Why It Has Never Been a Better Time to Study Law – Dr Russell Sandberg

The Leave vote won the EU Referendum - now for the UK to leave the EU (Brexit) it has to sign Article 50 of The Lisbon Treaty - mocked up here with a pen

Law students are used to seeing topics they study appear in the media. Almost every item on nightly news bulletins has a legal dimension and where would most TV dramas be without the big courtroom scene? However, this has become even more common following the result of the Referendum on membership of the European Union. Whatever form Brexit takes, it will have an important legal dimension requiring the meticulous unpicking of complex overlapping laws, the scale of which was underlined by recent academic research.

The legal dimension of Brexit was highlighted, of course, by the High Court’s decision in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin). The High Court held that the Government had no power under the Royal Prerogative to invoke Article 50 without Parliamentary approval. The decision underscored how the Government must operate under the Law and the way in which Law is used to determine questions of the utmost constitutional importance.

In the aftermath of the Referendum result, the study of Law has rarely been more topical or more important. Studying Law always has a real life dimension. Law is extensive; it covers almost every aspect of everyone’s life. The receipt in your pocket and your contract of employment are both everyday examples of contract law, for instance.

Moreover, studying Law brings us into contact with the controversial topics of the day. The Law syllabus is constantly being rewritten as a result of the enactment of new laws by Parliament and the decisions of courts and tribunals up and down the land.  This also means that Law is diverse:  there is something for everyone given the different areas of Law, whether you are more interested in commerce and finance or human rights and the environment.

Studying Law not only allows students to understand what the Law is today but also how it has developed and how it is likely to develop. It equips them to master the detail of provisions and their real life application as well as the broader context in which the Law operates. The study of Law not only produces better informed citizens but develops a range of important skills such as mastering long and complex documents, the close analysis of texts, questioning the reliability of sources and being able to think on your feet, to name just a few.

A Law degree therefore opens doors to a range of careers. Indeed, a survey in 500 employers in the UK in early 2016 asked what degree they would prefer their employees to have. Law came top of the list with employers rating the ‘aptitude for learning’, communication and leadership skills that Law graduates have.

In an increasingly uncertain job market, having a Law degree clearly makes you stand out. And this is especially true of a Law degree from Cardiff University. At Cardiff, in order to equip our students with the skills that they will need in order to prosper in a range of jobs both legal and non-legal we provide them with experience of ‘Law in the Real World’.

In the next couple of weeks we will be publishing further blog-posts explaining how we focus on ‘Law in the Real World’ by placing emphasis upon both research and employability.

If you want to understand the society in which you live, the major issues that shape the life of the nation and how this affects everyday life then the study of Law is for you. If you are concerned about injustices and inequalities, the global context in which we live and way in which we respond to social and political change, then studying Law in the Real World at Cardiff is for you.

The current climate shows how studying Law is more important, topical and exciting than ever. If you want to be part of that adventure, apply to study with us from 2017-2018. Further information about our undergraduate and postgraduate courses is available online and you can email any queries to lawpladmissions@cardiff.ac.uk

Dr Russell Sandberg is Head of Law and Reader in Law at the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University.