Books you can read to prep you for your law degree (or if you want to read more about the law)
I’m sure you are all in the same boat as me when it comes to trying to fill up your spare time. Well, I thought I’d recommend some books that I think are a good read and will help put you into the mindset of a law student.
1. Letters to a Law Student – Nicholas J McBride
This book is written by a professor at Oxford. It consists of 20 letters a law teacher has written to students who are considering studying law. It would be worth your while reading the whole book but there are some chapters that will no longer be relevant to you in journey. He talks about differentiating between studying law at different universities and how to decide which one takes the best approach that suits you. He talks about how to effectively read and remember cases, articles and statutes, alongside a lot of other tips that can be useful to be aware of before starting your degree. Funnily enough, the professor who writes this textbook is the author of one of the textbooks I had to read in my first year.
Its also available as a PDF online which is just the cherry on top.
2. What about the Law? – Catherine Barnard, Janet O’Sullivan and Graham Virgo
In this book the author goes through some of the most iconic cases in English law. The book starts with R v Brown (I spoke about this in my previous blog) which establishes the rules of consent. The author then goes on to contract law and explain the formation of a contract, essentially, every time you buy something from the shop you are creating a contract.
The good thing about this book is that it summarises and simplifies key cases ranging from criminal law to public law. It provides you with a basic understanding and allows you to ponder on how English law has developed.
3. Is eating people wrong? Great legal cases and how they shaped the world? – Allan Hutchinson
This book is like the one above. This book talks about one of the cases I previously wrote about. The great thing about this book is that it talks about all the interesting cases that happen throughout the decades and are important.
Realistically, I would say there’s not much point in reading both ‘What about the Law?’ and ‘Is eating people wrong?’ because essentially, they talk about the same things. However, there is nothing wrong with reading both because it will allow you to understand cases from different perspectives. A skill which is crucial for a law student.
4. Stories of the law and how it’s been broken – The secret Barrister
This book is not about what the title sounds like. The author discusses times where the legal system fails to protect and fulfil its purpose. The book follows the life of a case. It has first-hand accounts of the author acting for the defence and the prosecution. It argues that there has not been enough money given to the criminal system which means it has failed people continuously.
“We weren’t sure whether to believe the defendant or the complainant. We find the defendant guilty.”
“If in so doing, I help to secure the acquittal of someone who is in fact guilty, or the conviction of someone who may be innocent, that is frankly not my professional concern.”
“For me, the lesson of history is that the state alone cannot be trusted to find the truth.”
5. Eve was framed: How British Justice is Failing Women – Helena Kennedy
This book is iconic. Kennedy highlights the systemic racism and sexism in the legal system throughout the years and how this disproportionality affects people of colour. She talks about how poverty plays a role in crime committed by women, but it is not a mitigating factor in court. She then goes on to talk about the double oppression faced by black women. Kennedy says the reason the English legal system punishes black women is because they have a strong sense of matriarchal structures. This is seen as a threat by the white patriarchal system because they fear the matriarchal structure.
I would recommend you read this blog on the book which discusses some of the important issues: https://louisepennington.org/helena-kennedys-eve-was-framed-women-and-british-justice-2/
“we have equal legal rights to spend real time with our families, where there really is equal pay, where the pressures of the long-hours culture are removed, where pay in the caring professions was made so rewarding that it did not invariably fall to women to look after the elderly, the disabled or children in nurseries, nor that teaching in primary schools was a female role.”
These are just some great books that I think you can read but if you want some more recommendations feel free to drop me a message.
Picture from: https://ebookfriendly.com/best-read-posters/