About the course
We teach the law that matters. We are ‘freer, more daring and more experimental’ than a traditional law school, so your legal education is relevant and responsive to the needs of a changing society. Our approach is global in outlook, based on justice, and engaged with real-world problems.
Our LLB Law provides you with a rigorous academic training in the discipline of law. We enable you to develop an approach to the discipline so that you can see each subject area as part of an integrated whole. We emphasise an awareness of the place of the law of England and Wales in its European and international frameworks.
You develop a critical awareness of the nature of law within its social, political and economic contexts. Not only will you learn legal rules, but you will also consider the function of law in society, the philosophy of law, policy issues and law reform. You learn to consider, evaluate and respond to alternative and, possibly, conflicting points of view.
You cover all the key areas of law, as well as a wide range of optional topics including:
- Investigating miscarriages of justice
- Music law and intellectual property law
- How judges are involved in the law
- Human rights
- The use of evidence
At Essex we specialise in commercial law, public law, and human rights law. We are top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014), and we are ranked among the top 200 departments on the planet according to the QS World [University] Rankings  for law.
Our law course allows you to develop your intellectual and critical faculties, encourage you to think independently and teach you to present rational, coherent and accurate arguments orally and in writing.
“The School of Law was excellent and the lecturers were all experts in their own areas of research, who made the course interesting, amusing and applicable to real life. Since graduating I have completed an accelerated LPC (Legal Practice Course) and began a training contract with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Without my degree, this would not have been possible and I think that, without the exceptional lecturers and incredible opportunities at Essex, I would not be where I am today.”
Catherine Dunmore, LLB Law, 2010
This qualifying law degree provides you with the knowledge and skills for a career in law, covering the academic stage of training for the legal profession in England and Wales.
This means that you can proceed to the Bar Professional Training Course (to become a barrister) or the Legal Practice Course (to become a solicitor), or make the next steps to a common law bar in Canada and other jurisdictions.
All our LLB courses are accredited by the Solicitors Regulation authority and the Bar Standards Board.
Your education extends beyond our University campus. We support you extending your education by offering you an additional year at no extra cost.
The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend your third year studying abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
We have exchange partners across Europe, in the United States, Canada and Australia.
When you arrive at Essex, you can decide whether you would like to combine your course with a placement year. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
Our expert staff
Our internationally diverse community of staff and students gives us a breadth of cross-cultural perspectives and insights into law and justice around the world.
This community, combined with opportunities to study abroad during your time with us, ensures you graduate with a genuine worldview and a network of international contacts.
- Volunteer at the Essex Law Clinic where you can work alongside practicing solicitors to offer legal advice to clients
- Gain commercial awareness at our Business and Legal Advice Clinic
- Work on key human rights projects at our Human Rights Clinic
- Participate in mooting competitions to develop your skills
- Test your mediation and negotiation skills in our Client Interviewing Competition
- Join our Model United Nations society, which can improve your skills of argumentation, oral presentation and research
- Network at our student-run Law Society, Human Rights Society, and Bar Society, which provides legal advice to the Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA)
- Our Essex Street Law project is one of the first of its kind and is the primary pro-bono project provided by our Law Society
- Peer mentors guide you through your first year
- Take advantage of networking opportunities throughout the year with visiting law firms
At Essex we don’t just prepare you for the legal profession. We stimulate your desire to pursue justice and equip you with the skills and knowledge to become an agent for change, whatever career path you choose.
From the start of your course, we challenge you to think deeply, broadly and strategically about career paths. Over the first two years, alongside law subjects, you will take a career management module designed to help you identify personal strengths and goals, understand what employers (both within and outside law) are looking for and enhance your employability profile.
We also hold an annual law fair, attended by law firms and vocational qualification providers. Our graduates pursue careers in the law and in a wide range of other sectors including business and commerce, accountancy, insurance, banking, central and local government, academia, teaching, social work and the police force.
Our mantra is: be realistically ambitious. This involves understanding yourself and the rapidly changing and increasingly competitive graduate jobs market. Throughout your time at Essex, advisors in our Employability and Careers Centre, working closely with colleagues in our School, are available to help you formulate your career plan.
Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.
Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.
What are the legal consequences of contract failure? How do you calculate damages? Examine key aspects of contract law. Identify legal issues in simulated case studies and learn to construct legal arguments. Apply legal principles and precedent cases to resolve simulated legal problems. Build the numerical skills to calculate damages.
You’ll be introduced to the fundamentals of the UK constitution and the foundations of judicial review, and will explore: the nature of the constitution; the structure of governmental power; the sources of constitutional rules; and the fundamental principles underpinning the UK constitution. You’ll also consider the functions of the three branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial) and how they are accountable, and will examine the framework for protection of human rights in the UK, and will be introduced to the grounds of judicial review.
How effective is criminal law? How do you break down a criminal law statute to its component parts? And how do you then interpret it? Understand criminal law in England and Wales. Read and critically analyse judicial decisions. Assess and answer factual problems, raising issues of criminal liability.
Understand fundamental features of the English legal system? Can you explain the meaning in a legal case? Do you cite legal/academic sources correctly? Examine the structure and role of legal institutions and professionals. Develop key skills for legal study, including group work, presenting information orally and researching legal materials.
What are the principles of contract formation? And what are the remedial consequences of breach of contract? Study key concepts in contract and tort, and how they are placed in the wider framework of the common law of obligations. Apply your knowledge to resolve legal problems in simulated cases.
What are the key features of property law? And what is the framework within which a property lawyer operates? Study the fundamental principles of the law of property in England and Wales. Satisfy the property law requirements of professional bodies if you wish to practise law in England and Wales.
What are the main skills expected of a law graduate? And what key personal factors will inform your career choice? Get ready for the opportunities and challenges of the graduate labour market. Undertake activities, workshops and session that help you develop, building your key skills and competencies.
Who is liable for causing psychiatric harm? Or for causing economic loss? Study the foundations of negligence liability, examining further aspects of tort law. Gain experience of applying the principles of negligence liability to duty-based scenarios. Read and critically analyse judicial decisions.
Want to satisfy the land law requirement of professional training? And become familiar with land law terminology? Study the framework within which a property lawyer operates. Examine modern legal tensions around the conveyancing process and social justice (eg protecting the “rights” of those who aren’t legal owners of the property).
When is it constitutionally justified to undertake judicial review? Examine judicial review challenges to the Secretary of State, local authorities and other bodies. Apply legal rules and principles to real-life situations, providing advice on the legality of action by public bodies. Communicate complex ideas effectively, orally and in writing.
What are the constitutional issues around the institutional structure of the EU? How has this changed with enlargement? Understand EU law to obtain a qualifying law degree. Examine the concepts of EU law and how different areas are connected. Analyse EU law within its political and socio-economic context.
What is meant by breach of trust? What are the constitutional elements of a fully constituted trust? How can that trust be terminated? Study the principles governing the law of trusts. Examine the development of equity, equitable principles and equitable remedies. Analyse social and legal contexts in which trusts arise.
What is the relationship between comparative law and the EU? What about the UN? Examine current theoretical debates to comparative law. Analyse the methodology available to conduct comparative research. Undertake a micro comparison on a particular legal topic, gaining experience of the concepts and methods through your own work.
Building on the classical and current debates on comparative law and its methodology, you will apply critical knowledge to a topic that you’ll identify. Seminars help you identify a topic, and determine a framework of analysis, and will enable you to present your research in class in order to obtain valuable feedback. You’ll also put into context the different frameworks of analysis, will structure a comparative legal analysis, and will acquire research skills in the field of comparative law.
This module incorporates a range of teaching activities, workshops and panel sessions that encourage you to take ownership of your personal and professional development in order to compete in the graduate labour market. You will be able to identify, articulate and evidence your employability skills, and will develop a critical understanding of your place in the world of work.
How do moral and political theories contribute to understanding of the law? Examine general legal theories alongside concepts of morality and knowledge. Undertake an in-depth study on a major aspect of law, focusing on topics like contract, tort and crime, and theoretical issues that shape legal liability.
Intellectual property consists of monopolies or exclusive rights which the law grants or recognises for the purposes of encouraging or rewarding inventive or creative effort, or of preventing unfair competition. In this module you’ll look closely at the law of copyright, trademarks, and patents.
What are the legal implications of family breakdown when the parties are married? Or when they are civil partners? How does this change if they have children? Examine key features of family law, including the protective function (relating to domestic violence), adjustment of property rights and responsibilities of family members.
Want to work as a team on real-life alleged miscarriages of justice? Under the supervision of academics, plus practicing solicitors, barrister and forensic scientists, investigate claims by alleged victims for wrongful convictions. Submit work to the Criminal Cases Review Commission so the case is referred to the Court of Appeal.
How do we define cybercrime? What further changes are needed to the law? Examine the historical development of law in this area, analysing key statutes and cases. Review regional and international frameworks, and how they interact with national criminal law. Critically assess the multiple discourses regulating cybercrime and the internet.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- For most modules, you attend two lectures a week and one fortnightly tutorial
- Tutorials provide the opportunity to discuss the law, apply the law to factual problems, and develop legal arguments
- Basic IT skills training is available and training in the use of LEXIS and WESTLAW (legal research tools) is also given
- You are encouraged to take part in moots (mock trials), negotiation competitions and other practical exercises
- Virtually all modules are assessed by a combination of written examination and coursework
- Examinations are held at the end of each academic year
- Your first year marks do not count towards your final degree classification
If you already have your results and want to apply for 2016 entry through Clearing, complete our Clearing application form
and we’ll get back in touch with you or give us a ring
to discuss your grades.
IELTS entry requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.