Oxford Papers to do (or not to do)


I'm a current oxford bcl student. I strongly recommend avoiding the evidence paper. Do not take evidence!! Complete waste of time with stupidly long reading lists. Badly taught, the reading lists are longer than any other course ... avoid it!
I'm a current oxford bcl student. I strongly recommend avoiding the evidence paper. Do not take evidence!! Complete waste of time with stupidly long reading lists. Badly taught, the reading lists are longer than any other course ... avoid it!
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Rumpole
Any other recommendations? How is Constitutional Theory?
Any other recommendations? How is Constitutional Theory?
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westlaw786
Could you say more about the BCL....? Describe your experience of the BCL thusfar? You say long reading lists why not say more about the level of work expected of you?
Could you say more about the BCL....? Describe your experience of the BCL thusfar? You say long reading lists why not say more about the level of work expected of you?
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rendition
isnt ashworth convening ? or is it zuckerman?
isnt ashworth convening ? or is it zuckerman?
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I agree with Westlaw - if any current BCL students would be willing to share their experiences of the various options, I think we'd all be very grateful.

I had gained the impression that this year the "credit points" system will be abolished and all options should (in theory at least) carry an even workload.
I agree with Westlaw - if any current BCL students would be willing to share their experiences of the various options, I think we'd all be very grateful.

I had gained the impression that this year the "credit points" system will be abolished and all options should (in theory at least) carry an even workload.
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They are abolishing the points system. But it is unlikely the work will decrease for those units presently weighted at 4 points (evidence, juris, conflicts, restitution). Those four units are famous for their enormous workload. And the professors here are quite lazy and unlikely to modify/decrease the workload! That's been one of the large complaints about abolishing the system.

Whereas this year you could do simply three of those large units, next year you will have to do four units without reference to the points system.

I didn't take con theory but have heard mixed reports. Juris has also been widely criticised. There have been a lot of complaints about both units this year.

The worst units in terms of workload are arguably evidence and restitution. The human rights units and anything with the word "comparative" or "european" in the title tend to be lighter in terms of workload.
They are abolishing the points system. But it is unlikely the work will decrease for those units presently weighted at 4 points (evidence, juris, conflicts, restitution). Those four units are famous for their enormous workload. And the professors here are quite lazy and unlikely to modify/decrease the workload! That's been one of the large complaints about abolishing the system.

Whereas this year you could do simply three of those large units, next year you will have to do four units without reference to the points system.

I didn't take con theory but have heard mixed reports. Juris has also been widely criticised. There have been a lot of complaints about both units this year.

The worst units in terms of workload are arguably evidence and restitution. The human rights units and anything with the word "comparative" or "european" in the title tend to be lighter in terms of workload.
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I've received quite a few messages asking me about various courses (I suppose I dobbed myself in really, didn't I?!). So I've asked around and have complied a brief list summarising my, or my friends', experiences and thoughts on the courses. Of course this is subjective, and views may differ. So take it with a pinch of salt, and don't let it turn you off any units you have your heart set on. And remember, any work-load is managable, so don't avoid units simply because of a large work load. If you love the subject, you'll find it much easier to do the work than if you do a subject you don't enjoy simply because of a small work load! And sorry about the numerous typos - in a bit of a rush.

Corporate Insolvency: Difficult, but widely enjoyed. However, the professor is changing next year, as rob stevens is going to UCL. So I don't know what it will be like next year. At the moment it's quite philosophical - issues such as the claw back provisions, avoidance of unfair preferences, pari passu rules etc.

GCFL: is very easy. A nice light one! But you need a decent memory. The exam looks like it'll be a memory test. The course is quite superficial - a very light look at bonds, securitizations etc. And for the exam prof wood just seems to want his notes recited back to him! Avoid if you want an intellectual/academic challenge. But if you're looking for a nice, light work load to balance out the other units, a good one.

Comparative Human Rights Law: widely enjoyed. Doesn't require a great memory.

