The Templeman Library at Kent

Prepare to study law!

If you’re interested in discovering how you can prepare to study law at university, you may find some of these suggested resources helpful. Everything listed here is optional – simply dip in and out whenever you want to. There is no expectation for you to read or watch all the items on the list!

We do encourage you however, to develop an open and engaged mind. Follow stories with a legal angle in the news and reflect on a range of books, contemporary art and culture – all of this will help you develop your critical, cultural and political awareness (and will help you get a lot more out of the study of law at Kent).

Top tips from our students

Read:

  • Kent Law School research: the field of law is huge! Check out our research news stories to see the broad range of socio-legal topics our academics research and how their research impacts society
  • 10 books by women to read before starting Law School: A list by Professor Fiona de Londras
  • The English legal system: The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England & Wales has published a handy guide to the English legal system
  • Legal knowledge: Reference and support materials for case law research and legal education by the The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England & Wales
  • How to… do legal research: Follow Inner Temple Library on Twitter for incredibly useful daily posts on how to undertake legal research
  • Remote Courts Worldwide: An excellent resource for anyone wanting to see how remote hearings are being developed in different parts of the UK and beyond.
  • JSTOR has made all their open access content available without a login – there’s more than 6,000 ebooks and over 150 journals. (JSTOR is is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources)
  • Recommendations for books about law: A Twitter thread, started by The Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, asking people which books about law they would recommend as essential reading
  • Recommended blogs:
      • Big Saturday Read: Cutting-edge analysis and critical insights into Zimbabwean law and politics by Kent Law School Lectuer Dr Alex Magaisa, a former chief advisor to Morgan Tsvangirai (a former Zimbabwean Prime Minister)
      • Clinical – The Kent Law Clinic blog: read about the cases Kent Law Clinic solicitors take on for clients in our local community and find out how students enhance their legal education by getting involved!
      • Critical Legal Thinking: A blog dedicated to the radical critique of law and politics (contributors include Kent Law School academics and PhD scholars)
      • Inner Temple Library Current Awareness: Legal news selected by the Inner Temple Library (The Inner Temple Library is one of the four Inns of Court Libraries, which serve barristers, judges and bar students in England and Wales)
      • SLSA blog: the official blog of the Socio-legal Studies Association, sharing discussion of current issues of socio-legal interest (NB “socio-legal” is a term that relates to the relationship between law and society)
      • The Law and Policy Blog: by Financial Times contributor David Allen Green
      • The Secret Barrister: “By writing about popular legal stories in the news, I aim to shine a few shafts of light on what is happening beneath the headlines. I want to give the context that you may not be getting from news reports, to explain the legal structures that inform legal outcomes, and to point out where information gaps lie.”
      • UK Constitutional Law Association blog: a great place to go for gaining a better understanding of how constitutional law works in the UK as well as constitutions more generally. (NB Constitutional law is the law that establishes governing authority and its limits)

Watch:

  • Discover Art at the Tate: The national collection of British art from 1500 to today, including international modern and contemporary art is available to view online
  • Film recommendation – On the Basis of Sex: The true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights, and the early cases of a historic career that lead to her nomination and confirmation as US Supreme Court Associate Justice.
  • Film recommendation – Dark Waters: A true story that tells the shocking and heroic story of an attorney (Mark Ruffalo) who risks his career and family to uncover a dark secret hidden by one of the world’s largest corporations and to bring justice to a community dangerously exposed for decades to deadly chemicals.
  • McMillions (Sky Documentaries/Now TV): This six-part documentary series takes a look into the con that allowed one man to rig the results of McDonald’s popular Monopoly game for an entire decade
  • National Theatre Home: Watch National Theatre productions from home (subscription service)
  • Philly DA: Breaking the law: Do you have to destroy the system to get the change you want? With the police facing accusations of corruption and racism, a new district attorney takes on the establishment. (BBC4)
  • Supreme Court UK: Watch live court sittings; recorded current cases; or recorded decided cases
  • The Secret Barrister: ‘Disordered Law’ on YouTube
  • Why Criminal Justice Matters – The Secret Barrister: The Secret Barrister is one of the UK’s leading law bloggers, whose anonymity allows for the completely candid exposure of the day-to-day realities of the frontline of the criminal justice system – a system that the SB believes is close to collapse. Watch this debate which features an anonymised film introduction from the Secret Barrister plus contributions from an expert legal panel. Learn more about the current state of our justice system, and consider a range of related issues, from the impact of cuts to CPS, courts and legal aid, to public understanding of and engagement with the law, and the way criminal cases are reported in the media.

