Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge

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The Faculty of Law, Cambridge is the law school of the University of Cambridge. The faculty is one of the world's oldest and finest law schools, renowned for the quality of its teaching and its cutting-edge legal research, particularly in international law.[1] It is regularly ranked as the best law school in the United Kingdom by major national league tables. In 2018, it was ranked the best law school in the United Kingdom[2] and second best law school in the world.[3]

Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge
Law Faculty University of Cambridge.jpg
United Kingdom
CampusSidgwick Site

Legal study at the University of Cambridge began in the thirteenth century, and the faculty sits the oldest law professorship in the English-speaking world, the Regius Professorship of Civil Law, founded in 1540.[4] Today, the faculty incorporates the Institute of Criminology as well as 11 Research Centres, including the world's leading research institute for international law, The Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. The faculty has 31 professors, six readers, and over 70 other university, faculty and college teaching officers. The student body comprises about 700 undergraduate and 225 graduate students. It is also home to the Cambridge University Law Society, the largest student-run law society in the United Kingdom, and one of the largest in the world.

Courses offeredEdit

The faculty offers six degrees in Law: BA, LLM, MCL, MLitt, PhD and LLD. In addition, it offers the MPhil in Criminology, the MPhil in Criminological Research, the Diploma in Legal Studies, and the Diploma in International Law.[5]

Rankings and reputationEdit

National rankings
Complete (2021)[6]1
Guardian (2021)[7]1
Times / Sunday Times (2021)[8]1
Global rankings
QS (2021)[9]
THE (2021)[10]3

Cambridge is unanimously ranked as the best law school in the UK by all major national academic league tables. It is currently ranked first by The Guardian,[11] The Times/The Sunday Times' Good University Guide,[12] and The Complete University Guide.[13] Since it started publishing its annual rankings for 2010, The Guardian has ranked Cambridge first six times (2010,[14] 2012,[15] 2015,[16] 2016,[17] 2017,[18] and 2018[11]). The Complete University Guide has given the top spot to Cambridge since 2013[19] and eight times in the last 11 years.[20] The Times Good University Guide law rankings has Cambridge atop its league table since 2014.[21]

In 2019, the QS World University Rankings ranked Cambridge as the world's third best university for law.[3] THE ranked Cambridge as the world's third best university for law in its 2019 subject rankings.[22]


David Williams BuildingEdit

The Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge in the evening

The faculty is housed in the David Williams Building on the university's Sidgwick Site in Cambridge. The Building is named after the University's first full-time Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Public Law, Professor Sir David Williams.[23] The Building opened in 1996 and was designed by Norman Foster, who also designed the terminal building at Stansted Airport and 30 St Mary Axe (the "Gherkin" in London). The building suffered serious acoustic problems (primarily due to a lack of consideration of acoustics in Foster's design), with its form amplifying any noise from the lower levels and causing significant disturbance at higher levels, not least in the library.[24] This was fixed in 1999 with the installation of a glazed acoustic screen, separating quiet areas from noisy ones.

The David Williams Building contains the University's Squire Law Library, together with offices, lecture and seminar rooms and common room facilities.

The interior of the faculty building

Squire Law LibraryEdit

The Squire Law Library, which occupies the majority of the first, second and third floors of the building, is a dependent library of Cambridge University Library.[25] It contains one of the three largest legal collections in the UK with more than 180,000 volumes. The collection is very strong across UK law, the law of other major common law countries (the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand), and the law of the European Union, France and Germany. There are, additionally, smaller collections for the law of many other countries. The library provides its users with access to many major legal databases.

The library was founded in 1904, at first with only 8,000 volumes,[26] although this soon increased. In 1934, together with the Seeley Historical Library, it moved to the Cockerell Building on Senate House Passage, previously the home of the University Library built in 1837-42. The Squire took over the whole of the Cockerell Building on the construction of James Stirling's building for the history library in 1968. With the Squire's own move in turn, its former site became the library of Gonville and Caius College.

Most individual colleges also have a smaller law library of their own.


There are a number of groups and societies based around the Faculty of Law:

  • Cambridge University Law Society
  • Cambridge Societies at the Inns of Court (Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, and Middle Temple)
  • Graduate Law Society
  • The Cambridge University Society for Women Lawyers
  • Cambridge University Students' Pro Bono Society
  • Cambridge Pro Bono Project

Most colleges also have their own law societies.


Notable publications produced under the aegis of the faculty include:

  • University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series [27]
  • The Cambridge Law Journal
  • International Law Reports
  • Clarendon Studies in Criminology (joint venture with the criminology centres at Oxford and the London School of Economics)
  • Cambridge Studies in English Legal History
  • Cambridge International Law Journal[28]

Notable personsEdit



Named Chairs



  1. ^ "RAE 2008: law results". London: The Guardian. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Law at Cambridge Ranked No.1 in Times University Guide 2018 | Faculty of Law". www.law.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Law | Top Universities". QS. 18 August 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  4. ^ Helmholz, R. H. (2003). The Oxford History of the Laws of England: The Canon law and ecclesiastical jurisdiction from 597 to the 1640s. Oxford University Press. p. 245. ISBN 9780198258971. The origins of the so-called regius professorships: an aspect of the renaissance in Oxford and Cambridge civil law thomas smith.
  5. ^ "Prospective students | Faculty of Law". www.law.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  6. ^ "University League Table 2021". The Complete University Guide. 1 June 2020.
  7. ^ "University league tables 2021". The Guardian. 5 September 2020.
  8. ^ "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2021". Times Newspapers.
  9. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2021". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd.
  10. ^ "World University Rankings 2021". Times Higher Education.
  11. ^ a b "University guide 2018: league table for law". the Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  12. ^ HitCreative. "The Times and The Sunday Times | Education - UniversityGuide". st.hitcreative.com. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Law - Top UK University Subject Tables and Rankings 2018". Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  14. ^ "University guide 2010: Law". the Guardian. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  15. ^ "University guide 2012: Law". the Guardian. 17 May 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  16. ^ "University guide 2015: league table for law". The Guardian. 3 June 2014. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  17. ^ "University guide 2016: league table for law". the Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  18. ^ "University guide 2017: league table for law". the Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Law - Top UK University Subject Tables and Rankings 2013". Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Law - Top UK University Subject Tables and Rankings 2008". Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  21. ^ HitCreative. "The Times and The Sunday Times | Education - Table UniversityGuide". st.hitcreative.com. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  22. ^ "World University Rankings 2018 by subject: law". Times Higher Education (THE). 27 September 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  23. ^ "Naming of the Law Faculty building | Faculty of Law". www.law.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Faculty of Law Lawlink: Issue 1, August 2000 - Faculty Resources - Faculty of Law". Law.cam.ac.uk. 15 March 2005. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  25. ^ "A brief history | Squire Law Library". www.squire.law.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  26. ^ Squire Law Library Appeal Archived 17 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Law Faculty website. Accessed 2012-04-02.
  27. ^ "SSRN Legal Studies Research Paper Series - Faculty of Law". www.law.cam.ac.uk.
  28. ^ "Cambridge International Law Journal – Edward Elgar Publishing (www.elgaronline.com/cilj)". cilj.co.uk.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 52°12′06″N 0°06′35″E / 52.2017°N 0.1096°E / 52.2017; 0.1096