Criminology: very small class. Not many people take this option. Difficult therefore to get reports on it.

Conflicts: widely enjoyed. A lot of material to get across, and quite a heavy workload, but not as bad as restitution or evidence.

Evidence: have already written about this one. Avoid!!

Juris: very mixed reports. Completely unstructured. No reading list. Avoid if you like structure and need a reading list or if you don't have a background in the area already.

Philosophical Foundations of the Common Law: Varying reports. Some love it, some hate it. Seems to depend on whether you like philosophy. A lot of students seem to take this because they feel they have to take one juris style unit at Oxford. It's those students who usually hate it. The ones who take it simply because they're interested seem to love it.


Restitution - you need a very strong grasp of common law equity, trusts and torts to manage this one. The workload is also very large.

Taxation units: It tends to only be the british students who study this, as it is very England-specific.

Civil Procedure: very philosophical. Mix of Mjur and BCL. Widely enjoyed.

Corporate FInance Law: Mixed reports. Some think it's badly taught, others love it.

International Economic Law: subject of significant criticism this year. Quite scathing reviews.

Global Employment law: Widely enjoyed, decent work load.

European contract law: Very good reviews. Widely enjoyed. Nice, light workload. Suitable for BCL students as well, despite the title.

International Dispute Settlement: widely enjoyed, reasonably light workload.
I've received quite a few messages asking me about various courses (I suppose I dobbed myself in really, didn't I?!). So I've asked around and have complied a brief list summarising my, or my friends', experiences and thoughts on the courses. Of course this is subjective, and views may differ. So take it with a pinch of salt, and don't let it turn you off any units you have your heart set on. And remember, any work-load is managable, so don't avoid units simply because of a large work load. If you love the subject, you'll find it much easier to do the work than if you do a subject you don't enjoy simply because of a small work load! And sorry about the numerous typos - in a bit of a rush.

Corporate Insolvency: Difficult, but widely enjoyed. However, the professor is changing next year, as rob stevens is going to UCL. So I don't know what it will be like next year. At the moment it's quite philosophical - issues such as the claw back provisions, avoidance of unfair preferences, pari passu rules etc.

GCFL: is very easy. A nice light one! But you need a decent memory. The exam looks like it'll be a memory test. The course is quite superficial - a very light look at bonds, securitizations etc. And for the exam prof wood just seems to want his notes recited back to him! Avoid if you want an intellectual/academic challenge. But if you're looking for a nice, light work load to balance out the other units, a good one.

Comparative Human Rights Law: widely enjoyed. Doesn't require a great memory.

Criminology: very small class. Not many people take this option. Difficult therefore to get reports on it.

Conflicts: widely enjoyed. A lot of material to get across, and quite a heavy workload, but not as bad as restitution or evidence.

Evidence: have already written about this one. Avoid!!

Juris: very mixed reports. Completely unstructured. No reading list. Avoid if you like structure and need a reading list or if you don't have a background in the area already.

Philosophical Foundations of the Common Law: Varying reports. Some love it, some hate it. Seems to depend on whether you like philosophy. A lot of students seem to take this because they feel they have to take one juris style unit at Oxford. It's those students who usually hate it. The ones who take it simply because they're interested seem to love it.


Restitution - you need a very strong grasp of common law equity, trusts and torts to manage this one. The workload is also very large.

Taxation units: It tends to only be the british students who study this, as it is very England-specific.

Civil Procedure: very philosophical. Mix of Mjur and BCL. Widely enjoyed.

Corporate FInance Law: Mixed reports. Some think it's badly taught, others love it.

International Economic Law: subject of significant criticism this year. Quite scathing reviews.

Global Employment law: Widely enjoyed, decent work load.

European contract law: Very good reviews. Widely enjoyed. Nice, light workload. Suitable for BCL students as well, despite the title.

International Dispute Settlement: widely enjoyed, reasonably light workload.

