching staff and to get an appreciation of the course and the atmosphere of the College.

Application process

The college enjoys an excellent reputation for undergraduate teaching provision. We pride ourselves on our commitment to learning and teaching. The tutors are also actively engaged in scholarly research, which enriches the teaching experience. Much of the teaching is provided in college, and our students are regularly awarded university prizes for their performance in examinations.

Hertford College has eight places for the BA in law or law with studies in Europe each year and has five places for graduate degrees in law.

The admissions process is geared towards enabling the tutors to identify candidates who embody these intellectual qualities. It consists of:

  •  the written LNAT test, which gauges candidates ability to reason logically and coherently
  • the interview. Candidates will be interviewed by the tutors, and will be structured around an extract from a legal judgment. Candidates will be given a set period to read and digest the extract, and the interviewers will then pose questions based on the extract. This is not a memory test, and prior knowledge of the law is not presupposed. The only point of the exercise is to see how well you can think, develop arguments, and respond to counter-arguments presented by the interviewer.
  • your actual and predicted examination grades, school references, and UCAS personal statement.
  • For Law with Studies in Europe, there is a language test to ensure that potential candidates have sufficient language abilities to cope with the year’s study abroad.

None of these factors is conclusive. We consider each individual candidate’s performance by reference to all of these different criteria before coming to a final decision on the allocation of places.

If you decide to apply to Hertford to read Law, and we very much hope you do, there are a number of points to bear in mind. First, Law runs a more centralised admissions process than other subjects. We do this to ensure that college choice does not adversely affect your chances of a successful application. By centralising our admissions process in this way, we aim to ensure that there is an equal number of applicants per place at each college. This means that some students who apply for Hertford as their first choice college may be allocated to another college for an interview. This is purely to ensure equalisation and is not to be seen as an indication of your relative chance of success.

Second, Law receives an extremely high number of applications. As such, this means that there is perhaps a higher chance of not being called for interview. All students who are not called for interview will have had their applications scrutinised by both the college they apply to and a special sub-committee on the Faculty that checks to ensure that the same standard is applied across all of the colleges.

Third, the application process for Oxford has earlier deadlines than other Universities. The need to apply earlier is particularly pertinent with regard to law, as Oxford is part of a consortium of Universities that uses the Law National Admissions Test (LNAT). The deadline for LNAT is much earlier for those wishing to apply to Oxford. More information about the LNAT, including dates, location of centres and sample test papers, can be found here.(add in link)

All colleges apply the same criteria - motivation, reasoning ability, communication skills – when assessing candidates for Law. More information on these criteria can be found here: (link to law admissions page).

Interviews – what to expect

Interviews for law are geared to test your motivation, reasoning ability and communication skills. A typical interview will last for 25 to 30 minutes and you will have two interviews in college. You may also have third interview either at this or another college.

Applicants for places in law come from a variety of backgrounds and study a varied combination of A level subjects. Some study A level law and some do not. Our aim is to ensure that all candidates are placed on an equal footing. Consequently, interviews in law are based upon a legal text that you will be given to read before your interview. Don’t worry – this will not include complex legal terminology! Any words that have specific legal meanings that may appear in the text you are given will be explained to you. We will use this text as the basis for questions in the interview. Questions will focus on determining whether you have understood the material, as well as whether you are able to use the material to help you construct clear arguments.

It is important to bear in mind that the interview is NOT a test of knowledge! We do not expect you and do not require you to have any prior legal knowledge. Everything that you need to answer the questions we ask will be found in the text we provide.

You can find a video of a sample mock interview for law here (link to law fac website) which will give you an example of the type of questions we ask.

It is important to bear in mind that we will disagree with your answers. This is NOT to make you feel small, or because we think you are wrong. Rather, we need to test your ability to reason, think and construct arguments in the interview and we can only do this by challenging the arguments you make in order to help you to refine them.

Although we realise that all interviews are by definition quite a stressful experience, we do all we can to put you at your ease. After all, it is our best interests to ensure that all candidates perform to the best of their abilities so that we can select the best candidates for our available places. If you are called for interview, we will meet with all candidates before the interviews begin to talk your through the interview process and to answer any questions that you may have.