Jurisprudence is one of the compulsory standard subjects within the Final Honour School syllabus. It is, however, taught and examined in a distinctive way (see below).

Jurisprudence, in the sense relevant to this subject, 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. By choosing a suitable ‘mini-option’ (see below) you could also examine the philosophy of a particular area of law such as criminal law or tort law.

Teaching: In the second year of the Final Honour School your Jurisprudence teaching will be as follows:

(i) Core topics:   You will have six tutorials covering some core topics in philosophy of law, in the traditional way.

(ii) Mini option: You will then choose a mini-option from a list that the teaching group will provide. The mini-options will be taught in classes and you will not necessarily be taught by the same person who was your tutor for the core topics.

Authoritative guidance on the range of topics in the core will be issued in Michaelmas Term, together with an indicative list of mini-options. You will choose your mini-option from a finalized list in HT or TT of your second year, when you are studying Jurisprudence (all Jurisprudence tutorials take place in HT and/or TT of the second year).


Core topics: your Jurisprudence unseen written examination (at the end of your final year) will take a new form. Instead of our traditional finals paper taking three hours and requiring you to answer three out of sixteen questions, your finals paper will take two hours and will require you to answer two out of ten questions. This examination paper will cover only core topics on the tutorial syllabus.

 Mini option: your mini-option will be examined by an essay that you must write in your own time during the summer vacation at the end of your second year (this applies to Law with Law Studies in Europe students too). You will be provided near the end of TT with a list of questions arising from your mini-option and you will choose one to answer. The essay writing will be unsupervised. However guidance on what is expected will be given, including one or more classes on how to write an essay for assessment.

 Arrangements for lectures and other teaching will be explained in full during the course.