The study of law has a long and distinguished history at the University of Cambridge—and at Fitzwilliam College. The law course at Cambridge is intended to give a deeper appreciation of the working of legal rules and institutions than is obtainable from a merely vocational training.

The course seeks to do this by providing an opportunity to study Law in its historical and social context and to examine its general principles and techniques. The problems studied involve questions of interpretation, logical reasoning, ethical judgment, civil and political liberties and social control. Fitzwilliam law graduates are to be found at the upper echelons of the legal profession both nationally and internationally, and have also succeeded in a diverse array of other fields from politics to academia to the arts.  


Mr Richard Hooley, Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, is Director of Studies for LLM students. He is also University Lecturer in Corporate Law and Co-Director of the specialist Masters of Corporate Law (MCL) course at the Law Faculty. He supervises undergraduates in Contract Law . His research interests are in the fields of commercial law and banking law, and he has published a number of student and practitioner books in these areas.

Mrs Nicola Padfield, Master of Fitzwilliam College, is Reader in Criminal and Penal Justice at the Law Faculty.  She supervises undergraduates in Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Evidence, as well as Criminology, Sentencing and the Penal System.  Mrs Padfield also sits as a recorder (part-time judge) in the Crown Court, is a Bencher of the Middle Temple and has published widely on criminal law, criminal justice and sentencing.  

Mr Andreas Televantos, is a Fellow and Director of Studies for the Law Tripos at Fitzwilliam College, as well as an Affiliated University Lecturer.  He supervises undergraduates in Civil Law, Land Law, and Equity. His research interests focus on property law, insolvency, and legal history.

Professor Sir Anthony E. Bottoms, F.B.A. is a Life Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, and was formerly the Wolfson Professor of Criminology.  He is one of the founders of modern Criminology and has published extensively in the area.

Teaching Law at Fitzwilliam

Fitzwilliam College typically admits around five to seven students each year to read law. The expertise of the college’s active teaching fellows covers many of the subjects taught as part of the undergraduate course, allowing us to take a personal interest in the progress of each student. The Law undergraduates work under the direction of their Director of Studies, who provides guidance on studying effectively, as well as advice on next steps after university, and meets with the students at the start and end of every term.

Lectures and Supervisions

The Law Tripos is taught through a mixture of lectures, given centrally at the law faculty, and supervisions, teaching in small groups of two to four, which are arranged by college. Fitzwilliam students will often have supervisions in college, but have supervisions for some subjects in other colleges. The lectures are intended to provide an overview of all the material in any given subject, and supervisions provide students with the chance to discuss the material with an expert in a more closed setting. Supervisors require students to prepare for supervision by reading about the topic being studied, preparing issues for discussion, and writing essays or answering problem questions.

Course structure                               

The Law Tripos is divided into Part IA, taken at the end of the first year, Part IB, which is normally taken at the end of the second year, and Part II, which is normally taken at the end of the third year.  Alternatively, students have the opportunity to defer Part II until their fourth year and spend their third year studying at law schools in France (Poitiers), Germany (Regensburg) or the Netherlands (Utrecht).

First-year undergraduates take four papers in Part IA of the Law Tripos, (Civil Law I, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and the Law of Torts), and receive supervisions on each subject once every two weeks. First-year students are also expected to take a half-paper on legal methodology and skills, taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars. A first-year student will therefore have around ten hours of lectures per week, two hours of supervisions, as well as around forty hours of private study to prepare for supervisions. In Parts IB and Part II students are still required to take certain papers to obtain a qualifying law degree, but can take a wide range of optional papers ranging from Legal History to Corporate Law, and Jurisprudence to Labour Law. For more details see the University of Cambridge Law Faculty Website

Studying Law at Fitzwilliam

Fitzwilliam College has a culture of academic excellence that we very much expect the students to become a part of. Law students at Fitzwilliam are expected to develop a love of learning and the incisive reasoning skills that make for a talented legal practitioner. For its part, in addition to the general provision the college makes for students outlined above, Fitzwilliam College provides targeted support to its law students, designed to allow them to develop these key skills.

First, new law students at Fitzwilliam are given college-based training on how to undertake legal analysis and think like a lawyer, which supplements the general provision for methodology classes given by the Law Faculty. Secondly, the top floor of the new state-of-the-art Olisa Library is reserved for Fitzwilliam lawyers as a dedicated law library, making sure that Fitzwilliam lawyers always have both the space and the resources to work effectively. Thirdly, the Law Book Fund provides extended loans of course books to students, saving students from having to buy textbooks for all their subjects.  

Finally, the College Law Society provides Fitzwilliam law students with a range of opportunities. The society is run by undergraduates, and invites speakers, most often judges, barristers and solicitors, to talk to and meet with the students on an informal basis. Each year it organises social events, including a very fun annual dinner with invited guests. The society also organises an annual moot, that is to say a type of debating competition involving a mock court case. The winners of the moot are presented with a cash prize and the College’s coveted 1984 Mooting Cup. The society therefore offers students a fantastic chance to make legal contacts, practice their advocacy skills, and also provides a solid network of support for new students.


The typical A Level offer for Law is A*AA.  The typical IB offer is 40-41 points with 776 at Higher Level.  There are no required A Level (or equivalent) subjects and students with background in the humanities, sciences, or both, are equally successful on the course.

Applicants are required to sit the Cambridge Law Test, if invited for interview.  More information can be found on the University website.

Graduate Studies

The College also admits graduate students reading for the LL.M, MCL (masters in corporate law), or for doctorates in Law.

LL.M candidates take any four papers selected from a wide range of options, and are very much able to tailor the degree to their own interests. In particular, LL.M candidates can choose to specialise in Commercial Law, International Law, or European Law. For more details see the LL.M website.

The MCL is a Master’s degree in Corporate Law which aims to provide students with practical insights into corporate legal practice, as well as an academically and theoretically rigorous understanding of the law. As above, it is co-directed by Mr Richard Hooley, a fellow of Fitzwilliam College. For more details see the MCL website

Life after Fitzwilliam​

Many of those who read Law at Fitzwilliam practice as solicitors or barristers, and there are many Fitzwilliam alumni in the upper echelons of city law firms and the bar. The college also has a number of prominent alumni in the judiciary, including Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda), Lord Justice Kitchin of the Court of Appeal, and Judge Dean Spielmann, former President of the European Court of Human Rights. Many law alumni retain links with the college and its current students, by means ranging from honorary fellowships to the Fitzwilliam Law Society’s ‘LinkedIn’ group, providing students with a real link to the world of legal practice.

However, a law degree at Fitzwilliam is not a merely vocational qualification, and the ability to reason and think critically that the study of law forms is valued by a range of employers outside of the legal profession. Indeed, there are Fitz law graduates who instead pursue careers in the Civil Service, local government, and international organisations. One such Fitzwilliam alumnus is Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of the Arts Council, England.

The MCL is a Master’s degree in Corporate Law which aims to provide students with practical insights into corporate legal practice, as well as an academically and theoretically rigorous understanding of the law. As above, it is co-directed by Mr Richard Hooley, a fellow of Fitzwilliam College. For more details see the MCL website

More information

Faculty of Law website >>

Short video about Law on the University's YouTube channel >>

For further information on reading Law at Fitzwilliam College, contact, in the first instance, the Admissions Office, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, CB3 ODG, or via email: admissions@cam,