All law students at Magdalen, undergraduate and graduate alike, are subscribing members of the Atkin Society, which takes its name from Lord Atkin, the Magdalen lawyer who is best remembered for his famous judgment in Donoghue v Stevenson, the case of the snail in the ginger beer bottle ( AC 562).
This thriving organisation promotes closer links between students at all levels of study, their tutors, and also the profession. Magdalen is one of the strongest colleges for law and usually has over thirty undergraduates and fifteen graduates in residence. The highlight of the year is the Atkin Society Dinner Moot, before enjoying a fine meal, four students argue points of law based on a fictitious set of facts. The moot is heard by a distinguished judge. Past judges have included distinguished Magdalen graduates such as Lord Denning, Lord Keith and Lord Browne-Wilkinson, and eminent judges such as Lord Hoffmann, Lord Mackay, Lord Neuberger and Lord Scott.
The Atkin Society is run by an annually elected student committee and therefore its activities tend to vary. The students organise and cook a Christmas dinner which tends to become more elaborate every year. They also arrange other social events in and around Oxford, the occasional speaker evening, a group photograph and for chambers and firms to provide careers information.
Students are also active in the University Law Society but it is the Atkin Society which helps to make the lawyers a close-knit group within the College. Magdalen’s separate Law Library provides them with a natural meeting place and is where entries in the infamous Atkin Society Book are made throughout the year.