Edexcel Advanced GCE in LAW

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This syllabus provides a satisfying course for those who will end their study of Law at this stage, and lays a secure foundation for those who will continue their studies in this or related subjects.  It enables candidates to develop a knowledge and understanding of legal rules and institutions and an appreciation of the function of law in society. It also encourages candidates to develop the skills necessary to appraise and criticise the application of legal principles across different branches of law.


The syllabus aims to:

  1. Provide a sound understanding of the nature of law.
  2. Give an appreciation of the role of law in society.
  3. Demonstrate the importance of legal institutions and their relationship to other institutions in society.
  4. Provide a broad understanding of the various branches of law in order to give a fuller picture of the role of law.
  5. Provide knowledge of the sources of law, in particular statutes and cases, and of how these are applied to the determination of disputes.
  6. Develop an analytical and critical approach to the application of legal principles.
  7. Consider the appropriateness of dealing with certain aspects of behaviour within the law.
  8. Comply with the 1988 resolution of the Council of the European Community by encouraging candidates to acquire a knowledge and understating of the impact of European membership, and the position of the European Court of Human Rights on UK law, institutions and legal process.

Syllabus content

Candidates should study Sections A to D of the Paper 1 syllabus content and two sections of the Paper 2 syllabus content.

Paper 1

Paper 1 content is divided into four sections.  Candidates will be expected to show a knowledge and understanding of law and legal institutions with relevance to their function in society.

Part One


Section A – The Nature of Law

  • Rules – what rules are: the relationship between law and morality including the Hart/Devlin debate; why some rules have legal consequences.
  • The principal legal theories: e.g. positivism, natural law, and realist theories.
  • Nature and origins of law; law in society, its role and function; growth of law in modern society and the appropriateness of creating new laws to solve problems.
  • Legal reasoning and analysis.


Section B – The Effect of Law on the Individual

  • Rights, duties, liabilities and privileges; how these affect us and how they are enforced.
  • The basis of liability in civil law: common law and equitable remedies and the relationship between them.
  • The basis of liability in criminal law: sanctions for criminal wrongs; theories of punishment; provision for compensation in criminal cases.
  • Remedies for maladministration; judicial review; the role of ombudsmen; review of maladministration in criminal cases.
  • The concept of legal personality and corporate liability.

Part Two

Section C – The Sources of Law

  • Legislation: Parliamentary and delegated legislation; controls of delegated legislation, advantages and disadvantages; statutory interpretation; rules and canons of construction; the influence of European Union membership; the respective roles of the legislature and the judiciary.
  • The English doctrine of binding precedent, its theory and practice within the court system; the development of common law and equity and their relationship in modern law.
  • European community and Union law, its nature, interpretation and role: the institutions of the European Community and Union; the legal implications for the UK of this source of law.
  • Law reform: the role of political parties, pressure groups, law reform agencies and judges.

Section D – Law Enforcement and Administration

  • The differences between civil and criminal law; the commencement of legal proceedings in civil and criminal cases; legal aid and advice and other financial support; conditional fees.
  • Dispute settlement; formal and informal methods; the Courts; tribunals; arbitration; conciliation; mediation.
  • The role of the police in law enforcement: stop and search; arrest; search; detention and questioning; procedure at the police station.
  • The legal profession: organisation, training and discipline; relationship between all the different branches.
  • The role of the lay person in the administration of justice: e.g. magistrates, juries, tribunal members and arbitrators; the extension of para-legal services.

Paper 2

Paper 2 comprises five topics.  Each topic is sub-divided, and each question will usually involve consideration of more than one aspect of the topic.  Candidates will be required to identify and explain underlying principles as well as quoting specific legal examples in their answers.

Section A – The Market: the transfer of goods or the rendering of services for cash
        or on credit terms.

  • The legal rules applying to the making of bargains: an outline of the rules of contract, including freedom and exclusion clauses; vitiating factors: privity and discharge of contract.  Contracts for the sale and supply of goods.  Remedies.
  • Liability in negligence to consumers; strict liability in civil actions under consumer protection legislation.  Remedies.
  • Criminal liability and offences under consumer protection legislation.
  • Outline of consumer credit legislation with particular reference to the content of credit agreements, cancellation, liability for defects, default.  Remedies.
  • An awareness of the role of extra judicial approaches to solving problems faced by the individual in the market.

Section B – The Workplace: the legal relationship between employers and

  • Contractual and tortious duties and liabilities of employers, employees and independent contractors.  Statutory protection for employees.  Remedies.
  • Legal rules relating to restraint of trade for businesses and employees.  Remedies.
  • Law relating to discrimination and equal pay.  Remedies.
  • Termination of contract of employment including fair, unfair and wrongful dismissal.  Redundancy.  Remedies.
  • Common law and statutory provisions relating to health and safety at work, including compensation for injuries at work.  Remedies.
  • Outline of the role and legal position of trade unions in relation to employment matters.  Remedies.

Section C – The Family: the family relationship arising from marriage or

  • The legal basis of marriage; rights arising from marriage; rights of cohabitees.
  • Children’s legal rights and the legal rules for their protection.  Adoption.  Parental responsibilities.
  • Outline of the legal responsibilities of central and local government in relation to family welfare.  The role of agencies.
  • The law on marital and cohabitation breakdown and family break-up.  The law on domestic violence, remedies.  The transfer of property after the breakdown of relationships.  Inheritance and family provision.


Section D – The Criminal Offender: the essential nature of criminal liability and the study of particular crimes.

  • The reasons for the creation of criminal liability.  The basis of criminal liability.  Types of conduct regarded as criminal.  Criminal sanctions.  The arguments concerning whether some criminal behaviour would be better dealt with outside the criminal law.
  • Parties to a crime.
  • Inchoate offences
  • General defences
  • The law protecting a person from attack, injury or death.
  • The law of theft, and related dishonesty offences including burglary, blackmail, deception, making off, robbery and TWOC (taking without owners’ consent), but excluding false accounting and the role of the Serious Fraud Office.
  • Criminal damage.
  • Sanctions and sentencing.


Section E – The Individual; civil liberties and rights under private law.

  • The role of the state and the nature and basis of civil liberties in law.  Remedies and procedures for protecting rights and freedoms, including challenges to delegated legislation, judicial review and the role of ombudsmen.  The impact of international and European human rights law.
  • Freedom of assembly and association; related public meetings; processions; assemblies and demonstrations.  Public order offences; sports events.  Trespass and nuisance.
  • Freedom of speech; defamation; blasphemy; obscene libel; contempt of court; defences and remedies.
  • Freedom of person and property: police powers of questioning: detention and arrest; search and seizure; remedies against the police.  Legal actions to protect privacy and confidentiality.
  • Freedom of information: access to official, government and personal records; data protection.


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