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Legal Skills

Ninth Edition

Dr Stefan Fafinski and Dr Emily Finch

14 July 2023

ISBN: 9780192873088

560 pages

Price: £37.99

The number one best-selling legal skills guide, covering all the practical and acadmic skills a student needs throughout their studies.



Legal Skills is the essential text for students new to law, helping them make the transition from secondary education and equipping them with the skills they need to succeed from the beginning of their degree, through to final-year exams and dissertations.

  • Written in an accessible and friendly style, structured in three parts: Sources of Law, Academic Legal Skills, and Practical Legal Skills
  • Self-test questions and practical activities throughout allow students to take a hands-on approach to learning a wide range of legal skills
  • Diagrams, screenshots and examples used frequently to illustrate key concepts
  • Accompanied by comprehensive online resources which include an extensive range of videos, multiple choice questions, and answers to the self-test questions and practical exercises from the book
  • Also available as an e-book enhanced with self-assessment activities and multi-media content to offer a fully immersive experience and extra learning support

New to this edition

  • New chapter on drafting skills, introducing writing skills necessary in legal practice
  • New 'skills beyond study' feature which helps students identify the transferability of legal skills
  • New section on reflecting on skills, including personal development planning, doing a skills audit, transferable skills, and commercial awareness
  • New section on taking care of yourself during the assessment period and how to find support for mental health and accessibility
  • Expanded guidance on essay planning and essay structure, and further examples to illustrate choosing a dissertation topic
  • Updated coverage of the impact of Brexit and retained EU law
  • Videos on presentation, mooting, and negotiation refreshed

About the Author(s)

Dr Stefan Fafinski and Dr Emily Finch

Emily Finch is an experienced law lecturer who teaches Criminal Law, Cybercrime and Legal Systems at the University of Surrey. She has a particular interest in finding innovative ways to help students to develop the skills that they need to study law successfully. Her overarching research interest is in public perceptions of crime and criminality and the impact of technology on criminal activities, especially the criminogenic impact of the internet. She has a particular interest in jury decision-making and has conducted a number of empirical studies that explore the factors that influence jury verdicts in rape, theft and fraud trials. Her current research focus in on dishonesty and the ability of the criminal law to penalise those who cause emotional harm to others.

Stefan Fafinski has been involved in legal education for over 20 years. His current focus areas as a practitioner are public law, prison law and family law.. He is a member of the Parole Board for England and Wales where he chairs hearings and determines public law applications for reconsideration and set-aside. He also sits in the Family Court.

Table of Contents

    PART I: Getting Started: Sources of Law
    1: Getting started
    2: Legislation
    3: Finding legislation
    4: Using legislation
    5: Case law
    6: Finding cases
    7: Using cases
    8: Books, journals, and official publications
    9: Finding books, journals, and official publications
    PART II: Academic Legal Skills
    10: Studying
    11: Writing
    12: Legal reasoning and ethics
    13: Referencing and avoiding plagiarism
    14: Essay writing
    15: Answering problem questions
    16: Revision and examination skills
    17: Dissertations
    PART III: Practical Legal Skills
    18: Presentation skills
    19: Mooting skills
    20: Negotiation skills
    21: Drafting skills


"A stylish and compact book; clear and easy to navigate with useful diagrams in an approachable and engaging format." - Vince Pescod, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Law

"Clear and practical for all law students—the perfect accompaniment to an LLB. " - Ellen Winchester, Senior Lecturer in Law, Anglia Ruskin University

"The picture of the lifebelt on the cover sums up the ethos of the book perfectly—I wish I had had access to this when I was a student. " - Laura Sharp, Lecturer in Law, The Robert Gordon University

"This is an excellent book; it is written accessibly and has a really helpful mix of diagrams, figures and text. It is comprehensive in its coverage, but the level of detail is sufficient for students in later years to return to it as a useful reference." - Dr Ben Hudson, Lecturer in Law, University of Exeter

"Very well-structured, with clear learning outcomes and chapter summaries available for each chapter." - Dr Özgür H. Çinar, Professor of Law and Deputy Head of School of Law and Criminology, University of Greenwich

Additional Resources

The ninth edition is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats, and is supported by online resources.
- The e-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access along with embedded self-assessment activities, and multi-media content including a series of supportive videos and links that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks
- The study tools that enhance the e-book are all also available as stand-alone online resources for use alongside the print book. They include answers to the self-test questions and practical exercises from the book, and a glossary of all the keywords and terms used. There is also an extensive range of videos with guidance on topics from what to expect from lectures and tutorials, how to research for essays and structure problem questions, to examples of good and bad practice in mooting and negotiations.
- These resources have been developed to enhance students' understanding of and engagement with the text, bring aspects of it to life, and help develop legal skills further.

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