First Year Law- A Breakdown Based On My Experience (Part 2)
Hello and welcome back offer holders and anyone interested in first year law at Warwick! Today I will be breaking down the remaining three core modules that Law students study in first year- Tort Law and Property Law were covered in part 1 (which can be found here for those of you that missed it: https://our.warwick.ac.uk/first-year-law-a-breakdown-based-on-my-experience-part-1/) whilst Criminal Law, Legal Theory and MELS (the Modern English Legal System) will be covered now in part 2!
Criminal Law is probably the module you have actually heard about before- do the words ‘mens rea’ or ‘actus reus’ sound familiar? I, for one, had been hearing these two terms from other aspiring lawyers at many legal events that I attended before I was at university; however it wasn’t until I actually started studying criminal law that I understood what they meant. In simpler words, these translate to ‘guilty mind’ and ‘guilty act’, which are factors considered in court when it is being determined whether someone has criminal liability (responsibility for a crime). An interesting case to look at is R v White, which involved a son who poisoned his mother but was not the cause of her death (since she died of a heart attack rather than the poison and so he was liable only for ‘attempted murder’ rather than ‘murder’). This case established the famous ‘but for’ test (‘but for the actions of the defendant, would the result have occurred?’) that you will learn about at the very beginning of Criminal Law! Here are some links to the Criminal Law webpages if you want more information: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/modules/undergraduate/la/la104/
INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL THEORY
It’s all in the name- Legal Theory is about the different theories that can be applied to the law; it is about the “impact of political, moral and social theories on ways of thinking about law” (so it’s more about the philosophy behind the law than case law and covers theories such as natural law, legal positivism and more). The assessment method for this module is an essay rather than an exam, so the module involves quite a lot of research about different theories and the law. Here is the webpage for Introduction to Legal Theory if you want more information:
THE MODERN ENGLISH LEGAL SYSTEM (MELS)
Finally, MELS! MELS is all about introducing you to the English legal system and giving you an “understanding of legal rhetoric, how to make an argument and essay writing”. This is the only module in first year where you are assigned groups (also known as ‘pods’) and much of your work for your seminars includes groupwork. Again, this is assessed not by exam but by a portfolio (which includes an essay, a reflection, and a judgement). My favourite part of this module was writing a reflection on a court visit since it required actually going to court and paying attention to things you may have usually ignored! Here are the webpages for MELS if you want more information:
This ends the breakdown of the first year Law modules at Warwick- I hope it gave many of you a useful insight into first year Law- as always, let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I will get back to you as soon as possible!