Applying for Law at Cambridge University

Law has been studied and taught in Cambridge since the thirteenth century, when the core subjects of legal study in all European universities were Civil law (the law of ancient Rome) and the Canon law of the Church. Early graduates of the Cambridge Faculty of Canon Law held the highest judicial positions in Europe - in the Rota at Avignon - and two of them (William Bateman and Thomas Fastolf) wrote the first known law reports in the ius commune tradition.

At present, there are over 70 University and College Teaching Officers in Law at Cambridge University. They include specialists in almost every aspect of English law and its history, the laws of other countries (especially European), European Community law, public and private international law, Roman law, legal philosophy, and criminology.

How did you decide between Oxford and Cambridge?

For my subject, I had the impression that Oxford had a better reputation and record of results. In addition, after visiting Oxford I found I liked the atmosphere of the city and university. (Profile 799)

Preferred Cambridge but only slightly (loved them both) but Oxford was about 1.5 hrs closer to home and took approx 8 people per college for my subject whereas Cambridge only took approx 3. (Profile 933)

Oxford as a city appeals more and, again rightly or wrongly, I had this feeling that Oxford was better for law. (Profile 772)

Do you have any advice for future applicants in terms of preparation?

Read the papers, and don't lie on your SAQ because they ask you about it. Also, you should probably know about very common legal terms or you'll come out mouthing 'oh my God, that was awful' as i did. (Profile 936)

Just make sure you can show that you have a genuine interest in the subject you have applied for, show some enthusiasm and be yourself in every aspect of your application. Keep up to date on current affairs. Read into your subject a bit if you haven't already and be prepared to talk about that. (Profile 743)

for law - work exp (as much as possible to show your enthusiasm), times law supplement, law in action programming on radio 4 which covers topical legal issues weekly (listen again on the bbc website), read plenty of law books; from the set list and also others on topics that you might be interested in(eg medical law was my topic of choice) to show that you are willing to go out of your way to find a book and if the topic inspires you, you can write about it in your ps/talk about it in your interview. (Profile 641)

Read the Cambridge admissions website thoroughly; there is a lot of really useful advice on there. (Profile 1113)

They start out with the assumption that they would be happy to offer everyone a place, so don't make any stupid mistakes that give them a reason to reject you. Other than that, don't get your exam boards wrong (as I so nearly did), and check that you haven't been given a copy of last year's form (as I was). (Profile 228)

Did you have to sit any pre-interview exams?

LNAT - 19/30 in multiple choice 

also found the essay section atrocious as i hadn't really written one in quite a long time; read after that critical thinking essays are useful for practise, or in general persuasive essays and reading the guardian, or the times could help with learning how to formulate opinions etc (Profile 936)

The LNAT; pretty tough. Got asked about my essay at the interview. I got 23/30, if that helps anyone. (Profile 651)

What was the Law interview like? 

Given a text and half-hour to read it. Discussed text and this led to other aspects of it and then we leapt to Property law. Also asked about work experience, subject topics and given a second text and asked if scenarios fitted it. (Profile 936)

My interview lasted about 40 minutes. Prior to the interview I was given about 20 minutes to read and make notes on a case study. My interview then began. The first 20 minutes involved talking/debating about the case study with the Director of Studies and another Law fellow/supervisor. The next 20 minutes then involved answering general questions about my UCAS Personal Statement and some general law questions (e.g. Do you enter a contract when you get on a bus? I didn't actually know the answer to this but I think as long as you give a reasoned argument for your answer you will be fine). (Profile 743)

I really enjoyed the interview. It became progressively harder as it went on, but really it was pretty much what I expect a supervision would be like. In this sense I think they just want to get a feel for how you think and if they would enjoy teaching you. The scenario had various issues involved, both legal principles and social issues which were interesting and open for debate. I made some silly comments which I regret, but overall I think it was very fair. (Profile 975)

No legal knowledge was required, they genuinely do just want to see how you think. wasn't asked anything about any actual legal issues. 

First interview was just tutorial stuff (eg what do you do in your spare time) and a little legal..something about statutes and if one stated something what it meant, also the difference between principles and laws. then had to work through a scenario regarding a poor reference written for a student which consequently led to them not being hired and whether the referee would be liable to pay damages in situations a) b) and c).

second interview a few legal questions using different scenarios. (Profile 936)

It's hard to tell how well the interview is going when you're in there; the interviewers don't give anything away. I felt like I wasn't answering the questions properly; you don't know what they want you to say. I felt I did better in my general interview than my subject one. (Profile 651)

I had only one interview which was scheduled to last 45 minutes but, in the end, only lasted for about 30. It was in three parts, each part lead by a different interviewer. The first part focused upon my life and what had brought me to this point, the second was with the DoS for Law who asked me some legal/logic based questions. The third part discussed my current course and how I thought it would prepare me for study at Cambridge. (Profile 1113)

Questions asked: Would you be willing to take a gap year? What subjects are you studying at school? What's your favourite Subject? What do you study in History? Why do you find it interesting? Why was Hitler able to establish a dictatorship - his actions, or the actions of others? Would you buy the defence of the judges at the Nuremberg trials? Then I got asked a whole lot about extradition, which I can't really remember specifically. It ended with me saying I'd extradite people to Afghanistan for not wearing a burka... Suppose that you sell a car for Ł500 from your own driveway. The purchaser drives off down the road, but 10 feet along the car stops. He looks inside and there's a lawmower engine. He comes back , demands his money back, but is told "tough luck, you signed this contract". You're a judge - who do you find for? If it was sold though a car dealership, would it make a difference? If the fault was nothing obvious (problem in the fuel system), but ended up seriously injuring the buyer, who would you find for? This time, you sell the car, and it's fine, but you're paid with counterfeit money by a crook. He then takes it across town, sells it on, and flees the country. You're the judge again - who do you award the car to, the original seller or the second buyer? (Profile 228)