Before beginning your undergraduate Law degree course here at Birmingham you may be wondering if there is anything you could be doing to prepare. Catherine Vincent recommends several ideas for prospective Law with French Law students.

If you want to know a bit more about the French law making process and about a very influential French female politician, I would recommend the film La loi, which takes place in France in 1974. Simone Veil is in the position of Minister of health and the film is about the three days during which she would passionately defend a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion in front of the Assemblée Nationale, mostly made up of conservative catholic men.

If you are more into tv-series, two of my favourite French series in recent years :

  • Spiral, which is a truly compelling French police/judicial drama series set in Paris and its suburbs, which depicts the French justice system quite accurately through the life of a prosecutor, a lawyer, investigating judges and a team of police officers (especially in the first season). The series shed an interesting light on the relations between the judiciary and the executive. You might need English subtitles to watch it as there is quite a lot of French slang.
  • The Bureau: a brilliant French foreign espionage thriller series.

For a bit of fun, if you want to read something light and absurd with some historical references, I would recommend the comic book De Gaulle à la plage

To develop your reading skills in French, I would read an article from a French newspaper such as Le MondeLibérationLe FigaroLe Monde diplomatiqueLes Echos or Le Canard Enchaîné, every day.

As it might be difficult to go to France this summer, I would recommend listening regularly to French podcasts of your choice from the RadioFrance app to improve your listening skills. 

Finally, TV5Monde offers a free and interactive website for practising your French through videos, programs and news reports with more than 2000 free online exercises to improve your oral comprehension, enrich your vocabulary and test your grammatical knowledge.

Screenshot from French website
Dr Catherine Vincent, Birmingham Law School

Catherine Vincent obtained her first degree in law from the University of Paris-X Nanterre. She studied for her LLM at the University of Texas Birmingham Law School in Austin. Between 1995 and 1998 she worked in the legal departments of two French leading companies in Paris as an in-house lawyer. 

Catherine teaches modules including 'Introduction to French Law' and 'Introduction to French Property Law'.