Law regulates every aspect of social life. This ranges from the contracts that we make when we buy products to the laws that determine when people can be jailed for committing criminal offences, and through to significant political decisions, such as constitutional reforms on marriage or abortion. As a law student, you learn what these laws are, how they work and how they change. You learn the skills of a lawyer – how to research the law, how to make legal arguments, how to use the law to protect and serve your clients. As importantly, though, you also learn to be critical of law. Law can control power but it can also concentrate power, in the hands of large political and commercial organisations. In our increasingly globalised world, it is more important than ever that people understand the huge potential of law to aid the common good but also the potential for its misuse. The Trinity law degree inculcates this perspective in students. It trains them to be self- motivated, ethically aware and critically reflective citizens.
Is this Programme right for me?
The law degree will appeal to you if you are interested in society and how it works, how we regulate the relationships between people. Given the wide range of legal subjects, the degree attracts students with a broad range of interests. Those interested in politics are attracted to subjects such as constitutional law. Those interested in business are attracted to subjects as company law and commercial law. Those concerned about injustice, whether at an international or national level, will be attracted to subjects such as international human rights, environmental law, and public interest law. In truth, most students have overlapping interests. There is no single ability that identifies a good law student. However, the programme involves a large amount of independent work, mostly consisting of reading and analysis. An ability to self-motivate is therefore important.
The course structure referred to below, is relevant for students who commence their course in 2019/20 and onwards. All continuing students should consult their programme handbooks.
Law at Trinity College Dublin is a four-year honors degree programme. In years one and two of the programme we ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the academic and practical aspects of law. In particular, you will be supported in developing your legal skills through the Foundation of Law module. In the third and fourth years, students take modules at a more advanced level. This is a combination of those modules that are currently required in order to continue into the professional stage of training to be a solicitor or barrister (e.g. EU Law) and the opportunity to choose amongst a wide choice of optional modules. The latter allows students to tailor their studies to their particular interests, e.g. Employment Law or Medical Law and Ethics.
A distinctive feature of the Trinity Law degree is that you will also complete some modules outside of the School of Law during the second and third years of the programme. This will give you the opportunity to choose to study modules in a related discipline, as well as a choice of modules addressing broad themes relevant to all students across the entire University. This feature of our programme ensures that you leave with broad horizons and a flexible range of skills that go beyond those that are purely legal in nature. This is relevant both if you choose to pursue a career in the legal profession or if you follow an alternative career path. For example, those who enter a career in commercial law will benefit greatly from also having some understanding of business studies.
In your final year of study, one-third of your credits will be devoted to the completion of a research project, which we call the ‘Capstone’. This allows you to apply and enhance the research skills that you have developed in the previous three years of the programme. Being part of a research group with other students, you will work independently and collaboratively to explore in-depth a topical issue.
Optional Study Abroad
You may choose to apply to study abroad in your third year of studies. Students may apply to spend a semester or full academic year on an exchange programme with one of the School or University’s partners. Details can be found on our Study Abroad page (below).
What will I study?
Year 1: Junior Freshman Year
- Constitutional law I
- Criminal law
- Law of Torts
- Foundations of law 1 and 2 (each component carries 5 credits
- Legislation and regulation
Year 2: Senior Freshman Year
- Constitutional Law II
- Land law
- Private law remedies
- 20 ECTS of modules from outside the School of Law
Year 3: Junior Sophister Year
- Administrative Law
- EU Law
- 20 ECTS of optional modules within the School of Law (including Company Law)
- 10 ECTS of optional modules from outside the School of Law
Students may also apply to spend a semester of full Junior Sophister year abroad, on an Erasmus or international exchange programme at any university with which the Law School or University (where applicable) has links.
Year 4: Senior Sophister Year
- 20 ECTS: ‘Capstone’ research project module
- 40 ECTS of optional modules from within the School of Law.
Where a student has spent one or two terms abroad in their third year, then they will have the opportunity to choose to follow the relevant part of the third year syllabus upon their return to Trinity College. This ensures that such students are able to complete all the modules required in order to fulfil the pre-requisites for entry to the professional stage of training to become either a solicitor or barrister in Ireland.
Optional Junior and Senior Sophister modules:
The following modules are currently provided by the School of Law in either Year 3 or Year 4, but please note that this list changes over time.
- Advanced EU law
- Clinical Legal Education
- Collective Labour Law
- Economic and Legal Aspects of Competition Policy
- Corporate Governance
- Critical Perspectives on law
- Employment Law
- English Land Law
- Environmental Law
- European Human Rights
- Family and Child Law
- Financial Services Law
- Food Law
- Insolvency Law
- Intellectual Property law
- International Human Rights
- International Trade Law
- Legal Philosophy
- Media Law
- Medical Law and Ethics
- Public Interest Law
- Public International Law
- Tax Law
- Refugee and Immigration Law
If you would like to explore these modules some more, please look at the modules below which are currently on offer. The 2019/20 module outlines will be available in Spring 2019.
Having successfully completed this programme, students should be able to:
- Identify, evaluate and synthesise jurisprudential theories and concepts;
- Use appropriate legal theories, doctrines and concepts to identify, formulate, analyse and solve legal problems within national and international contexts;
- Understand the relationship between law and society, including the role of law in promoting and responding to social change;
- Conduct effective and targeted research in case law, legislation and academic legal commentary at both the national and international levels;
- Discuss and debate different perspectives on legal problems, theories and doctrines;
- Communicate effectively in oral and written modes in professional and academic settings and work effectively in multi-disciplinary settings;
- Demonstrate flexibility, adaptability and independence in order to engage productively with a changing social, cultural and technological environment;
- Have the capacity to engage in life-long learning, including vocational training for the legal profession.