A law tutorial with Dr Aileen Kavanagh
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Law

The Faculty of Law in the University of Oxford is one of the largest in the United Kingdom and is home to a highly international legal community. Visiting Students at St Edmund Hall can select from the courses listed below and may choose Law as both their primary and secondary course in a given term, or may wish to combine a primary course or a secondary course in Law with another subject.

In Oxford, the courses in Criminal Law and Constitutional Law are studied in the first year of a Law degree, and are therefore suitable, in principle at least, for people who have no prior experience of the study of Law. But Contract Law and Jurisprudence are studied in Oxford only by people who have completed their first year of Law study, and for this reason will not normally be suitable for applicants who are new to the law.

Availability of courses may vary according to term of study. The exact content of your courses will be decided in consultation with your tutor at St Edmund Hall and may depend on what teaching resources are available at the time. 

The Law of ContractNot usually available to those who have not studied Law before. The course covers the general principles of the law governing enforceable agreements. It is not concerned with special rules governing specific types of contracts, such as sale, carriage or employment, except where these are significant for an understanding of the general principles. The principal topics normally discussed are: (a) the rules relating to the formation of agreements and to certain further requirements which must be satisfied to make agreements legally enforceable; (b) the contents of a contract and the rules governing the validity of terms which exclude or restrict liability and unfair terms in consumer contracts; (c) the nature and effects in a contractual context of mistake, misrepresentation, duress and undue influence; (d) the general principle that right and duties arising under a contract can only be enforced by and against the parties to it and its main exceptions; (e) performance and breach, including the right to terminate for failure in performance and the effects of wrongful repudiation; (f) supervening events as a ground of discharge under the doctrine of frustration; (g) remedies for breach of contract by way of damages, action for the agreed sum, specific performance and injunction. (h) the basis of contractual liability.. 
Criminal LawUsually available to those who have not studied Law before. The course deals with the following: (i) General principles of criminal liability: actus reus and mens rea, omissions, causation, negligence, strict liability, complicity and inchoate offences. (ii) General defences. (iii) The law relating to offences against the person (including sexual offences) and offences against property and other economic interests.In more detail, the subject comprises the following topics:

1. General principles of criminal liability: actus reus (including liability for omissions); mens rea (including different kinds of fault, such as intention, negligence, strict liability); causation.

2. General defences to criminal liability.

3. Liability as a party to a crime, including participation as a principal and secondary participation (including ‘joint enterprise’).

4. Liability for the inchoate offences of statutory conspiracy, attempt and the offences created by sections 44, 45 and 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.

5. Liability for the following kinds of homicide: murder; manslaughter (excluding corporate manslaughter). The course does not examine infanticide or the encouraging or assisting of suicide.

6. Liability for the offences created by sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

7. Liability for the following offences: common assault and common battery; the offences created by the following sections of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861: 16, 18, 20, 23, 24, 47.

8. Liability for the following offences: the offences created by the Criminal Damage Act 1971 sections 1-3; the offences created by the Theft Act 1968, sections 1, 8 and 9; and the offences created by the Fraud Act 2006, sections 1-4. 
Constitutional LawUsually available to those who have not studied Law before. This course covers the law of the constitution, including the structure and basic principles of the British constitution, and the impact of European Union law on the constitution. It also provides an introduction to the protection of human rights in English law. It covers: Structure of constitutional law: the separation of powers, the role of the courts, the powers of the executive (including prerogative powers), devolution (to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the supremacy of European Community Law as it relates to national law, and the European principle of state liability. General principles: constitutional conventions (including ministerial accountability), parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law. Human rights: the structure and effect of the Human Rights Act 1998 (focusing in particular on its impact on parliamentary sovereignty and the judicial role); the application of the Human Rights Act 1998.

It is intended the course should result in familiarity with the structures and underlying principles of the British constitution, and the impact of EU Law on the constitution: as may be predicted, this last is a rather tricky aim!
JurisprudenceNot usually available to students who have not studied Law or Philosophy before. Jurisprudence is the philosophy of law. In studying it you will learn to reflect in a disciplined and critical way on the nature, role, and importance, of legal systems, legal reasoning, and legal institutions, often using examples from other parts of your law studies.