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AndrewC
Thanks for posting this. Interesting that some people have enjoyed the Juris course so little, although I think I can cope with "unstructured" so I should be fine (my final year Juris course at undergrad level was very much based on "explorations" and "contemplations" and such like).

My personal question is: does anyone know anything about the dissertation unit? I've heard it's very low-scoring and that getting supervision might be hard. (I'd probably be doing a crime-related topic if that's relevant to the answer!)
Thanks for posting this. Interesting that some people have enjoyed the Juris course so little, although I think I can cope with "unstructured" so I should be fine (my final year Juris course at undergrad level was very much based on "explorations" and "contemplations" and such like).

My personal question is: does anyone know anything about the dissertation unit? I've heard it's very low-scoring and that getting supervision might be hard. (I'd probably be doing a crime-related topic if that's relevant to the answer!)
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westlaw786
nice work oxfordstudent you have generously given us potential BCLers a nice summary. Good luck on your courses i hope that your hardships avail to a distinguished graduation. Work hard and dont forget you have our support and encouragment.
nice work oxfordstudent you have generously given us potential BCLers a nice summary. Good luck on your courses i hope that your hardships avail to a distinguished graduation. Work hard and dont forget you have our support and encouragment.
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Rumpole
Thanks oxfordstudent!
Thanks oxfordstudent!
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By the way, I wouldn't worry too much about units yet. No one actually does pre-reading. And in the first two days you'll get 'taster lectures' to give you a feel for the courses and can then have a look at the reading list. And the only one I'd recommend avoiding is Evidence. Evidence is the most widely complained about course. Con theory has also received quite a few complaints as has International Economic law. As for the rest, if you're interested in the subject matter, I'm sure it'll be fine.
By the way, I wouldn't worry too much about units yet. No one actually does pre-reading. And in the first two days you'll get 'taster lectures' to give you a feel for the courses and can then have a look at the reading list. And the only one I'd recommend avoiding is Evidence. Evidence is the most widely complained about course. Con theory has also received quite a few complaints as has International Economic law. As for the rest, if you're interested in the subject matter, I'm sure it'll be fine.
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fg
Thanks for your help. Do you know if DPhil candidates are allowed to sit in on classes?
Thanks for your help. Do you know if DPhil candidates are allowed to sit in on classes?
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yes, they are. You just need to email the lecturer concerned and ask them. But they'll always say yes. lots of DPhil students sit in on the juris lectures.
yes, they are. You just need to email the lecturer concerned and ask them. But they'll always say yes. lots of DPhil students sit in on the juris lectures.
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fg
Great! Thanks very much. I thought taking classes might be a good way to combat the isolating of full-time research for 3 years (!!).
Great! Thanks very much. I thought taking classes might be a good way to combat the isolating of full-time research for 3 years (!!).
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AnnaC
Hey, thanks for all the advice!! What makes Evidence so terrible? It was one of my top course choices ): Thanks! Anna
Hey, thanks for all the advice!! What makes Evidence so terrible? It was one of my top course choices ): Thanks! Anna
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Evidence: it has more reading than any other course. Literally hundreds upon hundreds of cases. It's all criminal law. It's all UK based, and so not helpful if you're from another jurisdiction. it's not analytical. It is one of those courses where you are just expected to memorise hundreds of cases and then do closed-book problem questions. So it's not at all intellectually stimulating, involves far too much work and in addition is taught by numerous lecturers who don't seem to confer with one another, and as a result it's quite badly taught. Everyone is complaining about it.
Evidence: it has more reading than any other course. Literally hundreds upon hundreds of cases. It's all criminal law. It's all UK based, and so not helpful if you're from another jurisdiction. it's not analytical. It is one of those courses where you are just expected to memorise hundreds of cases and then do closed-book problem questions. So it's not at all intellectually stimulating, involves far too much work and in addition is taught by numerous lecturers who don't seem to confer with one another, and as a result it's quite badly taught. Everyone is complaining about it.
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israelrt
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