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Glanville Williams: Learning the Law [Paperback]

ATH Smith
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 July 2010 0414041739 978-0414041738 14th Revised edition
First published in 1945, Glanville Williams: Learning the Law has been introducing students to the 'foundation' skills needed to study law effectively for more than sixty years. Presenting an overview of the English Legal System and covering the essential legal skills that students need to master if they want to succeed both in their legal studies and in their future careers, this is a must-have book for all new law students!

Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Sweet & Maxwell; 14th Revised edition edition (27 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0414041739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0414041738
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Essential reading for anyone embarking on the study of law or on a course that includes an element of law.An excellent introduction to the methods and skills of the law. Beautifully written and gives a sense of historical importance to the law...prepares the student extremely well for legal studies. --New Law Journal

About the Author

Professor A T Smith LLD is Professor of Criminal and Public Laws, University of Cambridge and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tinkety-tonk and super-duper!! 12 Aug 2005
Useful...insightful...and at times entertaining!!
And if you have read past those first three words of summary then you are probably the sort of person who will go on to study the law...and Glanville would be happy to welcome you on into the profession. He wasn't a fan of trite summaries (especially in law reports) and there is no doubt that this book doesn't attempt to summarise anything much. It is an introduction.
Useful in that it ties up some of the most basic misunderstandings about the law - I mean, when do you actually sue someone (as opposed to prosecuting them)? And where do you go to do it? And how much does a barrister pay for his/her wig and gown??
Insightful in that he clearly knows his stuff. Well you would if you were an eminent Cambridge professor.
And entertaining in it's language. Reading through the flowery prose is a bit like a day trip to Kew Gardens, but if you can get past his yesteryear academic quaintness it is well worth it. Glanville was obviously a bit like a pushy mum or a perfectionist dad shouting from the sidelines of the footie pitch - at one point he even suggests how to take notes in lectures and even offers his own version of a completely obvious shorthand; e.g. Crown Prosecution Service could be abbreviated to CPS - well duh! But then he's off into explaining Latin and French terms or the foundations of the European Community. So pick and choose the bits you think are worth reading. I missed out huge chunks but found the rest useful.
It's for the beginner so if you are about to start a law degree, a CPE, are still at college or are considering a career change then it's worth it. It has been updated but alas by another crusty Cambridge professor. I'm sure the editor thinks it's not just a super-duper old text but also a tip-top revision. Smashing! Enjoy with a buttered scone and a nice pot of earl grey. Afterall, it's better than any other title on the market by a country mile.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good starter book for law students 21 Mar 2004
I bought this book to give me a understanding of the world of law before I started my law degree, and it has been of great benefit. As this book sets out how the law world works and a the processes that go on in it. I really recommend this book to anyone starting a law degree or simply just wanting to expand their knowledge of the law world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How I Learnt the Law 9 Aug 2010
By Phillip Taylor TOP 1000 REVIEWER
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE of Richmond Green Chambers

Do you remember what was described as that old chestnut, the `guide, philosopher and friend' called `Learning the Law' from the 1960s? I do... and I am happy to say that the Cambridge Professor, ATH Smith, has produced the very best effort for a new edition after an absence of 20 years. It is rightly described as essential reading for all potential lawyers, whether sixth-form students or graduates contemplating the study of law, or those considering career options. Whenever you are asked - what is the best book to start on if you want to know a bit about the English legal system?

The answer will be "Glanville Williams: Learning the Law". Much of the original text survives but Professor Smith has given much needed emphasis to the new legal agenda of the early twenty-first century - gone are the old, archaic references - and in come new, thrusting European Union law provisions which will warm the heart of the most die-hard Eurosceptic.

I like chapter 14 the best - it is entitled `General Reading'. It gives the best bibliography available for the range of works on the market for those who love the subject of law as much as some of the writers quoted clearly did. To read `Learning the Law' is an unforgettable experience. Thank you, Professor Smith, for bridging the twenty-year gap.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing introduction to Law 9 Oct 2003
This book should be made compulsary reading for all beginner law students, people who want sue and of course, people like me who needed to touch on law for their non-law based degree course.
The book is so readable, entertaining and moreso immensly factual and to the point. No more trawling through irrelevant websites or thick law textbooks, this book will give you the grounding to commence your study of basic law processes and the legal system as a whole. Well worth a read!!!
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh no! 29 July 2004
Oh dear! My favourite book from the days when I studied law with a three star rating? A book I've given several times to potential law students as a present! Why? Well, Glanville Williams' brilliant, timeless book has been savaged in a revision far more radical than it needed to be. Unfortunately, the revisor, Smith, has managed to produce a schizophrenic volume, trying to combine Glanville Wiliams' elegant and timeless style (as Smith himself thinks it) with a modernism and political correctness in the revision that undermines the values of the original. Please, Mr. Smith, do write a replacement, by all means, for this book, but do it in your own style, as this curate's egg will not do! My advice to any student of law is to get this book (this version is better than no Glanville Williams, I think) - but if you can get a second-hand copy of the 11th edition, you'll find it a far pleasanter read. (A particular gripe - why did Smith retain the pompous Victorian ditty for remembering the British Reginal list, and excise the shorter, more amusing and therefore more memorable version?)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite useful 3 Oct 2011
By jess
I bought this book before starting my law degree and found it very helpful in terms of explaining the basics of how to use a law library, what common citations mean and how the system of law reporting works. A lot of people say that the book is too difficult for beginners, butI wouldn't necessarily say that. It may be a little bit heavy going at first, especially if you have never studied law before, but the language is quite accessible and if you read through it 2 or 3 times before your course (the book is relatively short) you will find it very helpful as general background reading for when you arrive, so you are at least somewhat familiar with law reports and how to find material facts of a case etc. A useful reference work to have on your shelf thorughout your degree.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and down to earth. USEFUL!!
This is a law classic perfect for anyone wanting to study law or practice law. It is written in a very user friendly down to earth way and is full of useful hints, tips,... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Carl Wolstenholme
3.0 out of 5 stars Average Book
This was on my recommended reading book for University, however I found it useless - don't get me wrong here though, service of sale was great
Published 9 months ago by KyleT
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introductory text
Good for getting you into what's involved in studying law. Very useful as a means of finding out what's involved if you want to take the subject further.
Published 11 months ago by Margaret Hersee
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing
Trying to put you off law. And you haven't to read the full book jut certain chapters throughout your course. If you haven't let the chapters put you off starting your law course
Published 11 months ago by Rc
5.0 out of 5 stars A good refresher for those needing to brush up
The book delivers everything a non law professional and law student needs. My first non specialised law book purchase in 25 years; concise, well laid out and excellent value for... Read more
Published 12 months ago by nicola williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introductory Guide!
If you're buying for early study for the GDL, bear in mind this book will seem a little confusing to begin with. However it's a great introductory text and well worth the cost
Published 12 months ago by Pete Snow
3.0 out of 5 stars tough read
If like me you were pondering whether to study law or not at university, this book may scare you a bit. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Louise
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introductory book
If you're planning on studying law in the near future I would heartily recommend buying this book and reading it through BEFORE your course begins. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mr. S. E. Crabtree
5.0 out of 5 stars Law book
This is a good first book for those starting out in a law career and as such is recommended
by universities.
Published 15 months ago by BAZ
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good introduction to the law as both an academic subject and a...
It's a really good introduction to the law as both an academic subject and a profession.
It covers all the major topics around studying and getting into the legal profession... Read more
Published 15 months ago by sooyun
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