Pearl, Oisin and Tatiana on graduation day
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?
- Law at Cambridge
- Law at King's
- Student perspectives
- King's Fellows in Law
- Applying to study Law at King's
- What are we looking for?
- Reading, resources and events
- What careers follow a Law degree?
- Further Information
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
In Law faculty you attend lectures with law students from all Colleges
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
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. Students normally have one hour-long supervision a fortnight for each examination subject. Supervisions vary both in form and content. "Problem questions" (i.e. questions about how the law would apply to a set of facts) may be considered, points raised in lectures discussed, and advice given on further reading. Supervisors set an essay for each supervision and give detailed constructive feedback to ensure that legal issues are approached in the appropriate manner.
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.
Inside King's Library
Credit: Jarrod Doll
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 students interested in Law (whether or not they are studying it). Recent speakers include:
- Sir David Calvert Smith, a former King's student who was previously Director of Public Prosecutions (head of the Crown Prosecution Service) and is currently head of the Parole Board
- Alexandra Wrage, another former King's student who is now an expert on anti-bribery compliance and president of TRACE, a leading organisation in this field. Global bribery has an impact on a whole variety of issues ranging from multinational business to humanitarian aid.
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 PerspectivesBrioni 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 is a 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) at the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law in Montreal (Canada). 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.
Surabhi Ranganathan is a University Lecturer in International Law. Her interests include law of the sea, treaties, global commons, population and resources, energy and non-proliferation, and human rights law.
Megan Donaldson is a Junior Research Fellow at King's. Her doctoral work traced ideas and practices of secrecy and publicity in the international order, with a focus on the interwar years as a foundational period for the elaboration of international institutions.
Applying to study Law at King's
Applying with limited support?
We welcome applications from candidates who look able to meet our entrance requirements from all kinds of schools all over the world. Every year we interview applicants from a very wide range of backgrounds.
The application process for all subjects is explained on our how to apply page, which we advise applicants to read thoroughly in combination with the details below about subject choices and interests for Law, the interviews and the Cambridge Law Test.
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. At least one essay-based subject at school would be useful. For further guidance, you may like to look at the general advice on subject choices.
If you are invited for interview at King's, this will take place in early December. Interviews normally last up to 25 minutes at most, and you will be asked to collect and read a text in the half hour before your interview to be discussed with the interviewers.
Information about the interview options for international candidates are in the International Students section.
Students who are invited for interview in Law are also asked to take the Cambridge Law Test, which lasts one hour. No specific preparation is required for this test. You do not need to register in advance for this as it will be organised automatically by the College if you are invited for interview.
Your performance in the Cambridge Law Test will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.
What are we looking for?
The most important criteria are enthusiasm, dedication and potential and we consider each case on an individual basis. This course requires a considerable commitment in terms of time and energy, but it is well worth the effort!
We will be interested in:
- your existing examination results which we consider carefully, taking into account your personal and educational background;
- your academic interests and motivation as explained in your UCAS personal statement and explored further in interviews;
- your school reference and predicted grades for any exams you have yet to take;
- your performance in the Cambridge Law Test (see section above);
- how you approach questions designed to make you think in interviews - our interviewers will work closely with students invited for interviews to assess your suitability for the challenges of Cambridge Law.
At King's, we are looking for promise and potential. So although existing and predicted grades form a central criterion for admissions, we are careful to interpret grades in light of your personal and educational background. We assess each application individually. We are interested to learn about your existing knowledge and skills, but we endeavour also to find out how you would deal with the new materials and ideas you would encounter at Cambridge.
Reading, resources and events
- We advise you to read the general advice about developing your interests.
- There are no particular books that Law applicants are required to read, but you may find the introductory reading suggestions useful.
- The subject resources page has a tag for posts on Social Sciences, which you might like to browse.
- Other events which may be of interest in the year before you apply (year 12 in the UK) include Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, CU Masterclasses, the Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference, the annual Law Faculty Open Day and King's Open Days. Students from backgrounds where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education might like to think about applying for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools or the CUSU Shadowing Scheme.
What sort of careers follow a Law degree?
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.
- Course outline and film
- Cambridge Law course website
- Faculty website
- Applying with limited support or advice
- International students
- Extenuating circumstances
- If you have further questions about applying to King's for Law, please feel free to email King's Admissions Office.