Law Faculty is the first to announce decision relating to Easter examinations

The Law faculty proposes examinations that will take place on a ‘take-home’ basis.

Law students received an email today (19th March) detailing ‘preliminary information’ regarding examinations, confirming that the faculty intends ‘to run examinations in Easter Term for all Parts of the Law Tripos, for the LLM and for the MCL’. The email outlines how the faculty wishes to proceed in relation to these examinations, however, the email also notes that the faculty’s plans are subject to the University’s approval, which they are ‘hoping to receive by the end of March.’

The faculty has proposed that each subject will be examined through the use of a conventional exam paper in which students will be required to ‘produce the usual number of answers for that paper. These exams will be happening on a ‘take-home’ basis, which the faculty has explained to mean that the exams will be open-book, meaning that students will have access to notes and other materials during the exam. They have assured that the exams will be marked in line with these conditions and that the papers will be reviewed before the exams to ensure that they fit these new circumstances.

Steps will be taken to ensure that the ‘integrity’ of the examination process is upheld and that it ‘fulfils the requirements of professional bodies in respect of the Qualifying Law Degree for Tripos students’. These examinations will look to make use of the Turnitin anti-plagiarism system and ethical guidance or an honour code may be issued with the exams. The faculty has also left open the possibility of holding vivas, which would be conducted via video-conferencing after work had been submitted, as another means of ensuring the integrity of the examination.


The email leaves some questions unanswered, as discussions relating to examinations are still ongoing.

The email acknowledges that it does not address all concerns which students may have, including the fact that access to materials will be varied as some students may have left textbooks and notes in their college accommodation. Other factors that the email notes as potentially disruptive to the examination process include: the fact that some students may not have a suitable place to work whilst completing a take-home assessment; the fact that some students may have inadequate internet access; and that, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, students may be unable to complete the assessment in the allocated time

The details of how the examinations will be logistically carried out remain unclear, as the department is still working in collaboration with the University to finalise these details. Further information has been promised as soon as it is available.

The department’s focus appears to be on Finalists, with the understanding that certain grades will need to be secured in order to gain places on postgraduate courses, training contracts, or to receive job offers.

Cover photo credit: Solipsist, Creative Commons License