Listen:

  • Better Human: a human rights podcast with barrister Adam Wagner (from Doughty Street Chambers)
  • Criminal: A podcast about crime
  • Law in Action: BBC Radio 4’s long-running legal magazine programme, featuring reports and discussions on matters relating to law
  • Law Pod UK: featuring legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg who is a journalist, and presenter of the BBC’s Law in Action
  • Legal Design podcast: This podcast gives a voice to different ideas, insights and viewpoints that support the legal design philosophy, the realisation that justice is created by designing the legal system fit for real humans
  • Lockdown Law Pods: A law related podcast playlist by Inner Temple Library
  • Political Bites: a politics podcast from the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent
  • KLS50: Kent Law School celebrated its 50th anniversary year in 2019. In honour of this occasion, we recorded two special podcasts, each with a group of distinguished academics reflecting on 50 years of critical legal education at Kent. Listen to our KLS50 playlist to get a fascinating insight into the intellectual culture of the Law School you’ll be joining in the autumn!
  • Stuff the British Stole: Throughout its reign, the British Empire stole a lot of stuff. Today those objects are housed in genteel institutions across the UK and the world. They usually come with polite plaques. This is a series about the not-so-polite history behind those objects. Each episode award-winning journalist, author and genetic-potluck Marc Fennell picks one artifact and takes you on the wild, evocative, sometimes funny, often tragic adventure of how it got to where it is today
  • Talking Politics: History of Ideas: A podcast sharing talks by David Runciman in which he explores some of the most important thinkers and prominent ideas lying behind modern politics – from Hobbes to Gandhi, from democracy to patriarchy, from revolution to lockdown.
  • The Punch (BBC Sounds): True crime podcast. Aged 18, Jacob Dunne was convicted of manslaughter for killing a man with a single punch. This is the story of Jacob’s transformation, with help from the unlikeliest of places

Study:

Apply:

Reading lists: non-fiction & fiction

Non-fiction

  • A House Though Time (David Olusoga and Melanie Backe-Hansen)
  • A Testament of Hope (Martin Luther King Jr)
  • Black, Listed: Black British Culture Explored (Jeffrey Boakye)
  • Concept of Law (HLA Hart)
  • Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa (Antjie Krog)
  • Eve was Framed: Women and British Justice (Helena Kennedy)
  • Eve was Shamed: How British Justice is FailingWomen (Helena Kennedy)
  • Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed (Frances Westley)
  • Honourable Misfits: A Brief History of Britain’s Weirdest, Unluckiest and Most Outrageous MPs (Marie le Conte)
  • How to argue with a racist: History, science, race and reality (Adam Rutherford)
  • How to be a liberal (Iain Dunt)
  • How to Read a Book (Mortimer Adler)
  • In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System (Alexandra Wilson)
  • In your Defence: Stories of Life and Law (Sarah Langford)
  • Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope (Shirin Ebadi)
  • Is Eating People Wrong? (Allan Hutchinson)
  • Law’s Empire (Ronald Dworkin)
  • Letters of Note (Shaun Usher)
  • On Liberty (JSMill)
  • Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction (Raymond Wacks)
  • Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (Antonin Scalia & Bryan A Garner)
  • Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter (Albie Sachs)
  • The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad (Ingrid Christopherson – Translator)
  • The Bramble Bush: On Our Law and Its Study (Karl Llewellyn)
  • The Rule of Law ( Rt Hon Lord Bingham of Cornhill)
  • The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How it’s Broken and The Secret Barrister: Fake Law: The Truth about Justice in an Age of Lies
  • The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win (Joel P Trachtman)
  • Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman)
  • Under the Wig: A Lawyer’s Stories of Murder, Guilt and Innocence (William Clegg)
  • Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (Jung Chang)
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert M Pirsig)

Fiction

  • 1984 (George Orwell)
  • Animal’s People (Indra Sinha)
  • Asking for It (Louise O’Neill)
  • Bleak House (Charles Dickens)
  • Never let me go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
  • Paradise (Toni Morrison)
  • Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  • The City and the City (China Mieville)
  • The Fortune Men (Nadifa Mohamed)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (and anything else by Margaret Atwood)
  • The Order of the Day (Eric Vuillard (Author), Mark Polizzotti (Translator)
  • The Round House (Louise Erdrich)
  • The Sealed Letter (Emma Donoghue)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  • Wide Sargasso Sea ( Jean Rhys)