Law is both a fascinating and challenging subject. It affects every aspect of our daily lives. It is an ideal subject for someone with a logical mind, who likes research and attention to detail. AS/A2 Law generally is a very popular subject with both sixth form students who may be considering a career in law and also with more mature students who want to find out more about this intriguing subject.
This course is specifically written for the GCE Law (AQA) 2160. The new format of the examinations will come into force in January 2009 for AS level and 2010 for A2.
At AS level there are two units for the course and a further two units for A2 specification.
The AS examination may be taken as a stand alone qualification or followed by A2 to constitute a complete A Level.
For further details on the syllabus please visit the AQA website at www.aqa.org.uk and click on new GCE’s and law. On the site there are specimen papers, student guide and resources.
Challenges in learning Law
Law can be a challenging subject, it has its own terminology which has to be learned and new terminology is explained in a clear and logical manner throughout the course with appropriate references to the text book.
Also, learning case law can be challenging. Case law consists of cases previously decided in courts of Law. It is important that the facts of these cases are learned as they will have to be known for examinations. It is better to learn these as the course progresses.
The course is divided into two units as required by the AS syllabus. Each unit of the Course corresponds exactly to the requirements of the new syllabus. To ensure all required topics are covered each unit is divided into topic areas.
In each topic area there are some activities, some web based research, self assessment questions and tutor marked assignments. These are assignments you prepare and submit to your tutor for marking. There are ten assignments (10) in all for AS (Assignments A–J)
Each topic area will state the aims to be achieved and what you can expect to know at the end of the topic AS LAW
The plan for Unit 1 of the course is as follows:
1. Introduction to law – considers what Law is, different types of law and how to study law
2. Parliamentary law making – looking at Acts of Parliament
3. Delegated legislation
4. Statutory interpretation – the wording of Acts of Parliament
5. Judicial precedent – considering how judges make law in Courts
6. The Civil Courts and other forms of dispute Resolution – how an action is brought in County Court
7. Criminal Courts and Lay people – looking at Magistrates and Juries
8. Legal profession and other sources f advice and funding. The Judiciary – considering training of solicitors, barristers and judges.
1. Criminal Liability – Actus Reus, mens rea and intention – what constitutes a crime?
2. Common Assault, Assault and battery, Offences against the person and strict liability
3. The Criminal Courts: – Magistrates Court and Crown Court, types of offences
4. Trial procedure, bail, the plea. Outline of evidence, burden of proof
5. Sentencing aims – what is the purpose of sanctions and imprisonment in criminal matters?
6. Introduction to Tort –negligence, duty of care, breach of duty and damages
7. The Civil Courts, trial procedure. The three track procedures, Alternative Dispute resolution, evidential issues
8. An introduction to Law of contract – formation and breach of Contract – looking at contracts which are made everyday.
You will need a text book to assist you throughout the course. The recommended text book for AS is AS Law by Bobby Vanstone, Mary Charman and Liz Sherratt published by Willan. At the time of writing there is not a specific book published for the new format of the examinations but no doubt these will be available later. The text book is an essential part of this course and will be referred to throughout the course. The text book contains useful activities and specimen papers
There is no course work required for this course and assessment is by examination for each unit as follows:
The method of assessment for this examination is by way of one written paper of One hour thirty minutes. The weighting for this paper is 50% of total AS or 25% of total A Level marks.
In the examination, candidates must answer three questions from eight, one from Section A - Law making, one from Section B - The Legal system, and one from either section. Each question is in three parts and the complete question must be answered. Each part of the question is worth 10 marks, totalling 30 marks for the whole question. Total marks available are 95% which include 5% for good use of vocabulary including legal terminology and presentation and quality of written communication.
For Unit 2, assessment is by way of a written paper of One hour 30 minutes.
Candidates are required to answer two multi - part questions based on problem scenarios. There is a compulsory question from Section A and the other question may be taken from either Section B or Section C. Each section has a maximum of 45 marks. There is an additional 5 marks available for quality of written communication (QWC)
For A2 the syllabus specification further develops knowledge of the English Legal system and of substantive law through both criminal and civil law.
