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Law is the body of official rules and regulations that a society adopts to maintain order, and protect persons and property from harm.

Law is ancient, dating back at least to the Code of Hammurabi, written by an ancient Babylonian king around 1760 BC.

Today, most countries have tens or hundreds of thousands of pages of law. Laws are enforced by the police and supported by the court and prison systems.

Law is highly respected as an A-level subject by universities.


Law is one of three A-level courses offered by the Department of Classics and Political Sciences. It is the most popular A-level subject in the school, with two classes running in in both Year 12 and in Year 13; many of our students go on to study Law or a related subject at university.

Students are entered for OCR’s full two year A-level course.  The course code is H418. The course culminates in three exam papers and there is no coursework component.

Students are required to participate in class trips to Wycombe Magistrates’ Court and to Reading Crown Court. They must also watch the news regularly and read a daily newspaper.


KEY STAGE 5, LAW – Years 12 & 13 

This is a full 2-year course for a final examination after two years of study.  The qualification is the OCR Advanced GCE in Law (H418) and is a study of the law of England and Wales.

Entry Requirements

There are two entry routes:

  1. Students should have achieved a Grade 6 or above in GCSE History.
  2. Students should have achieved a Grade 6 or above in an essay-based subject such as English or RS plus a Grade 6 or above in a memory-based GCSE subject such as Maths, Science or Geography.

Individual consideration will be given to students that achieve high Grade 5s.


There are six units that are examined across three 2-hour examination papers. The three large units each comprise 25% of the total marks; the three small units make up the remaining 25%. There is no coursework.

Component 1 – The Legal System and Criminal Law

Unit 1a – The Legal System (small unit)

This unit focuses on the civil and criminal courts, the legal professions and access to justice. It is about the law in action. Students learn about what happens when one goes to court, what sentences are available to judges and how sentencing decisions are reached. They look at professional people involved in the law such as judges and lawyers, learning how they are trained and the work they do, plus they study the role and duties of non-professional people such as magistrates and jurors.

Unit 1b – Criminal Law (large unit)

Students learn exactly what is meant by murder, manslaughter, wounding, grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm, assault and battery, theft, robbery and burglary; they also learn about the defences available if charged with these crimes, such as insanity, intoxication, duress, consent and self-defence. Students are expected to apply their knowledge of the law and of law cases to made-up scenarios to determine whether the people in the scenarios have committed a crime. They must also consider the law critically and be able to argue whether it is fine as it is or if it needs reform.

Component 2 – Making Law and The Law of Tort

Unit 2a – Making Law (small unit)

This unit is about where law comes from. Students learn that there are two types of law: parliamentary law and common law. They learn how Parliament operates and how it creates law, how judges interpret that law when considering individual cases and how the system of precedent attempts to ensure consistency and certainty in legal judgments.

Unit 2b – Tort Law (large unit)

A tort is a wrong that someone suffers as a result of carelessness by someone with a legal obligation to them. Much of this unit is therefore about how one seeks redress for wrongs done, such as claiming damages if the wrong results in your injury or loss of earnings, or seeking an injunction, for instance, to stop your neighbour being noisy. Students will learn the rules for deciding if one has a legal obligation to another and how this applies to both ordinary life and to employment. As with the Criminal Law unit, students learn to apply their knowledge to scenario-based situations and to gain a critical awareness of the current state of the law.

Component 3 – Further Law

Unit 3a – The Nature of Law (small unit)

Students explore the nature of law in a wider context and develop their understanding of how the law interacts with morality, justice and society. This involves their bringing together legal rules and principles, concepts and issues from across the entire course.

Unit 3b – Human Rights Law (large unit)

The focus is on the nature, protection and the constitutional position of human rights within the English legal system. Students study specific rights in detail, the restrictions upon them and the process of enforcement through the courts. For example, students study police powers and how protecting the rights of an individual when stopped and searched or arrested and held at a police station are balanced with giving the police sufficient powers to do their job. As with the other large units, students are tested through their ability to apply their legal knowledge to scenario-based situations and to critically evaluate the present state of the law.


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