Law

How we teach

The essential message is that you are responsible for your learning experience at Oxford!

Some of your teaching will occur through Faculty lectures and seminars. These are open to law students at all Colleges. It is important to make the most of this Faculty-based teaching, which will often be delivered by leading international experts in the field. For those students studying Law (with Studies in Europe) where there is a foreign language component, you will also receive language instruction in the first two years of your degree, as well as an introduction to the legal system and method of studying law in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. For those studying law with Studies in Europe who intend to study European law at Leiden, you will receive an introduction to the Dutch language, the main language of instruction in Leiden will be English.

Teaching in College

Most of your teaching, however, will occur through College-based tutorials and classes. Your Hertford tutors will teach many of the subjects. Where we do not have the relevant expertise, experts based in other colleges will teach you. The principal method of teaching is through the tutorial, though this will be supplemented by classes and seminars where appropriate and at the tutor’s discretion.

It is impossible to define a tutorial. The tutorial experience will differ between tutors. It is also very dependent upon what you put into it as a participant. In general terms, the tutorial will be based upon a reading list circulated in advance of the tutorial listing the leading cases, relevant legislation, academic articles and textbook readings. This will often be accompanied by an essay question that you will be required to produce a written answer to on the basis of your week’s reading. You will then meet with your tutor for an hour, usually accompanied by one or two other students. The tutorial will then provide an opportunity to explore difficult concepts that you have encountered in your reading, and to develop and refine your arguments. If you have done your reading and thinking in advance of the tutorial, you should expect it to be an intellectually challenging experience. Arguments improve through being tested in discussion and debate, based upon a close and careful reading of the sources. Tutorials are not mini-lectures. They are not designed to be a medium for imparting facts. The success of the tutorial is therefore a joint responsibility of tutor and student.

Tutorials

It is impossible to define a tutorial. The tutorial experience will differ between tutors. It is also very dependent upon what you put into it as a participant. In general terms, the tutorial will be based upon a reading list circulated in advance of the tutorial listing the leading cases, relevant legislation, academic articles and textbook readings. This will often be accompanied by an essay question that you will be required to produce a written answer to on the basis of your week’s reading. You will then meet with your tutor for an hour, usually accompanied by one or two other students.

The tutorial will provide an opportunity to explore difficult concepts that you have encountered in your reading, and to develop and refine your arguments. If you have done your reading and thinking in advance of the tutorial, you should expect it to be an intellectually challenging experience. Arguments improve through being tested in discussion and debate, based upon a close and careful reading of the sources. Tutorials are not mini-lectures. They are not designed to be a medium for imparting facts. The success of the tutorial is therefore a joint responsibility of tutor and student.