Cambridge criminal law exam – what’s all the fuss about

I saw this piece of overblown stupidity was doing the rounds earlier. Everywhere.

horrific question in law exam

cambridge law exam question

What’s all the fuss about?

As an undergraduate, I don’t remember answering a question on sexual offences (despite it being on the syllabus) but I do remember that some of the questions around murder / offences against the person on the exam paper I sat were quite graphically worded. Not jaw-dropping, mind you, just the kind to trigger a supressed grin. We’ve all had that reaction sitting an exam, right?

But here’s the point: any law student studying criminal law has already been subjected to far worse material detailing graphic injuries, mutilations, extremely ripe language and all the rest - simply by virtue of reading case law. (Seriously, I’ve read stuff in law reports that would make a whore blush).

It goes with the territory, sadly. And besides – give them a little credit. Law students are made of tougher stuff than people seem to think; they aren’t going to be scarred for life from an exam question reflecting life in the real world. Heck, they were probably up to worse themselves the night before the exam anyway in those lewd frat houses that plague all UK universities. (Some of the sounds that used to come from the room above me when I stayed in halls as a first year undergraduate were VERY suspicious!!).

As for the argument that such a question “misrepresents university societies”, we all know bizarre initiation rituals go on (it’s called turning a blind eye). Personally, some of the exploits you hear from an average Freshers’ Week are far worse than any sadomasochistic rituals that that can be dreamt up for an exam paper.

And at least the characters in the question weren’t based on characters from popular TV programmes. When I sat my contract law exam, nearly ten years ago now, I remember one of the questions concerned a chap called Phil Mitchell, one called Ian Beale and some other cockney urchin from that fictitious segment of the East End.

Now that’s “horrific”.


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