The School of Law has recently communicated with sophister law students and informed them that all seminars “not subject to professional exams”, such as Commercial Law, will no longer take place for the rest of Hilary Term. The message stated that the cause was attributed to “funding cutbacks in the Law school”.
Speaking to Trinity News, Head of the School and Regius Professor of Laws, Mark Bell stated: “It has been Law School practice for some years that, whereas seminars are provided for all junior and senior fresh modules in the school, they are only provided for a limited number of sophister modules.”
The 2020-21 Law handbook promised “additional seminars in the second semester” for eight sophister modules. However, given that the school has cancelled seminars for modules that are “not subject to professional exams”, students that have chosen Commercial Law and Private Law Remedies will have no such seminars for the rest of Hilary Term.
In lieu of the live seminars, the school has instead “uploaded details of what would be covered in such seminars” and suggests that students “engage with the material and questions posed independently”.
One senior sophister law student has shared their concerns about student engagement dwindling since several interactive classes will be cancelled, saying: “Seminars have always helped me to engage with topics in a deeper way and to consider alternative viewpoints. I also think Zoom sessions with smaller groups would be valuable at a time when we’re all starved for social interaction.The cutback is disappointing, especially considering course fees remain the same.”
Another law student commented: “I don’t blame Trinity as much as I blame the government [for the lack of funding]. I am just mad at the government for forcing Trinity to be a degree factory rather than an actual place of learning.”
This delay in communication came as a surprise to sophister law students taking the non-professional law modules. A junior sophister law student has attributed the timetable change to “miscommunication between lecturers”.
Junior and senior fresher law students are unaffected by the timetable changes and funding cutbacks since seminars will continue as normal until the end of Hilary Term for first and second year students.