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LCN Says

SQE1 manual series: why you should study criminal law

updated on 07 February 2022

Reading time: three minutes

This LCN Says is part of a series looking at The University of Law’s (ULaw) Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) manuals that have been specifically designed to support law students in their SQE1 exams. This LCN Says will look at what students can expect to learn in the Criminal Law manual.

You become familiar with the categories of crime

The main body of ULaw’s Criminal Law manual refers to behaviour that is threatening, harmful or has endangered a person’s property, health, safety or wellbeing. It educates you about the punishment and rehabilitation options available to someone who breaks the law in the UK. It also touches on several categories of crimes, such as violent crime, property crime and white-collar crime.

To find out about legal aid lawyers, read this LCN Says: ‘Criminal legal aid lawyers: are they dying out?’

ULaw’s Criminal Law manual provides a practical review of the progression of substantive law that solicitors need to advise a client on their liability of a criminal offence. For example, when accessing criminal liability, the starting point is to identify the principal offender(s) with the appropriate mens rea (Latin for guilty mind).

If you’re interested in criminal law but don’t want to defend criminals, read our Oracle’s advice.

You understand your impact in people’s lives

Martin Luther King once said, “[i]njustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As a criminal lawyer, you can help people in need which will undoubtedly have an impact in their lives. Many law students aspire to become a criminal lawyer because they want to make a difference, especially considering the social economic and racial inequalities the criminal justice system condemns. This is also why law graduates choose to work in legal aid; to help those who cannot sustain the costs of a criminal defence solicitor and are disadvantaged.

To find out what to expect in criminal law, read this LCN Says: ‘Criminal law: what to expect.’

You know the criminal justice system

Nearly everyone will experience or witness a crime at some point in their lives. Crime affects people from all backgrounds, locations and ages. One of best things about learning criminal law is you become knowledgeable about the laws of the land. This means nobody can pressurise you (not even a police officer) into doing anything you don’t want to do. Therefore, it’s important to know your Human Rights Act (1998), the different types of crime and the seriousness of each one. You’d be surprised how many people commit crimes every day unknowingly.

Just remember that when you know a little about the law, expect to have your family members ask you for legal advice!

If you're interested in other areas of law then read:

If crime/fraud is a practice area you’re interested in, check out this practice area.

Find further information about ULaw’s SQE1 courses.

Read the latest information about what is happening with the SQE via our SQE Hub.

Christianah Babajide (she/her) is the content and engagement coordinator at LawCareers.Net