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What About Law?

What About LawBy Catherine Bernard, Janet O’Sullivan, Graham Virgo
Review by Rob M (Law)

What About Law? was the first law related book to join my bookshelf. At a time when university applications were beginning to emerge into the not too distant future, although I was interested by the idea of studying Law I wasn’t too sure what this would involve. Criminal Law is the picture most people have in their minds of a Law degree, yet this represents only one small part of what students in any university will consider. ‘What About Law’ therefore offers a gateway, breaking a Law degree down into its seven compulsory elements, considering notable cases from each and the legal principles which underpin them.

The book offers a flavour of what Law students can expect to grapple with in their day to day studies, be it a consideration of the rights squatters are entitled to, or a discussion of the authorities of the Houses of Parliament, the government and the Supreme Court. Importantly, however, the book tackles such issues in a logical and coherent way; legal jargon can often be very off-putting, particularly when approaching a subject for the first time, but through careful explanation the authors seek to put their ideas across plainly in an accessible way.

Nevertheless, in no way does What About Law oversimplify legal concepts and scenarios purely for us as readers; it offers an account of what the law is and invites us to consider what we, as individuals, think it should be. To what extent, for instance, should the law intervene to prevent people from inflicting harm upon others in the case where the harm was desired by the victims? Such questions have no straightforward answer, and it is only through the presentation of moral arguments and previous cases that the book attempts to come to some form of conclusion. What About Law therefore helped me to realise where my interests lie, my fascination with such legal problems affirming that Law as a subject of study was the right fit for me.”


Review by Nat (Law)

Interested in the different areas of law and how courts make their decisions? Look no further, because the best comprehensive guide to the study of law has been found. Catherine Barnard’s What About Law? offers an interesting insight into the nature of the law and provides both a simple and accessible presentation of how it operates within our society. If you are unsure about whether you are interested in studying the subject or not, this will hopefully help answer the hard-hitting question.

This book is both informative and useful, and is brilliant for anybody who at least has some degree of interest in what it would be like to take law to an undergraduate level. With its short sections, split into the various areas of law (e.g. tort, criminal), each chapter represents something completely new. Every section has its own “notable” case, one that has been brought into the public eye or has created one of the most fundamental principles of that area. Among these is the notorious Donoghue v Stevenson (known as “the snail in the bottle” case) – the legendary House of Lords decision that founded some of the fundamental principles of the tort of negligence. This short, expertly-written commentary is enough to actively stimulate your brain about some of the most pressing issues that come about in deciding cases.

I stumbled upon this book when deciding my university choices and I have to say that it did not disappoint. I found it both challenging and rewarding, in the sense that my thoughts were provoked in a way that kept me enthusiastic about the subject and allowed me to come to the decision of studying law. The book is easy to read and engage with, and I would recommend it to anybody considering their future prospects.

What About Law? by Catherine Bernard, Janet O’Sullivan, Graham Virgo
ISBN-10: 184946085X
ISBN-13: 9781849460859

Try checking the availability of this book at your school or local library or explore second hand bookshops and websites. You may also wish to purchase from either Amazon or Blackwell’s.

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