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Law

Welcome to the Law subject page at King's! Here you will find an overview of the subject in the University and the College, the people who teach and research Law at King's, and what will happen when you apply.

What is Law?

The word 'law' usually conjures up either a graphic snapshot of the more sensational murders, rapes and other violent crimes that grace the pages of the tabloid press, or the depressing image of balding, middle-aged, grey men in pin-striped City suits worrying about the placing of a comma. Neither picture is wholly wrong, but both are inadequate.

Law is indeed about drama, conflict, the individual and society. It is also about rigorous logic, care and precision, clarity of thought and attention to detail. Law is not an easy ticket to being a "fat cat". It can be an absorbing, passionate and very satisfying way of spending a working life.

Law at Cambridge

Cambridge is generally accepted as having one of the strongest law faculties in the country. As well as covering the 'core subjects' constitutional and administrative law, contract, criminal law, equity, EU law, land law and tort – which you will read wherever you study law in order to gain full exemption from the academic stage of the Bar and the Law Society examinations, Cambridge offers you the opportunity to explore very diverse areas of the law, from French law to medical law and from labour law to law and philosophy.

The Cambridge system of university lectures complemented by small group teaching in supervisions with specialists in each subject from various colleges enables the wider issues that lie behind the "rules element" of law to be discussed and evaluated. Supervisions also give you the opportunity to sort out particular difficulties, get advice and assistance on legal problem-solving and develop your skills in legal reasoning, writing and discussion in a non-hostile environment.

Law at King's

Law students

Second years with Eva Nanopoulos (Director of Studies) at Halfway Hall

The "King's approach to law" continues to focus on encouraging students to think critically about the role of law within the political, economic and moral system, as well as mastering the necessary tools of legal reasoning and analysis.

With about 5-6 places in law each year, the King's lawyers form a friendly and supportive community and are carefully supported in their studies by the supervisors and Director of Studies. It is not unusual for students in other subjects to change to law later in the degree: for many years, King's students have come to law successfully from a range of other disciplines, such as Modern and Medieval Languages, Natural Sciences, Human, Social and Political Sciences and Economics. "Pure" lawyers therefore share supervisions and talk informally with others who have changed into law, whose different perspectives, difficulties and strengths usually make for lively and wide-ranging discussion.

It is entirely possible to have a life and be a lawyer; to do so and sleep as well places a premium on organisation and self-discipline. The College library is well-stocked for Law, open 24/7, and provides many pleasant places to work (see the virtual tour). King's is also well located for lawyers, as one of the closest colleges to both the Law Faculty on the Sidgwick Site and the University library,  just a few minutes' walk away.

As well as more informal discussion in College, King's College Law Society (KCLS) organises a number of social and academic events. For example in Lent term, students enjoyed a talk and dinner with King's alumnus Sir David Calvert Smith. Sir David was previously Director of Public Prosecutions (head of the Crown Prosecution Service) and is currently head of the Parole Board. It was a great pleasure to welcome him back to King's.

King's has produced a number of extremely distinguished lawyers and members of the judiciary. Our alumni include Lord Phillips, the current President of the UK Supreme Court (also an Honorary Fellow of the College); Lord Clarke, a Justice of the Supreme Court and former Master of the Rolls; Eleanor Sharpston QC, the UK's Advocate General at the European Court of Justice; and Sir Patrick Elias, a Lord Justice of Appeal.

Law year abroad

Some King's students take advantage of the optional Erasmus year abroad between the second and third year of the Cambridge Law course. They spend an academic year studying Law at one of the partner universities: Poitiers (France), Regensburg (Germany), Utrecht (the Netherlands) or Madrid (Spain). Further information about this opportunity is available in the Student Perspectives and on the course website.

Student Perspectives

Brioni is in her third year and has written about her experiences of King's Law, including the transition from sixth form, Cambridge teaching and supervisions, balancing the workload with a social and sporting life, the things she struggles with, and the study strategies she has developed. Alice, Rebecca and Rachel have written about the year abroad. These accounts are well worth reading to get a sense of what Law at King's is really like.

King's Fellows in Law

Henning Grosse Ruse-Khan

Henning Grosse Ruse-Khan is a new University Lecturer in the Faculty of Law and a member of the Cambridge Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL), as well as an external research fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Munich (Germany). His research and teaching focuses on international intellectual property protection and development issues, world trade and investment law, and interfaces among distinct legal orders in international law.

Eva Nanopoulos

Eva Nanopoulos (Director of Studies) is the Bob Alexander College Lecturer in Law at King's. Her interests are primarily European Union law. Her thesis focused on the judicial review of anti-terrorism measures, but she is more broadly interested in EU constitutional law, fundamental rights, EU external relations and the interaction between the EU and other international actors.

Surabhi Ranganathan

Surabhi Ranganathan is a Junior Research Fellow in Public International Law. Her research interests span modern international legal thought and the politics of treaty conflict, with a current focus on treaty regimes in the fields of nuclear non-proliferation, international criminal justice and the law of the sea. Additional interests include the regulation of private military companies, and the strategic invocation of international legal concepts and ideas before Indian courts.

Applying to study Law at King's

There is no specific set of subjects that have to have been studied at school to study Law at King's (and taking Law at school gives no particular advantage!). You need a clear logical mind, a willingness to think through and argue a case, and the ability to assimilate, condense and use large quantities of information. Law is quintessentially a language-based subject, so the ability to speak and write coherently and precisely is vital. For further guidance, you may like to look at the general advice in our Subject Matters leaflet.

The application process and timetable is set out on the how to apply page, which we advise you to read thoroughly.

Applicants selected for an interview for Law at King's will be asked to sit the Cambridge Law Test in College whilst they are in Cambridge. No specific preparation is required for this test (and please note that we do not specify in advance what kind of questions will be set at King's). Interviews usually last about 25 minutes and you will usually be asked to collect and read a text in the half hour before your interview to be discussed with the interviewers.

Every year we interview applicants from a very wide range of backgrounds and we welcome candidates who look able to meet our entrance requirements from all kinds of schools all over the world.

Reading, resources and events

What sort of careers follow a Law degree?

Students chatting with a supervisor

Graduation: Eva Nanopoulos with Alice (Law) and Alex (Engineering)

Law is often thought of as a vocational subject and, of course, many law graduates do go on to become barristers or solicitors in private practice. Less obvious but equally important is the involvement of lawyers in government service (often both interesting and creative), employed practice (advising large companies on the legal implications of their actions) and public life; and in careers that have no ostensible connection with the law, such as broadcasting.

Law is not a narrow career path: on the contrary, it provides a basis for any job that requires you to assimilate and analyse material, think about it logically, reach a conclusion and present that conclusion persuasively to others.

Further information

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