English Legal System (3rd edition)

Steven Wilson, Helen Rutherford, Tony Storey and Natalie Wortley

OUP, £33.99


‘In many ways the English legal system is the most challenging first-year subject a law student will encounter.’ The opening statement of the preface sets the right tone for this text. It is easy for students to assume that the English legal system will be an ‘overview’ and introductory subject to study, and that it might not engage the same level of analysis that other subjects will. This is an incorrect assumption, and this text gives students what might be their first real insight into just how comprehensive the legal system is. 

The content of the text is substantive, but its real selling point lies elsewhere. I remember well as a student the proverbial panic when faced with a mountain of knowledge to absorb, and at times you might feel that all you can muster in the time available to you is the bare bones needed to pass the exam. I think every surviving student will admit to this (I hope?). This book cleverly integrates both talking and thinking points into the substantive text. This is a smart and non-intimidating way to introduce these concepts to students, without it seeming like hours of extra-curricular reading. This could be what makes you stand out when it comes to training contract recruitment. 

Notwithstanding its value to students, I would recommend this text to any practitioner. There are elements in this book I have not revisited in practice since my academic career, and as a trainee you are only ever a few hours away from a paralysing question that sounds something like ‘you already know about [blank], don’t you?’. 

English Legal System provides the right balance of academic substance and insightful commentary. 

This really is one of the toughest topics to get to grips with in the early part of your legal career, and this book will serve any student well beyond that.  

Sarah West is a trainee solicitor at Shulmans