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We look forward very much to welcoming first-year students to our undergraduate programme in October 2020. The following information is intended to provide guidance as to the intended shape of the academic year for first-year Law students who are joining the three-year Law Tripos programme, given the changes that have had to be made in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to monitor and respond to the changing public health situation, and will be adding to or, if necessary, amending the information on this page as the summer progresses.

Teaching

All first-year Law students take Part IA of the Law Tripos. This involves studying Civil Law I, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, the Law of Tort, and Legal Skills and Methodology. This will continue to be the case in 2020–21, and our teaching will continue to be delivered through a blend of lectures and supervisions (and, in the case of Legal Skills and Methodology, workshops).

Lectures in Civil Law I, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and the Law of Tort will be recorded. These recordings will be made available online in blocks ahead of the relevant supervisions so that students will be able to view the lectures before undertaking the work for the relevant supervision . Opportunities will be made available, whether through online discussion fora or otherwise, for students to ask questions of lecturers, just as, in normal circumstances, students are able to ask questions of lecturers at the end of each lecture.

Supervisions are organised by Colleges, and each College will share information about the arrangements for supervisions in 2020–21 in due course. However, supervisions will continue for the most part as normal: it is expected that the same number of supervisions as usual will be given over the course of the academic year, and that supervisions will continue to afford opportunities for highly interactive teaching with typically two to four students per supervision group. Supervisions will be delivered in-person where this is safe and feasible (with all public health advice adhered to) and will otherwise be delivered via an online video conferencing platform.

Library and resources

The Squire Law Library’s team is working to ensure that all the elements of library provision will be in place and ready for the new academic year. The Library responded to the challenges of the recent Covid-19 lockdown by placing a stronger emphasis on electronic services to allow students to access resources remotely and at their convenience. Our aim will be to continue with that approach by strengthening and re-balancing our resources as much as possible to take advantage of the many online options whilst retaining physical publications in the Squire – books, journals, law reports, etc – for those who prefer to use and work with the print copies. The Library and the Faculty are working closely together to ensure a safe re-opening of the physical library within the David Williams Building observing the social distancing rules and creating a safe and healthy environment for students who wish to visit and use the study areas and facilities across the three floors of the library.

Assessment

Provided that University approval has by then been obtained, the Faculty expects to be able to announce its assessment plans for 2020–21 by the beginning of Michaelmas Term. In 2019–20, all Law students undertook online examinations on which the Faculty has received very positive student feedback. The Faculty is now in the process of considering the most appropriate way of delivering assessment in 2020–21 with a view to adopting a fair and academically robust assessment model that will be resilient in the face of potentially rapidly changing public health circumstances during the course of the academic year.

Questions and concerns

If you have concerns about travel arrangements, or about increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, or disabilities impacted by COVID-19, please refer to the University’s advice on exceptional circumstances and its Covid-19-related information concerning disability and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases. You may also find it helpful to consult the University’s Covid-related advice for offer holders and prospective students. If you are joining the Law Faculty’s undergraduate programme in 2020–21 and have particular questions about the implications of the pandemic for the delivery of teaching in the Law Tripos, please contact your College in the first instance. Colleges will, if necessary, be able to seek advice from or pass queries to the Faculty.