skip to content

Law at Cambridge

The undergraduate Law Degree at Cambridge is intended to give a thorough grounding in the principles of Law viewed from an academic rather than a vocational perspective. The emphasis is on principle and technique, reasoning, and explanation. There are opportunities to study the history of Law, and to consider the subject in its wider social context. Although most undergraduates who study Law do so with the intention of practising, the course also provides an excellent broad education for those who do not.

The Cambridge degree in Law leads to a BA but is, in all respects, equivalent to an LLB elsewhere in that it is recognised as a 'qualifying law degree': it enables graduates to go directly to the relevant professional training, whether as a solicitor or barrister (see the list of qualifying law degrees on the Solicitors Regulation Authority website, and note also the reforms proposed here.

It is possible for a student to switch to Law after successfully completing the first part of another degree at Cambridge, for example, History, Natural Sciences, or Economics. Such students spend two years on their Law course. Such a switch is usually conditional on excellent grades in the other subject. Any such interested students should consult the Law Directors of Studies in the first instance.

Law at Sidney

Sidney Sussex College is an outstanding academic community in which to study law. The College provides a warm and supportive environment coupled with dedicated supervision teaching, and has produced eminent judges and practitioners for the past four hundred years.

We strongly encourage applications from all students with an interest in studying Law at Cambridge, from any educational background, from anywhere in the UK and anywhere in the world, including from schools that have never before sent students to Cambridge. The College has at any time about 20 undergraduates studying law, and there is also a substantial body of graduate students reading for the LL.M. and Ph.D.

In selecting those who are made an offer of admission, the College looks only for academic strength: logical thinking, talent in written and oral exposition, and the capacity for sustained academic work. We look for evidence of such qualities in the educational record of applicants, in admissions interviews, and in the Cambridge Law Test.

Equally, we realise that many applicants will not have the opportunity to undertake placements in law firms or the equivalent before applying: such placements are not in any way an admissions requirement. We encourage applications both from those intending to be practicing lawyers and from those with other plans.

Prospective applicants may find it useful to read a serious newspaper (many of which are available largely for free online: for example The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The New York Times), paying particular attention to those stories that have a legal angle. Applicants could also consider reading one of the following books in advance:

▪   Letters to a Law Student (3rd ed., 2013) by NJ McBride;

▪   What about Law? Studying Law at University (2nd ed., 2011) by C Barnard, J O'Sullivan, and G Virgo.

It would also be sensible to consider the information posted on the dedicated Faculty of Law BA admissions website:

And the Faculty’s admissions blog:

Sidney Sussex Law Society

All undergraduate and postgraduate students studying Law at Sidney are members of the Sidney Sussex Law Society. The Society exists to promote the flourishing of the law student community in Sidney, and ensure that it continues to be a friendly and inclusive place for everyone. 

A variety of events are organised throughout the year, including:

-      Social events, including welcome drinks, subject dinners, and end-of-year garden parties;

-      Talks, workshops, and dinners organised by solicitor firms;

-      An internal mooting competition in Lent term for undergraduate students in first, second, and third year, with the final moot kindly sponsored and judged by Henderson Chambers;

-      A trip to London in Easter term to attend the distinguished Thornely Society Annual Lecture in London; and

-      The black-tie Annual Dinner in April, where the members of the Society dine with various law firms, and host a new distinguished guest speaker each year.

The Thornely Society

Sidney has a long tradition of excellence in the teaching of Law which is inextricably linked with John Thornely.  John Thornely was the first lawyer to be elected a Fellow of Sidney when the College began to expand its teaching during the post-war period.  He was called to the Bar in 1947 and in 1948 began his teaching career in Cambridge as an assistant lecturer in Law.  This began a long and distinguished career at Sidney, lasting for over 50 years.

The Thornely Society exists to honour the memory of John Thornely by supporting many aspects of Law at Sidney, including academic events and also social events.  This provides an opportunity for Sidney alumni who read Law at Cambridge or have since qualified as lawyers to maintain and develop their links with each other and the College. You can see reports from some of our past events.

The Society is currently chaired by Professor Kenneth Armstrong, who is a College Fellow and Professor in the Faculty of Law.

The Thornely Society provides very significant support for Law in Sidney, including funding two Fellowships and student bursaries.

Hear from a student... 

     In first year you will study four topics: Constitutional, Tort, Criminal and Civil (or Roman) law. You will have lectures on all of these, and one supervision on each subject per fortnight (two per week). I found constitutional law to be an especially engaging subject, as cases revolving around Brexit in the news were directly relevant to my course.

Sidney has a strong Law community and we are lucky enough to have our own Law library. Pretty much most (if not all) of the books you will need in first year can be found there, and if not in the Squire Law library at the Faculty.

Megan Humphreys, Law undergradute at Sidney

Overall, my best piece of advice would be to come to Cambridge with an open mind. Cambridge is a wonderful place; full of amazing people and talents - try something new even if you only do it for a few weeks. 

Megan Humphreys, Sidney Law undergraduate


Directors of Studies (DoS) and Fellows

Mr Henry Mares supervises Criminal Law and Jurisprudence (legal philosophy) for the College, and lectures in Criminal Procedure and Evidence, and in Legal History, for the Faculty of Law. He is a Thornely Fellow in Law.

Dr Fernando Lusa Bordin supervises Tort Law and International Law for the College, and lectures International Law for the Faculty of Law. He is also Director of Studies for Part IB and the LLM. He is a Thornely Fellow in Law.


Professor Kenneth Armstrong supervises European Union Law for the College, and is Professor of European Union Law in the University.

Dr Fernando Lusa Bordin 

Professor Sir Alan Dashwood is Emeritus Professor of European Union Law.

Professor Paul McHugh supervises Land Law for the College, and is Professor of Law & Legal History in the University.

Mr Henry Mares 

Dr Jillaine Seymour was a Thornely Fellow in Law, and is now Director of Development in the College.

All of our undergraduate students are allocated a Director of Studies and learn from specialists in particular areas of their subject. From time to time, individual teaching staff may be away on leave.

Typical Intake

5 - 8

Standard Entry Requirements

Offers based on A-Levels are made in a range from A*AA to A*A*A*

41-43 points in the IB, with 776 to 777 at Higher Level

Please see the University website for standard entry requirements in other qualifications.

Please note that offers are set on an individual basis using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

A previous knowledge of law is neither required nor preferred, and many successful applicants have never studied the subject before. The University provides guidance on subject choice here.

Admissions Process

Written work

We will not ask you to submit any written work as part of your application.

Admissions Assessments

At-interview assessment. Read more about the admissions assessment on the University website.


Those applicants interviewed in Cambridge will have two interviews, both focused on Law. Applicants may be asked to read some provided material for about 30 minutes before one of the interviews.

Find out more

Faculty of Law website

University website Law course page 

Skype interviews may be considered for international applicants on a case-by-case basis in certain subjects. If you wish to enquire further, please contact the Admissions Office (