Writing a Law Dissertation To Length
Usually law dissertations have a word limit, which are designed to make you think carefully about how to organise and illustrate your answer.
Check with your institution whether references, footnotes and/or bibliography are included in the word count.
In law assignments, word limits are often restrictive so that you develop concise writing skills and omit any irrelevant material – every sentence counts and you will need to sustain a sharp focus on the question and limiting any tangential discussion.
To keep within the word limit, you will need to:
- Limit yourself only to the relevant issues and ideas.
- Select and use only relevant material, legal authority and examples, using only one source for each point made (unless you have an unlimited word count for references).
- Reword concepts from source material very concisely, making the relevance of each source very clear.
With law essays, you should give priority to primary source material – statutes, statutory instruments and cases. Journals and Halsbury’s Laws of England are secondary source materials – this means that although they describe the law, they are not the law; and sometimes they are wrong!
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