Again, the course is divided into the two required units; 3 and 4. The course is then divided into topic areas which closely follows the syllabus requirements as in the AS course.
In each topic area there are some activities, some web based research, self assessment questions and tutor marked assignments. These are assignments you prepare and submit to your tutor for marking. There are twelve assignments in all for A2 (Assignments 1 -12)
Each topic area will state the aims to be achieved and what you can expect to know at the end of the topic.
For unit 3 there is a choice of Criminal Law or Contract Law. Although in the examination you are you only required to cover one area, either criminal law or contract, you might like to study both areas and then decide which to specialise in. Alternatively if you are fast tracking you may wish to cover one area.
Challenges in learning A2 Law
The biggest difficulty is the required learning of the many cases. The course makes suggestions for learning these and explains cases in a straightforward way.
Section A: Criminal Law
1. Murder - the mens rea and actus reus – mental intent and physical act of committing the crime
2. Voluntary Manslaughter, Involuntary manslaughter looking at these crimes
Assignment 1 – Tutor Marked Assignment
3. Non-fatal offences against the person
Assignment 2 - Tutor Marked Assignment
4. Defences for all the above offences.
5. Evaluation of offences
Assignment 3 - Tutor Marked Assignment
Section B: Contract Law
1. Formation of a valid contract, offer, acceptance consideration
2. Contract Terms - the difference between warranties and conditions
Assignment 4 - Tutor Marked Assignment
3. Vitiating Factors – and misrepresentation
4. Other matters affecting enforceability of contract.
5. Introduction to consumer law
Assignment 5 - Tutor Marked Assignment
6. Discharge of contract – how a contract comes to an end.
7. Remedies - if there is a breach of contract, what compensation can be obtained. Evaluation of contracts
Assignment 6 - Tutor Marked Assignment
Examination –Unit 3
Assessment is by way of a written paper of One hour 30 minutes in length. Candidates have to answer one three part question on either Criminal Law or Contract law. Each part of the question is worth 25 marks. 5 additional marks are available for QWC. The weighting is 50% of total A2 or 25% of total A Level marks.
Section A: Criminal Law – offences against property
1. Theft and robbery, looking at the Theft Act 1968 and subsequent legislation
2. Burglary, Blackmail – looking at the elements of these crimes.
Assignment 7 - Tutor Marked Assignment
4. Making off without payment – evasion of paying a restaurant bill, or taxi fare!
5. Criminal damage- damage caused to someone else’s property.
6. Defences – when these can be pleaded – looking at cases.
Assignment 8 - Tutor Marked Assignment
Section B: Law of Tort
7. Negligence, duty of care, breach of duty and damages
8. Occupiers liability – every property owner has a duty to keep premises safe
Assignment 9 - Tutor Marked Assignment
9. Nuisance and escape of dangerous things – the case of Rylands v Fletcher
10. Vicarious liability – the liability of an employer for actions committed by an employee.
11. Defences to torts- contributory negligence
12. Remedies in the Courts – how damages are assessed
Assignment 10 - Tutor Marked Assignment
Section C: Concepts of Law
13. Law and Morals - Is there an overlap?
14. Law and Justice
Assignment 11- Tutor Marked Assignment
15. Judicial Creativity – can judges choose which court precedents to follow
16. Fault –criminal and civil liability
17. Balancing conflicting interests.
Assignment 12 - Tutor Marked Assignment
Examination – Unit 4
Assessment is by way of a written paper of 2 hours duration. Candidates must answer one two part question on either Criminal Law or the Law of Tort, and one essay question on Concepts of Law. Sections A and B are worth 50 marks, Section C carries 30 marks. There are up to 5 additional marks available for quality of written communication. TOTAL marks 85. This examination is available in June only.
Textbooks – A2
Recommended text books for unit 3 and 4
AQA Law for A2 – Jacqueline Martin, published by Hodder Arnold 2007
Criminal Law for A2 Jacqueline Martin, published by Hodder Arnold
Key Facts: Criminal Law Chris Turner, published by Hodder Arnold
For Contract Law – Unlocking Contract Law (second edition) – Chris Turner, published by Hodder Arnold or
Contract Law (fourth edition) Mary Charman – Willan Publishing.