Common Law Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Common Law?

Common law is defined as a body of legal rules that have been made by judges as they issue rulings on cases, as opposed to rules and laws that are made by the legislature or official statutes.

Common law influences the decision-making process in unusual cases where the outcome cannot be determined based on existing statutes or written rules of law. Common law is typically based on legal precedents or previous outcomes of cases established by the courts

Common law has no statutory basis; judges establish common law through written opinions that are binding on future decisions of lower courts in the same jurisdiction. Common law changes over time and can be adapted based on case specifics and new notions in current society.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Common Law courses in the following subject areas:

  • Diploma in Law – Further your knowledge of the law to enhance your current role or for those who wish to progress further with a career in law.
  • Diploma in Family Law – Gain a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of family law.
  • Diploma in Criminal Law & Practice – Gain the knowledge and skills to advocate on behalf of clients in court; advise clients effectively in Garda custody and other criminal law practices.
  • Diploma in Education Law – Gain an excellent understanding of the key employment law issues relevant to the school setting, school structures, and governance arrangements.
  • Certificate in Immigration Law and Practice – The study of immigration, law, and practices related to immigration.
  • Diploma in Environmental and Planning Law – The study of the overall structure of environmental and planning law in Ireland and the role of the organizations entrusted with overseeing the implementation of same.
  • Certificate in Property Law and Conveyancing for Legal Executives – The study of conveyancing transactions and property law.
  • BA (Hons) Business Law – Gain an integrated, balanced and flexible business education and develop your business, legal and personal skills.
  • Employment Law Essentials – The study of the principles of employment law and the key obligations and constraints placed on managing an employment relationship.
  • Introduction to Irish Business Structure and Law – Gain an essential grounding in the basics of business structure and law.
  • Legal Secretary: An Introduction to Irish Law – This course will help you gain valuable insight and practical experience of the role and responsibilities of a Legal Secretary.
  • Legal Secretary: Criminal Law In Ireland – A focus on Criminal Law with the context of a criminal law department.

Studying Common Law in college

Many Common Law courses take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover all theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or shadowing a judge or volunteering to help with pro-bono work through non-profit legal organizations. If you’d like to get some work experience that is directly related to the legal profession, you could do a mini-pupillage. This involves work shadowing that usually lasts for one week in a set of chambers.

If you’d like to consider something outside of the legal profession then work experience in property development, the banking and financial sector, or HR departments in businesses can be useful. Taking on positions of responsibility through student groups will provide a good experience. Joining your university law society will also be helpful, as well as anything else that gives you an insight into legal practices and the workings of the law.

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and demonstrate to employers that you have the skills that they are looking for.

Career options

After completing a course in Common Law you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the law and the court system.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a firm with set business hours or if you are self-employed. The hours are usually full-time, Monday to Friday. You should expect to work some evenings, and although weekend or shift work is uncommon you will likely be doing research or working on documents after hours and over the weekend to meet deadlines and defined dates.

If you qualify as a solicitor, you can work in several different legal practices. The widest caseloads come from Private Practices, which cover criminal, family, probate, and business law. Opportunities are available through the local and national government and large organizations often have in-house legal teams.

If you become a barrister, it’s likely you’ll be self-employed and will be a tenant in a set of chambers.

Related jobs include:

  • Arbitrator
  • Barrister
  • Barrister’s clerk
  • Chartered legal executive
  • Company secretary
  • Costs lawyer
  • Licensed conveyancer
  • Paralegal
  • Solicitor
  • Civil Service administrator
  • Data analyst
  • Data scientist
  • External auditor
  • Forensic computer analyst
  • Human resources officer
  • Mediator
  • Patent attorney
  • Political risk analyst
  • Stockbroker
  • Trading standards officer

Further study

After completing a course in Common Law you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Accountancy, HR, Marketing and Business, Investment banking, Legal publishing, Management consultancy, the Police Service, or Politics.


Are there any specific skills that would be beneficial for a career in Law?

A law degree covers the foundation subjects that are required for entry into the legal profession. But the understanding of legal implications and obligations, combined with the ability to apply this knowledge in practice is valuable in many parts of the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Research skills using a range of sources, including verbal questioning, are an important part of a legal career as well as analytical and evaluation skills and the ability to interpret and explain complex information clearly. You should have the ability to formulate sound arguments, lateral thinking and problem-solving skills, and the ability to write concisely.

It is also important to have confident and persuasive oral communication skills and attention to detail and the ability to draft formal documents with precision.

Where can I study Common Law?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· The Tippling Act of 1735 stated that no landlord could claim money owed for alcohol consumed.

· It is illegal for a student to walk through the grounds of Trinity College without carrying a sword. Although it seems this rule has never been imposed, it remains written in its law.

· According to the Brehon Laws, a cow must not come in contact with wild dogs or pirates.

· Leprechauns are a protected species under EU law. Leprechauns have been protected by a European Directive since 2009.

· The Cinemas Order was enacted in 1991 in observation of the Sabbath, whereby people can be fined £50 by taking a trip to see the latest blockbuster. It is, in fact, technically illegal to attend the cinema in North Ireland on Sunday.

Mariza Halliday

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