Average student intake: 8 (including Joint Schools)
Course length: 3 years
Hertford has an excellent reputation for undergraduate teaching in Law (BA Jurisprudence). Our tutors are actively engaged in scholarly research, but we pride ourselves on our commitment to teaching and learning – your experience will be enhanced because of this.
Studying Law at Hertford might challenge your preconceptions. Yes, you will be working hard and getting to grips with complex legal material in the library. Yes, you will be immersed in an exciting scholarly environment. But no, there won’t be lots of memorization or recitation of dry technical facts. You don’t come to Hertford to learn the law – which is kept safely in dusty volumes on library shelves – but to learn how to think like a lawyer.
You will learn how best to assimilate significant amounts of legal materials, deciding which are most relevant to the problem at hand. You will develop your logical reasoning, applying rules and principles to novel circumstances. You will hone your judgement by identifying inconsistencies in judicial decisions. And you will learn how to harness your creativity by proposing original solutions to difficult problems across various spheres of social life.
Teaching and learning
The University’s Faculty of Law determines the broad structure of Law at Oxford. This ensures consistency and means that, regardless of which college you belong to, you’ll have access to lectures delivered by leading international experts in their fields.
Studying Law at Hertford gives you the opportunity to develop a significant depth of legal understanding across a broad spectrum of core subjects, which provide the building blocks of legal knowledge in England and Wales. In your first two terms, you’ll study Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Roman Law. After this, you’ll study another nine subjects, two of which you can choose to tailor to your specific interests. The many options on offer in any one year can cover a wide range of topics, from Human Rights Law to Legal History or Public International Law. Our main form of assessment is exams, so you should be prepared to showcase your knowledge and skills in this setting.
One of the strengths of an Oxford Law degree is the small-group tutorial teaching model, which we use across the University. In these tutorials you will be able to discuss and develop your ideas with a tutor, alongside one or two other students. A tutorial is not a mini-lecture; it is an intellectually challenging discussion. Your views will be pushed and questioned because we believe that arguments improve through being tested in debate.
Tutorials are based on a reading list of leading cases, relevant legislation, academic articles and textbook readings. You’ll usually write an essay based on these materials before the tutorial. The more work you put into this preparation, the more you will get out of the tutorial – the success of the tutorial therefore depends as much on you as it does on your tutor. You will be responsible for your own learning experience at Hertford, so you’ll need a high level of self-motivation and commitment, but we will always be here to support you.
Most Law students at Hertford go on to work in the legal sector. The Oxford degree in Jurisprudence is a ‘qualifying law degree’ for the purposes of practice as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales – equivalent to LLB courses at other universities.
The majority of our students build careers as solicitors, working for large City firms in London, but this is not the only path available to you after graduation. Some students decide to become barristers, and some choose to work in smaller local or specialist legal firms. Others have gone into legal publishing or used their degree as a springboard into careers including academia, teaching and even television directing.
Making an application
The purpose of our admissions process is to identify candidates who are best suited to studying Law at Hertford, regardless of your background. All colleges apply the same criteria when making decisions, assessing your motivation, reasoning ability and communication skills. We take all aspects of your application into account when making decisions, including your performance in the LNAT (Law National Admissions Test). You’ll need to register for this separately from UCAS and can find past papers online. You don’t need any specific legal knowledge to do well – it’s designed to gauge your ability to reason logically and coherently when presented with unfamiliar material.
As Law receives an extremely high number of applications, there is a correspondingly higher chance of not being called for interview. All applications by candidates who are not called for interview are scrutinized by both the college, and a special sub-committee at the Faculty of Law to ensure that the same standard is applied across all of the colleges. This admissions process – which is more centralised than in other subjects – means that your college choice will not adversely affect your chance of being offered a place. As a result, if you choose to apply to Hertford you may be allocated to another college for interview. This is purely to ensure equalization and is not an indication of your relative chances of success.
If you are shortlisted, you will have two interviews at Hertford and could have a third here or at another college. We know that you’ll probably be nervous and will do everything we can to put you at your ease. As every applicant comes from a different background and studies various subjects at A Level, we aim to place you on an equal footing. This means that your interview will be based upon a legal text that we’ll give you beforehand – it is not a test of your prior legal knowledge and won’t contain any complex terminology that hasn’t been explained.
The questions we’ll ask will help us to determine how well you have understood the reading material and how well you are able to use it to make arguments. Don’t be concerned if we disagree with your answers – we will! This is not because we think you’re wrong, but to test your ability to reason, think and construct convincing arguments.
Law with Law Studies in Europe
4-year BA including a year abroad
During your first two years in Oxford you’ll receive language instruction and participate in teaching which will introduce you to the legal system and method of studying Law in the country in which you’ll spend your third year. You’ll be based at one of Oxford’s partner universities in France, Spain, Germany, Italy or the Netherlands. While abroad, you will study the law of the relevant country and will be taught in the local language (except in the case of the Netherlands, where you will study in English). Returning to Hertford for your fourth year, you will continue studying the standard BA in Jurisprudence syllabus. Like the BA in Jurisprudence, Law with Law Studies in Europe is a ‘qualifying law degree’ but does not provide any additional qualification for legal practice in the European countries concerned.