Oxford Law: Tips & Questions for Interview

5 min read

In this article we will guide you on how to best prepare for your Oxford Law interview, with guides on past Oxford Law questions, interview tips, mock examples and real experiences from students who have sat the Oxford Law Panel interview.

The Law Faculty at Oxford University has created this video of a mock interview – it may be useful to watch, to get an idea of what the interview process will be like.

Oxford Law mock interview

What is the Oxford Law interview structure?

When you are interviewed at Oxford for Law, you will be invited to a particular college to interview. It is highly likely that you will receive two interviews at that college, to give you more chance to showcase your abilities. Furthermore, there is a chance that you will also be interviewed at a second college – though this will only be one interview, taking place a bit later in the week.

It is important to recognise that the Oxford Law interviews are not aimed towards testing your current legal knowledge – they will primarily consist of legally related questions and various intellectual logic puzzles (which will test your legal analysis skills). In some cases, you may be given an extract of a legal document (or something similar) to read beforehand, and discuss during the interview. Once again, this will not require you to have any prior knowledge of the law – they are testing how well you are able to learn from new information, and how well you might do as a law student (e.g., by testing your logical thinking skills). 

What are the Oxford Law interview dates?

It is expected that the Oxford Law interview dates for 2024 entry will take place in early December. Your first college interviews will take place at the beginning of December. You will then receive communication on whether you have second college interviews usually in the same week. These second college interviews will likely take place in the second week of December. It has not yet been communicated whether interviews will take place online via Microsoft Teams or in person. 

Example Past Questions from Oxford Law interview

General questions:

  • Why choose Law?
  • Is there a particular reason you chose to apply to Oxford?
  • Why Law at Oxford specifically?
  • Questions concerning areas in your personal statement, such as books you have read.

Case study questions:

  • Giving you a scenario and asking how you would handle it, or what law you might write to deal with the situation
  • Giving you a short piece of writing to read and discuss
  • Giving you a legal rule, then telling you a situation and asking how you would apply the rule

Oxford Law Example Questions:

  • Running a red light: Running a red light in the middle of the night on an empty road is illegal. Should this be the case?
  • Locked room: My friend locks me in a room, telling me I can come out if I pay them £5. Is this a deprivation of freedom?
  • Taking a car: What does it mean for me to ‘take’ someone else’s car? (Consider: can I take a car if I do not drive it away?)
  • Giving you a longer piece to read prior to the interview, which will then be discussed during the interview
  • Marmalade in eggs: A wife has expressed previously to her husband her extreme distaste for putting marmalade in eggs at breakfast. He continues to do so. Is this grounds for divorce?
  • Can you imagine a world without laws?
  • School uniform: Is making children wear school uniform breaching their human rights?
  • Bank dilemma: I go to the bank, and the bank manager tells me I have £100 in my account. I then go out and spend £100, given the bank manager’s information. However, the manager was incorrect, and I actually only had £90. Who is at fault here? Should I have to pay the bank back?
  • Questions concerning the definitions of certain things – such as a criminal act – and breaking this definition down. E.g., looking at the definition of ‘murder’ as “intentionally causing the death of someone else”.
Free Oxbridge Interview Scenarios

    Insider Guides: Oxford Law Interview

    What happens on the day of your Oxford Law interview? 

    I had interviews in person – while yours maybe be online, so your experience may be a little different. The interviews themselves will be the same, but I was staying in Oxford and the college I interviewed at (Christ Church) held events for the students staying there, which I’m not sure you will have. The schedule of interviews was published at the beginning of the process on a board in the college – this will likely be sent to you online ahead of time. I just arrived at the assigned room on time for the interview, and all went as planned.

    What do you have to bring to your Oxford Law interview?

    We were not allowed any personal items, and had to leave our phones outside of the interview room. I would recommend you have a pen and some paper with you in case you need to scribble anything down during the interview. The dress code was smart casual.

    What is the Oxford Law interview setting and how long is it?

    I attended two interviews at Christ Church, and each of them was in a separate room of a different professor. The setting in both interviews was very informal, we were all sitting in armchairs and couches around a coffee table. Each one lasted around 45-50 minutes.

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    What are the Oxford Law interviewers like? 

    In the first interview I had, the interviewers were extremely friendly and welcoming. They really made me feel comfortable and confident about my performance. Meanwhile, the second interview was very cold and a bit difficult to navigate. I remember that after one of my answers, the professor remarked that everything I said was wrong! This totally put me off track until the end of the interview.

    The interviewers asked questions from a generic pre-determined list, but at times they would ask a follow-up based on my responses.

    What are the best tips for planning my trip for my Oxford Law interview?

    The college should provide you with all relevant information in that regard ahead of time, so you won’t be confused about anything. If you do have any questions, make sure to email/ring someone to gain some clarity! Everyone was very friendly and helpful during my interviews.

    Are there any academic or challenging Law questions at the Oxford interview?

    Many of the questions were challenging – things like providing me with hypothetical legal scenarios and asking me to evaluate whether the defendant would be guilty of criminal damage, based on an extract from the Criminal Damage Act 1971, which they gave me a few minutes to read.

    Are there any personality, work experience or extracurricular based Law questions at the Oxford interview? 

    I was asked about my personal statement – to clarify why I chose to apply to Law over PPE or another politics-focussed degree, since I had made several allusions to politics in my personal statement. I was also asked about my extracurriculars – they asked what key skills I had developed through my extracurriculars (MUN, volunteering, playing tennis), and how they can help me to thrive in Oxford, both academically and in the wider student community.

    Top Tips for the Oxford Law interview

    1. Familiarise yourself with possible case study formats – namely, analysing a legal case or commenting on hypotheticals based on a piece of legislation.
    2. Come off as enthusiastic, but not overly keen and naive – studying law is difficult, so don’t downplay it. 
    3. Really find a unique and personal explanation for the ‘why law?’ question. When asked ‘why law?’, lots of students go on to argue why they don’t want to study history/PPE/classics/etc., as opposed to uncovering their interest in legal scholarship. 
    4. Link your responses to personal experiences from your work experience, extracurriculars, and academics. 
    5. Make sure you know any book or legal case inside out if you mentioned them in your personal statement.

    Top Tips for the “Why Oxford” interview question

    1. I focused on the tutorial system at Oxford
    2. Personally, I also prefer Oxford’s examination system, where you sit all exams at the end of the final year, as opposed to taking them each year. 
    3. You can also look at the courses offered within the Law degree at Oxford, and consider whether any of them are particularly interesting to you.

    My favourite thing about studying Law at Oxford University

    My favourite thing is the possibility to dig into a specific topic as much as I want. For example, I really disliked some of my private law subjects (e.g. trusts), but I could spend ages reading about administrative law, and my professor was very supportive in stimulating my interest in public law.

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