I imagine that I am not the only one sighing with relief as the the big question of Scottish Independence, that dominated the news over the past few weeks, has finally been answered. I remember that I studied Constitutional and Administrative law (also known as Public Law) in my first year when the prospect of a referendum had first been suggested by Alexander Salmond.
It feels quite bizarre that it has been two years since then, and even more bizarre when I think of the array of modules I have already studied throughout the course of my law degree. To give you an insight on what to expect in your first year of studying law, I have compiled a list of all the modules I took along with some information about them.
1. ANALYSING LAW (Semester 2 only module)
Analysing Law was a module focused on getting to grips with the various ways in which judgements can be interpreted. Its structure and teaching is similar to the ‘Learning Legal Skills’ module you will see below!
2. CIVIL JUSTICE SYSTEM (Semester 1 only module)
This module introduces you to the Civil side of the legal system. I found it quite interesting as you learn about the adversarial system we find in England and Wales and the debate surrounding the role of the Judiciary. Admittedly, it is not the most exciting of topics you will study but it is important as it provides you with the essential foundation and understanding of the legal system.
3. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (Semester 2 only module)
This module, therefore, takes a look at the other side to the legal system you find in England and Wales. What I enjoyed most about this module is that you get an in-depth look into the whole process and system from stop and search powers, arrest and plea bargaining.
4. CONSTITUTIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
By far the best module I studied in my first year was ‘ConAd’. In this module we learnt all about the unique constitutional status of the UK, an introduction into the debate about the Human Rights Act and Bill of Rights issue and the whole judicial review procedure. I have to say the lecturers for this module were absolutely outstanding – in particular Professor Peter Cumper and Dr Paul O’Connell – who were able to really engage with all the students.
5. LAW OF CONTRACT
My least favourite module has to go to Contract Law. In this module you learn all about the laws governing the formation and termination of contracts. Personally, I didn’t find it as interesting and exciting to learn compared to the others… however as it is compulsory and needed if you want a Qualifying Law Degree, I guess you have to get on with it.
6. LAW OF TORTS
Tort Law, for me, has mixed reviews. It is quite different from anything that you may have come across before as it involves the law relating to civil wrongs – not criminal. Thus it is sometimes a little difficult to understand from time to time. However, there are also some great lecturers like Dr Gemma Turton so I guarantee you won’t stay confused for long. Also, I did find the negligence, defamation and trespass topics very interesting and I must warn you that you will never forget the case law… Donoghue v Stevenson anyone??
7. LEARNING LEGAL SKILLS (Semester 1 only module)
Learning Legal Skills is the module you take in your first semester and is really there for you to ease you into the transition from A-levels (or equivalent) to University level. Here, you learn all about how to use various databases (Westlaw being the Holy Grail for students) and how to reference and cite which is very very important when it comes to writing essays.
I hope that this is an informative guide as to what work you would expect to find in your first year of studying law. If you have any questions, please let me know by commenting below!!