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Law A Level at West Somerset College

Course description

Law affects virtually all aspects of our lives and regulates much of our everyday activity. Why do we need laws? How are they made? How do they change? How do we use the law? These and many other questions are encountered on this programme of study. During the course you will study criminal and civil law and develop your ability to analyse legal rules and principles and factual issues. You will learn to construct persuasive legal arguments to offer answers to problems and evaluate the strength of those arguments. Success in the subject will require students to take an interest in current legal affairs, to read widely and write in a clear and concise manner. A good memory is essential because there are a lot of legal cases to remember. A commitment to your studies outside of the classroom is assumed.

Course content

There are – broadly – three areas of study:

English legal system – this includes a study of:

  • The criminal courts and the role of magistrates and the jury in criminal trials.
  • The way judges interpret Acts of Parliament, e.g. are prostitutes soliciting “in” the street if they are calling out of a window?
  • Delegated legislation e.g. is a local authority allowed to try to stop people singing obscene songs in private?
  • Legal personnel including barristers, solicitors, legal executives and judges.

Criminal Law – general elements of liability including:

  • The offences of assault, battery and grievous bodily harm, together with sentences a defendant may receive.
  • The offences of murder, manslaughter and defences which could be raised, e.g. self-defence, consent.
  • The offences of theft and robbery.

Civil law – knowledge and understanding of private law including:

  • Liability in negligence for injury to people and damage to property.
  • Topics such as nuisance, vicarious liability and medical negligence.

Entry requirements

You will need a grade 5 or above in GCSE English and Maths, as well the general requirement of five subjects at grade 5/C or above. A History background would also be advantageous.

Law is one of the most marketable academic qualifications. It is recognised by institutions of Higher Education and complements Politics, Social Science and Business related courses. Apart from the obvious careers of solicitor or barrister law students are well liked by industry, commerce and local government and will be found working in retail management, publishing, journalism, the police force, social services and teaching.


No Coursework Examination (100%) – There will be 3 papers at the end of the course which will include multiple choice questions, short answer questions and questions requiring students to construct persuasive legal arguments to answer a problem scenario.

Further information

A study visit to both the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts is an opportunity to develop a better understanding of how the law is used and applied in practice. Students will also be given the opportunity to contribute to a student Law journal.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact West Somerset College directly.

Last updated date: 03 October 2017

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years