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.
Number of students
We typically admit between eight and 10 undergraduates per year.
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 the College. 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.
The typical number of lecture hours for each law paper is 36 per year, mostly timetabled for the first two terms of each year, which equates to about 10-12 hours of lectures a week. You normally have a fortnightly College supervision in each subject as well.
In Year 1, all students take the same papers: Constitutional Law, Civil Law, Law of Tort, Criminal Law, and Legal Skills and Methodology.
In Year 2, you choose five papers from a wide range of option. Most students take Contract Law and Land Law. Other options are: Family Law, International Law, Administrative Law, Legal History, Criminal Procedure and Criminal Evidence, Human Rights Law, and Comparative Law.
In Year 3, you select and study five papers from an even more extensive range. Most students take Equality and European Union Law, however you can also take papers in Commercial Law, Public Law, and Labour Law. You can take certain half papers as well. In recent years papers have included: Landlord and Tenant Law, Law of Succession, Personal Information Law, Law and Development, and Banking Law.
You can also participate in a seminar course, submitting a dissertation in place of one paper. Seminar courses vary each year but in the past have included Family in Society, Women and the Law, Law and Ethics of Medicine, Public Law, Ethics and the Criminal Law, and Select Issues in International Law.
With the exception of the Legal Skills and Methodology paper, for which you submit an extended essay, each paper is assessed by a written examination at the end of the year. In the third year, you have the option of substituting one paper for a dissertation.
For further information about studying Law at the University of Cambridge see the Faculty of Law website.
Law at Fitzwilliam College
Fitzwilliam College has a dynamic Fellowship team, with particular expertise in criminal and social justice issues, including criminal law, employment law, sentencing, human rights, and the penal system.
The College also has an active Law Society with excellent links to practitioners and policymakers, and plenty of opportunities for mooting and extra-curricular development. In recent years the annual College dinner has been sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills. Additionally previous alumni have set up a fund which permits the College to purchase leading textbooks and to loan them to students free of charge for the duration of the relevant academic year.
Recent cohorts of students have excelled in Law. In 2020, five students achieved Firsts in their Part II results, establishing Fitzwilliam at the upper end of Cambridge Colleges.
Our standard conditional offer for this subject is usually A*AA at A-level or 40-42 points overall and 7, 7, 6 at Higher Level in IB. We may modify offers to take account of individual circumstances.
The admissions process
The admissions process consists of two interviews. All applicants for Law are also required to take a the Cambridge Law Test at interview.
Advice on writing a personal statement for Law can be found here - Tackling your Law Personal Statement
Director of Studies
Dr Jonathan Rogers (1st and 3rd years Michaelmas and Easter Terms)
Dr Stevie Martin (2nd year Michaelmas and Lent Terms, 3rd year Lent Term)
Professor Nicola Padfield (1st year Lent Term)