Preparatory Reading for Law Offer Holders

Message from the Downing College Law Fellows

You will be provided with details of the syllabus for each paper and a reading list when you begin your course in October. You will need to buy some textbooks, but each supervisor will make recommendations as to what you need for their subject. It will be possible to buy most books second-hand from the second-year lawyers at Downing, so there is no need to buy any textbooks before you come into residence.

It is not necessary for you to do a great deal of specific reading before October. However, it is important for you to keep up to date with current affairs by regularly reading a newspaper and news websites. It would be helpful for you to read (or reread) Glanville Williams, Learning the Law, (ed. A T H Smith) (16th., 2016, Sweet and Maxwell).

In addition, it would be very useful for you to purchase a book called What About Law? by Barnard, O’Sullivan and Virgo, (2nd ed., 2011, Hart Publishing). The purpose of this book is to provide an introduction to the study of each of the foundation subjects and to the study of law as an academic discipline. Please read Chapter 1 and the Chapters on Crime, Tort and Constitutional Law before you come to Cambridge.

An additional book with some useful tips about studying Law is McBride’s Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University (4th edition, 2017 Pearson). Another interesting book is Hutchinson, Is Eating People Wrong? Great Legal Cases and How They Shaped the World, (2011, Cambridge University Press), especially chapters 1, 2, 6, 8 and 10, but all the chapters can usefully be read.

Other books that it would be very useful to read before you begin your studies are:

  • Bingham, The Rule of Law, (Penguin, 2011)
  • Honoré, About Law: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • McLeod, Legal Method (9th edn, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
  • Llewellyn, The Bramble Bush (Oxford University Press, 1960)
  • If you have any questions or concerns before coming to Downing, please contact the Admissions Officer, Kate Flint, who will pass your message on to the Director of Studies: