11 things you’ll only understand if you study law at the University of Oxford

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Are you your college’s textbook snake?

Image credit: Instagram (@kevin_prus_11)

To many, studying at Oxford is a faraway pipedream — but for those at its prestigious law school there are plenty of inside jokes to be had. One such student shares 11 things you’ll only understand if you study at the University of Oxford.

1. There is no degree called ‘law’ at Oxford

No really… Oxford calls its law degree ‘Jurisprudence’ — what even is that? The course is considered to be more about academic theory and less practical but let’s be serious, Oxford just enjoys being pretentious (even more so than Cambridge)!

2. You can never find that obscure book your tutor loves

We’ve all had the struggle of searching in The Cross Building Library for that obscure South African Roman law book in first year. Why can’t tutors just pick common books for reading lists?

3. Every student thinks they’ll become a human rights lawyer, then gets sucked in by commercial law pay

From first year open days and vacation schemes to training contract interviews and numerous other applications, becoming a commercial lawyer appears to be the competitive but expected path. “I’ll still be able to do lots of pro bono”, we tell ourselves.

4. We all have a textbook snake in our college

Despite every college having its own library, there is often only one textbook to be shared by the eight or so other lawyers with the same reading list… and no-one wants to ‘trek’ to the law library to find it themselves. Group chats become heated and the true textbook-stealing ‘snake’ is revealed.

5. It’s impossible to get a decent mark without sacrificing your personal opinions and morals for some tutors

Good luck to you if you have a tutor with controversial views. Forget the textbook, if your tutor is adamant that indirect intention does not exist, then indirect intention does not exist!

6. Tutors don’t seem to understand you have a life

Law tutors love to tell you how many hours you have in a week and if you read X number of pages per minute you will take Y long to finish the reading list — oh come on! Please just let me watch Suits in my pyjamas!

7. Lawyer beef is actually a thing

Image via Facebook Oxfeud

Oxfeud takes no prisoners with publishing the arguments and grievances between law students. Come on guys, we do one of the hardest Oxford courses, can’t we all get along?

8. Your degree sometimes feels more like Latin than law

While public schoolers may be able to translate the Latin in the textbooks, most of us just skip it and hope everything still makes sense.

9. Your tutors were practically celebrities in the Miller case

Names like Paul Craig, Timothy Endicott, Alison Young and Nick Barber were everywhere in the discussion of the Article 50 case. They were even asked for personal responses by the press during tutorials!

10. The Michaelmas Law Society balls are unbeatable

Being one of the largest societies in Oxford, sponsorship for Oxford Law Society is no trouble. With past balls at the National Portrait Gallery, the Gherkin, Roman Baths and Blenheim Palace, a place at the ball is an enviable position.

11. We’ve all thought about dropping out, but the one thing we can count on is the high probability of getting a 2.1 and amazing job prospects

Twelve essays crammed into an eight-week term is more than simply stressful. We’ve all encountered those breakdowns and considered transferring to Bristol. But with less than 5% of us getting a 2.2 or less, there is a high chance that our hard work will pay off! Oxford is the number one university and we can’t forget that — there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

Madelaine Hayes is a law student at the University of Oxford.

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Was 11 really necessary? I feel like we all knew this already… #Smug



Oxford has a secret nappy wearers club that meets in a certain cafe every Saturday



oxford is the best university in the world, has killed cambridge time and time again #truth


A trainee

Who calls it the Cross Building Library? Just the law faculty. It’s a tiny point but for some reason I found it really jarring.

Top tip for those looking to catch textbook snakes: just ask your college library who has it. They’ll tell you. There’s a procedure in place that allows you to request for it to be returned. I don’t know why more people don’t do this! Also, one textbook per college is a bit budget. You would expect 2 or 3 for core textbooks.

Disagree on the human rights lawyer thing. I think lots are just interested in law.

There are some common Latin phrases that crop up but certainly not lots of Latin. During the LPC I realised that other unis used it a lot more – I couldn’t tell you any of the trust rules/maxims in Latin. Don’t perpetuate harmful stereotypes that just create division.

I’ve never understood the attractions of parties/balls that culminate in a 2 hour coach ride back home.

Yes, I’m fun at parties.


A trainee

“Just the law faculty” isn’t meant to mean that’s that’s what it’s called, not that the law faculty staff call it the Cross Building Library


A trainee

*IS meant to mean




No-one cares about a subpar, failing law school like Oxford. When will you give the people what they really want and do “11 things you’ll only understand if you studied law at London Metropolitan University?”



I could write this for you…



interesting. Now do one for cambridge, ucl, and lse. Also do a competitive version where people prove their uni are better



Oxford law is the best in the country as it’s the only place in the world that you can do a law degree in eight weeks.



In eight weeks’ worth of work that is.



And still get a high 2:1


Harvard JD

Finally, an “11 things you’ll only understand” for a decent uni.



Actually, all you need to do at Oxford is try hard enough to get a 2.1, hence why only 5% fall below that mark. Fact No. 12.


The Court of Pie Powders

Actually there are several degrees at Oxford with ‘law’ in the name. They are postgraduate, but you didn’t specificy this.

And sometimes the law degree is even referred to as Jurisprudence (Law) or (Law with Law Studies in Europe) on official documentation.

From experience, controversial views (properly articulated) tend to be well rewarded in finals, but so do well defended orthodox ones. Are you sure your tutor doesn’t allow for your beliefs or just that you haven’t fully thought them through? You are there to be taught and not to go in knowing everything in advance.



Shut up nerd


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