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Law AS & A Level at The Gryphon School

Course description

Studying Law will provide students with knowledge of the main principles of English law and how our laws develop. Students will gain an understanding of the structure, personnel and functions of the English legal system and in A2 will undertake a speciality of criminal law. Students will develop an understanding of legal principles and reasoning, develop the techniques of logical lateral thinking and the skills necessary to analyse and solve problems by applying legal rules. A critical awareness will develop into the changing nature of law in society. The course will also develop communication skills.

Course content

The course consists of four units. AS Law is based on areas of knowledge and understanding of the English legal system. Students will develop an appreciation of the principles which underlie our system and a critical awareness of how legal institutions and processes operate in our society. For example, the roles of judges and lay persons, including Magistrates and the role of the Jury in criminal and civil cases; our legal profession, studying the training and role of solicitors and barristers; the impact of European Union law on domestic and legal institutions, and how laws are set down by parliament. Students will learn about the power the police have to stop, search and arrest and to detain a suspect, and how their power is balanced by our rights in this investigation process.

At AS Level you will study two units: Unit 1 – English Legal System and Unit 2 – Sources of Law. The English Legal System includes the courts, alternative methods of dispute resolution, police powers, principles of sentencing, the judiciary, the legal profession, lay magistrates and juries. Sources of Law concentrates on the doctrine of Precedent, Acts of Parliament, Delegated Legislation, Statutory Interpretation and European Law.

A2 law specialises in criminal law. Students will demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the principles of criminal law and develop a critical awareness of the present state of criminal law in relation to both the scope of specific crimes and the applicability of particular defences. Students are expected to have a general appreciation of the role of criminal law in modern society and to be able to relate this to specific issues e.g. whether it is justifiable to have crimes of strict liability. Topics included are murder, manslaughter, defences of insanity, automatism, duress, necessity and intoxication. Offences against the person, which include ABH, GBH, wounding, assault and battery and the defences available of consent and self-defence, also theft, robbery and burglary are also included. A2 law is assessed by external examination, including a special study paper with pre-released material at the beginning of the course for students to study on the topic set.

At A2, Law consists of a further two units: Unit 1 – Criminal Law. This Unit involves principles of criminal liability, actus reus, mens rea, strict liability, attempts, murder, manslaughter, nonfatal offences against the person, theft, burglary, robbery and criminal damage and general defences including insanity, automatism, intoxification and self defence. Unit 2 – Criminal Law Special Study. This unit is based on pre-released materials: a special study booklet will be provided at the beginning of the course. Each booklet contains source material which will indicate the area of criminal law that will be tested.


Students are externally assessed by an exam in June. There is no coursework component. Entry requirements: A minimum of Grade C at GCSE English. No prior knowledge of the subject is required.

Financial information

We are encouraging all students to purchase a book, costing approximately £25, to support the course.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Gryphon School directly.

Last updated date: 26 September 2016
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