Sample LNAT Essay and Advice
The Essay forms an important part of the LNAT. Students often underestimate it, yet certain Universities place quite a considerable emphasis on the Essay in the admissions process. Head over to our Guide about LNAT Universities & Required Scores to find out more (we recommend paying attention to the official LNAT Essay mark scheme as released by University of Oxford).
Having said that, performing well in your Essay will be of great advantage to your application. The tutors are looking for candidates who possess a high level of written skill, since the study of Law revolves around delivering exceptional written arguments. Furthermore, law exams are famously known for consisting of hours dedicated to writing essays in a summative format.
To write a great essay, you need to practise under timed conditions, be well-versed on various topics, and continually analyse your performance. In particular, you should consider the following suggestions:
Choose your strongest arguments by evaluating them before you start writing. Ask yourself, whether there is any theme to your arguments? If so, try to be thematic.
This is absolutely essential for a cogent essay. You want the essay to flow logically, and build up on points towards a genuine conclusion at the very end. Adopt paragraphs, which end with cohesive mini-conclusions.
Vital, but keep it brief. It is not about dazzling the tutor, it is about setting up the argumentative plane and defining the concepts.
Be concise and succinct
Often, the best essays manage to express the strongest of points in less than 500 words. Your aim is to deliver the essence of the issue with some rhetorical flair – the antithesis of ‘fluff’.
Are you arguing from a point of values/principles? Are you using scientific evidence?. Refrain from ‘making stuff up’.
You are not writing a dry argument, but attempting to prove why the adopted position is indeed undeniably the right one.
Sample LNAT Essay
We advise that you use this essay as an opportunity for analysis: consider its strengths and weaknesses, consider any counter-arguments you may have etc.
Question: Should people accused of a criminal offence retain anonymity?
“The Criminal Justice System is predicated on the supposition of innocence until guilt is proven in a court of law. This principle applies whether the defendant is known to the public and hence subject to public prejudices, or wholly anonymous prior to the alleged offence. I believe and shall argue that, wherever possible, the anonymity of the accused ought to be persevered. My reasons for thinking so are several; that the legal process must be as free from bias as is feasible; that the public interest is not served by the publishing of the accused’s identity and that the right of the individual to privacy would be breached in the publication.
First, one must consider what is the nature of the legal process; it is a dialectic process in which the prosecutor must prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt; the defence must either cast doubt on the case of the prosecution or prove the defendant’s innocence outright. This will require the gathering of many articles of evidence and an extensive familiarity with the facts pertinent to the case, as well as the stipulations of the law and the precedents set by previous cases. It would be antithetical to the very nature of the legal process to allow public prejudice to colour the legal proceedings, as it potentially would in the case that the defendant’s anonymity was compromised. A beloved darling of the people would excite a general clamour in his or her defence; a public pariah would arouse the most damning of execration.
A public bias is no less heinous than any other sort of bias and it could be argued that in magnitude it far outweighs the others. Thus, the objectivity of the court, which must be assumed a priori, can only be degraded by the general knowledge of the accused’s identity and can never be served by it. The accused ought only to be tried by a court and never by mob or media.
Second, any action by a public body, such as the police or the judiciary, ought to be in service of the public interest. It is in the public interest to seek the perpetrator of a crime, as it is to punish those found guilty and to publish their names so that they may be known as criminals to the public whom they have offended. It is hard to see how the publication of an accused person’s identity can serve the public good. In the event that they are innocent, the accused will be forever the subject of suspicion in certain quarters and may suffer reprisals from members of the public who are not satisfied by the outcome of the trial. In the event that the accused is guilty, then their guilt will be published and the public will thereby learn all of the relevant details. This is not to suggest that criminal cases ought to be tried in secret courts; persons with an intimate connection either to the accused or the victim ought to be entitled to observe the proceedings, in which case the preservation of anonymity becomes a matter of individual conscience.
Third, the individual who has been accused must be afforded the general right to privacy. Legally speaking man acquitted a hundred times is as innocent as a man acquitted but once or never prosecuted at all, but the public rarely considers criminal matters from a legal perspective; if it were so, then courts would hardly be necessary. It is precisely because certain elements of the public are quick to judge and often liable to punish unjustly that a legal system is required in order to provide due process and to prevent the miscarriage of justice. The circumstances of a crime may excite unease and discontentment in many and a person may never escape the taint of having once been accused of a crime of which they were never guilty. In some cases, suspects have been killed prior to their trials; most notably, perhaps is Lee Harvey Oswald, thanks to whose death we may never know the true circumstances of the terrible crime of which he stood accused.
In conclusion, I reaffirm the importance of anonymity in the case of a criminal accusation. For whilst the public is entitled to know the identity of criminals who threaten their security and against whom the state has levied punishment, it is imperative that we presume the defendant to be innocent until guilt is confessed or proved. Upon this principle we may hope to preserve the objectivity of the court and the dignity of the accused.”
There is no exhaustive list that will allow you to write amazing essays. It is truly the case of ‘practice makes perfect’ (and being widely read!). So maybe you are tempted to write an answer to this sample LNAT Essay Question?
Well, Arbitio allows you to do just that: we have developed an Essay Writing Simulator that accurately recreates the LNAT exam environment and provided you with 20+ Questions on a variety of topics reflective of the LNAT curriculum. The Model Answers to each Essay Question will help you see what good essay writing is all about, with some salient points you may wish to adopt into your argumentative arsenal. The subscription includes Essay Marking Service, where one of our tutors will deliver detailed feedback on an essay of your choice.