Taking up a law degree in the UK

pexels-photo-261658.jpeg

A law degree, as you probably already know, is not one of those unique and creative jobs that you may find your friends trying to pursue because instead, you are stuck most of the time in an office, studying legal files, racking your brain to find solutions, and doing all of the above by wearing tight, uncomfortable suits.

However…though it is one of the mainstream high competition job sectors along with ones such as doctors and engineers, law degrees are more sought after today than they ever were and this is mainly because of the recent changes to the UK political structure brought about by decisions like Brexit which requires in theory, for the whole of the constitution to be rewritten!

So if you are considering taking up a law degree, you should also understand which type of law degree suits you best since the types vary depending on the country you live in but today, as I am only focusing on the UK, I will leave the others for later. Here, we have an LLB or a Bachelor of Law degree which leads you onto passing the national bar examinations so that you can become a practicing solicitor or barrister and usually, they entail compulsory core courses in the first years of university but as you advance through the years, you gain increasing opportunities to choose your courses, tailoring them to a specific career path.

Moreover, the teaching of these courses is done in a similar way to that of any other university course via lectures, seminars, presentations, assignments but also in ways which are unique to law courses i.e. mooting which is an oral presentation of a legal case with the opposing counsel in front of a judge. Though this may sound like a mock trial, it is quite different as this focuses predominantly on the speech and delivery of the case to the judge questioning the legal aspects of it thus assuming the evidence has been submitted and analysed as a pose to a mock trial which requires the explanation and introduction of evidence along with all procedures that take place during a real trial.

Furthermore, studying a law degree triggers a vital set of skills which are helpful in all career paths such as:

+ Knowledge of legal matters, policy, theories and case studies

+ Understanding of contemporary business, politics, sociology and ethics

+  Professional expertise in law, including command of technical language

+  Ability to draft legal documents

+  Ability to understand complex issues from multiple perspectives in order to “see the

bigger picture”

+  Ability to construct and defend an argument persuasively

+  Excellent professional communication skills, spoken and written, including

presentation skills.

+  Self-management and organisation, including planning and meeting deadlines

+  Interpersonal and teamwork skills

+  Analytical and reasoning skills

+  Problem solving skills

In addition, doing a law degree will mean that your status and respect in employers’ eyes will be much greater because law is one of the most traditional professions to venture into and even if the sector is really saturated with millions of people trying to pursue law, every single business and profession out there requires some expertise on law meaning that the demand for lawyers is still extremely high.

Finally, the best thing is that lawyers are also usually paid a hefty sum where postgraduates with one to five years of experience can expect to earn around the £55,000 mark and those with around 10 years of law practising experience can expect a £100,000 annual salary!! So if you have an interest in law and want to live a comfortable lifestyle, then you definitely should apply for a law degree at university.

Classifications of Crime

pexels-photo-613508.jpeg

We hear people being convicted of crimes daily from sources such as the news, to social media and twitter but a lot of the technical words the reporters seem to say about the crime just sound like gibberish! So, in order to understand the criminal system, we need to first look at the different classifications of a crime and into which segment they fit into…

Criminal Vs Civil:

In our legal system, an event or action is considered a crime if it has taken place against the state i.e. breaking any laws and is therefore prosecuted by the state itself but civil cases, are usually to do with disputes between individuals over duties they owe each other for example a breach of contract. Further differences include:

1.      Both types of cases entail different types of punishment if the defendant is found guilty because whilst a civil case will only result in monetary damages towards the other individual, criminal cases can result in severe jail time as well as monetary damages for minor offences since they deal with more severe issues like murder or manslaughter.

2.      Leading on to this, the evidence required to prove the defendant guilty also varies between both types where Criminal cases are required to prove the defendant as being guilty “beyond reasonable doubt” meaning that all the proof clearly points to the fact that they are guilty. However, a Civil case requires a lesser standard of detail when it comes to proof as Civil liability is often viewed as less blameworthy compared to Criminal liability meaning that there is enough evidence to show the offence was more likely to be committed as opposed to not being committed (preponderance of evidence).

3.     Criminal cases almost always allow a trial by jury but Civil cases do allow juries in some instances, but many civil cases will be decided by a judge

Indictable offences:

These type of crimes are usually the most serious and most dangerous consisting of offences such as murder, robbery, rape,  conspiracy etc. and almost always goes straight to the Crown court which deals with criminal cases in the UK and the granting of bail if necessary. There, a jury is required that will decide if the defendant is guilty or not, along with a judge who will decide the sentence of the person found guilty: i.e. length of imprisonment.  

Summary offences:

These are the less serious an more regular crimes which go straight to the Magistrates Court and include many civil cases. The type of offences it deals with are :

·         most motoring offences

·         minor criminal damage

·         being drunk and disorderly

·         burglary

·         drugs offences

·         assault

If found guilty, the court can give you a prison sentence of a maximum 6 months (though they are usually lower), a fine of up to £5,000 or a community sentence to do unpaid community service, however, the prosecution has to be started within 6 months of the offence being committed.