What Makes a Good Law School? The Law School Rankings UK

Law school rankings for the UK can vary according to your source, but we are here to explain the differences and what to look out for.

Last Updated: 26th November 2018

Author: Chloe Hewitt

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The UK Law School rankings are a popular way to assess all the courses available.

From this prospective students gain valuable insight into the course and the universities. The UK Law School rankings vary according to your source, so it is essential to know what to look out for. 

Overall Law School Rankings

When it comes to UK universities, three major independent ranking tables are compiled annually: 

Each of these outlets uses its own scoring system to rank universities and university courses, including Law. There are over 100 entries in each list, which you can find on their respective website, so we’ve compiled the top five Law Schools from each list for 2023. 

Complete University Guide Law School Rankings 2023
The Complete University Guide 2023 Law School Rankings
The Guardian Law School Rankings 2023
The Guardian 2023 Law School Rankings
Times Higher Education Law School Rankings 2023
Times Higher Education 2023 rankings, showing the comparison between UK and global positions

So what can we determine from these rankings? Firstly, as expected, Oxford and Cambridge will always be found in the top two Law Schools in the UK, with Cambridge consistently taking the top spot. This does vary from year to year, but you will always find Oxbridge in at least the top five, if not the top two. 

Beyond that, the rest of the top five are also very consistent with UCL and the London School of Economics (LSE) both appearing in every list. The fifth spot of each list also contains a Scottish law school, with Times being the only one to feature Edinburgh.

How To Use Law School Rankings

When considering the tables, it is important to remember there are more factors to take into consideration than the university being acclaimed. Entry standards, student satisfaction and graduate prospects are a few examples that are considered. 

You should also be aware of what the content of the course is. There is no point applying for somewhere purely because it is ranked highly when it does not cover topics relevant to you. A notable example of this is the University of Glasgow – which is currently ranked fifth by both The Complete University Guide and The Guardian – because it is a Scottish university, it is crucial to be aware of the difference in their courses.

The Scots Law course is fine for those wishing to practice in Scotland. However, they also offer a Common Law course covering jurisdictions such as England and Wales, Ireland, Canada, the USA and even India.  

Therefore, it is crucial when you look at the rankings to consider where you actually wish to practice Law and subsequently what you want to get out of your degree. 

Early preparation is the key to securing your place to study Law at Oxbridge. 

Our expert tutors are on hand to help you craft the perfect Personal Statement, achieve a highly competitive LNAT score and teach you how to Interview effectively.

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More Than Just Numbers

Though the tables are presented with the “best” at the top, that may not be what you are looking for with your degree. 

The Guardian and Complete University Guide rankings allow you to re-order the league tables according to criteria that are important to you, such as staff-to-student ratio, student satisfaction, and graduate prospects. By being able to filter the tables in this way, you can best determine what university is suited to you. 

UK Law Schools vs International

The prestige of the university’s law school is obviously important, although not an essential aspect. However, it ca certainly be a good judge of a law school’s quality, as they must meet a certain expectations to achieve such a high reputation.

The Times World Law School University Rankings regularly place Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics, and other London universities among the top in the world. This means you can be assured of a world-class education in law that employers will respect.

The Times World Law School rankings also factor in other criteria not considered by The Guardian or The Complete University Guide – notably the ratio of male to female students. 

It is interesting to note from the table above that two internationals Law Schools often considered the most prestigious to attend – Havard and Yale – are ranked lower than Oxford and Cambridge and feature in seventh and ninth. 

What Are you Looking for In a Law Degree?

It may seem obvious, but with the masses of data and information these tables assess, it is essential to know what you want to get out of your time at university. Some considerations could be: 

  • Do you want a high staff to student ratio, as this is how you learn best?
  • Do you want the most prestigious Law School?
  • Do you want high student satisfaction?

Having these questions in mind will help you navigate the UK Law School rankings and ensure you get the most out of them. 

A Starting Point on Law Schools

Keep in mind that the UK Law School rankings should be really considered a starting point, from which you ought to carry out further research. 

One such point that may come up in research is the question of an LLB or a BA in Law. Neither Oxford nor Cambridge offer an LLB, meaning; students come out of their three years with a BA. 

For those wishing to continue onto a solicitor or barrister qualification will have to complete a conversion course in order to do so. 

There is a considerable debate around whether it is best to study Law at undergraduate level or take another subject and do a Law conversion. Honestly, the choice is really up to the student. They may like another subject and want to combine their love for both courses with a Law conversion, or they might be passionate about doing a wholly Law undergraduate degree. 

Another important step in the research is to see whether the university you are interested in requires the LNAT, which is used by 10 UK universities (including Oxford and Cambridge) during the application process for their Law courses. If it does, you’re going to have to ensure you get a good score in order to stand a good chance of getting an interview and offer. 

Ultimately the Law School rankings are a helpful tool that should be used as a springboard for further research, but they shouldn’t be the sole thing you consider when choosing. 


Take the rankings into consideration but do not decide solely on them. Use them to do further research and determine whether they meet the requirements you have laid out. They are an extremely useful tool for determining where certain universities excel over others and getting a general idea of the quality of the student experience. But they don’t serve as a definitive record of which law school is right for you – that’s something only you can decide with proper thought and research. 

What is key is that the only thing that matters is what works for you. What you are looking for might not be what someone else wants, which is absolutely fine. So consider the rankings but form your own opinions. 

Dreaming of studying Law at Oxbridge? Our expert tutors are on hand to guide you through the process. 

With our Oxbridge Law Premium Programme, we help you craft the perfect Personal Statement, achieve a highly competitive LNAT score and teach you how to Interview effectively.

Discover our Oxbridge Law Premium Programme by clicking the button below to enrol and triple your chances of success.

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