Studying Law – An Overview

Studying the British legal system can be very rewarding, and there are many reasons you would want to do it. You could want to become a solicitor or barrister. You may want to become a legal academic. You may value the skills & knowledge that law gives you in the business world. Or you may simply enjoy the study of law in general. In this article we’re going to look at the different areas of law that you can study at university and what skill you need to demonstrate in them.

Legal Areas


Contract law governs pretty much everything we do if it involves a transaction. It forms the basics of buying and selling. This could be something small like buying a bar of chocolate, or something big like selling a company. Contracts can be written and oral.


Tort law in a way is very similar to contract. It involves duties that we owe to each other without a contractual relationship. These duties allow us to hold others responsible if they cause us any type of harm. This involves topics like negligence, personal injury and slander.


Administrative law is heavily political and philosophical. It looks at key questions about the British legal system and parliament in regards to the powers it hold to make laws. This module also looks at powers given to local authorities, and perhaps most importantly the judicial review laws. This is all about the legal powers judges have to review the decisions taken by public bodies.


The law of the European Union has a massive effect on the British Legal system. No longer is the British parliament the only institution which can legislate for the United Kingdom. EU law looks at the European institution and the foundations which make it up. This involves looking at the treaties closely and examining the free movement of goods, workers, services, EU judicial review and more philosophical elements like the democratic deficit.


Probably the most well known area of law. Criminal law looks at fatal offences such as murder, non fatal offences like battery & assault and offences against property like theft. It also looks at philosophical elements involving blame and liability for crimes. There is also time dedicated to defences for all of the criminal offences.


You will be expected to acquire a great deal of knowledge about the working of the legal system generally, the making and development of law, and the operation and social impact of law in a number of the areas mentioned above. It’s not just about knowing the legal facts.

Finding – You need to use and locate the relevant material within a law library or e library.

Analysing – You are required to bring together all the relevant information, follow logic in argument and understand precedent when dealing with complex facts.

Evaluating – Assessing arguments and critiquing judgements is key. You also should be good at assessing whether significant information is not available or presented in argument. In addition you should evaluate the impact of the law in regards to policy options.

Oral – You should contribute in lectures and supervisions and engage in mooting and presentations in order to increase your skills.

Writing – In particular for the purposes for note taking, problem solving, short essays, extended essays and drafting legislation. If you decide to go into practical law these skills will be even more essential.

Numeracy – You must be sceptical in regards to data unless it’s taken from official sources. If it is from an official source you can use it within your legal arguments.

Teamwok – You will need to perform a variety of role when preparing for group presentations and mooting. You will also want to support your classmates.

IT – You need a good ability to use word processing for writing essays and need to be able to use web resources like West Law for case research.

These skills will hopefully be developed over the course of your legal studies if you want to go into the law as a career. Or they will assist you for a long time in your non career hopefully making you excel as whatever job it is.