Entry 45

Alright I haven’t written anything for a while and that is entirely my fault, but I have no issue in doing so. Though the plan to leave a post for summary of the year so far did not happen, I am quite glad about it. Taking a break from it all and having some proper time to myself have given me a clearer idea of how I think the last term went and my thoughts about law in general.

Now as you may have noticed already this isn’t a normal blog post and I am going to tell you not bother to get your hopes up. While I do tend to write about law exclusively (and a bit about Tottenham), however it is my blog so I can start writing about anything I want to and I think you also need (need is a strong word, but I’m going to double down on this. Taking a leaf out of politics from the last decade: apologising doesn’t win votes) to see a more personal part me.

Now I went on a family trip to India, with it being my first trip to the sub-continent in over 12 years. 12 years is a bloody long time and when going back I some sort of idea what to suspect. My family (nuclear) have been traveling at least once a year or more for the same period, so I was not out of touch. I still watch Bollywood films (sometimes other parts of India cinema) and that gives you a view into cultural values or questions. I have followed the Indian cricket team for years and of course I watch the IPL, so cricket coverage provides me with some entertainment. I watch Gujarati news when at my grandparents (all I can say that it quite sad that FOX news style of interviews has taken hold). And there is the little thing called the internet, where you can follow all the latest news and see what is trending.  However, been the third culture kid that I am of course not Indian enough for the Indians (and I don’t really blame them).

On this trip, I ended up going to Gujarat for the first time ever and apart from learning that I have no kite flying ability what so ever, I was able to meet some of members of my family that I had only heard about. I spent my couple of says there going to various holy sites and saying my prayers. What was most striking for me was seeing the Kotecha Mandir and seeing a mapped-out version of the family tree which is has nearly a thousand years of history of the family. Then by hearing the story of the family which historically was based in Afghanistan and then after fleeing the region to Gujarat, there were 16 Kotecha families which can now be found almost anywhere in the world. It put me in my place from the chance of my family nearly being wiped of the face of the earth and never existing, to now me typing this up in the UK. I also got see the old village that my great-grandfather had left, before going to East Africa. Honestly, I don’t think I could blame him. The state of the village in the 21st century was in terms of services no better than I expected, but I was given the chance of leaving with work in another part of the world, I would have jumped at it. That being said, I do think that I’ll be heading back there in the near future, I still have family there and I would like to see them again. Finally, I was unable to the mandir in Virpur, though I we did spend 15 minutes in the town. It was either going to mandir or catching our flight, we choose the flight.

Following a rush to the airport, we went to Mumbai. Now I hadn’t return to the city in 12 years, there is one thing that had not changed during my absence. The smell. Mumbai still has that smell that I had not forgotten and no image can prepare you for. Since, I have already seen Mumbai’s tourist hotspots before, this trip was about a couple of things for me; visiting family, shopping, food and even more food. Seeing family was fantastic, as always, however my bearded face is not the one they were suspecting when I came through the door.

Now the one thing when shopping in Mumbai there is something anyone can pick within seconds, which is the extreme wealth gap. One can grab a full meal for 100INR which is roughly £1.10 or you can grab a coffee for 1500INR which is roughly £17.50. It’s insane that in the city which doesn’t sleep that you can go get paan at three in the morning and there will be a private traffic warden moving the cars along, because this one shop is packed. I would love to see this sort of thing in London, alas I do not think the city will become a true 24hr city (while you can get anything you need at whatever the time, it’s not the same experience nor the same volume of people).

Talking about shopping, there was a shocking revelation me (or at least I found it shocking). While looking for material for clothes, I was browsing different patterns and colours and asked for a navy blue. The assistant also brought red, saying that it was similar. Now, I don’t like to wear too much red (reminds me of Arsenal. Yeah, it’s stupid for most people, but remember what Cantona apparently said: “You can change your wife, your politics, your religion, but never, never can you change your favourite football team”. In this regard, you can also never change the club you hate). I digress. When I said no to the red, the shop keeper said that I was fair and therefore all colours would suit me. I find this odd, firstly because I am the darkest in my family. I am not fair by the standards of the UK where I live, nor am I fair considering most of the media I do consume is Western. Secondly, was that meant as compliment? So, let’s say that I am fair. So, what? Some people have different skin tones, c’est la vie. The issue is colourism is a more acceptable (or seemly) form of discrimination in India, even though it remarks nothing on the person on their intellect or personality. I say this because when you are going around the city from place to other, you see the bright signs of adverts which all suggest that being fairer is more beautiful and buying this product will help achieve this. No before saying anything else, these products will harm your skin and possible cause irreversible damage. The main point is why do we care? Or more accurately, why do we still care? The answer cannot be that because people made the product and market it, is why we care. That might be able to explain a fad. Take the Kony2012 campaign, well marketed but in the end full of lies. People caught on (for various reasons). So why is colourism still a thing? Now I am not claiming to be an expert on this topic, but from what I observe it’s the continual perpetuated myth of white is better. It’s the hallmark of entrenched racism in society. I recently watch this Vox Video which showed a young black toddler describing brown skin colour as “nasty”. Apart from being heart-breaking (to me at least), I cannot think that this is from just advertising. Now I am not sure what more I can do an individual level to combat this just to make people aware and make conscious decisions, such as telling the shop assistant that I don’t consider myself fair, however fairness has nothing to do with what colour of clothes you wear. As a few of you may know, I have a bright orange coat. Let me tell you something, you do need something to wear it and it fair/dark skin. It’s confidence!

Well, I wasn’t expecting to write about colourism, but as I said: it’s about making people aware of the issue and opening a space to have a conversation (that’s a hint to use the comment section).

I am going back to food now. Mainly as I am quite hungry as I type this, but also as I feel slightly shafted as a vegetarian in the United Kingdom. While the UK is better than most places I have been in Europe for vegetarians (though that could be part of my traveling limitations), it’s still terrible. When I was India, getting good tasting vegetarian food was a breeze. Didn’t have to think twice about it. However, the other thing was how cheap it was. Not as UK to India, but it was cheaper on the menu to order vegetarian than meet/fish. When I am here in the UK I get something that is no doubt vegetarian, but then find myself paying similar prices to my friends for the meal. Even though the cost of ingredients is far less and honestly looks and tastes like bollocks. I could go to these vegan places and then pay this imaginary vegan tax where plain peanuts cost £10 for a starter. I might have taken the piss in the last sentence, but honestly most of the time it is just really simple dishes being over charged. It’s not hard to make a decent vegetarian dish. I do it home daily and I am not a professional chef. I am just an idiot with some spices. So now every time I go out to a non-Indian restaurant in London, actually all restaurants, I am going to have remind myself that these people do not know what good food tastes like. Buying something a simple a cheese sandwich will even bring in disappointment, as in Mumbai on the street I had one of the best sandwiches in my life and all it was cheese, chilli and sprinkle of spices; not even toasted. At least my grandmothers both live in London, all hope is not lost.

Talking about losing hope, I now realise that I have been living in a lie. I don’t care what anyone tells me but I have never lived in a capitalist country (a hyperbole). When I read economic theory and they talk about perfect competition, with sellers selling the exact same goods no matter where you went. I saw this in Mumbai. I was looking out the car and saw street after street with shops all selling the same goods, take faucets for example. All I could think, is how on earth are they all still in business? How are they all full, how is no one under cutting them? Why are the prices the same (it was all cheap, so no collusive oligopoly style going and far too many stores)? I’ll tell you what, it must be perfect competition. You could break into that market without differentiated your goods and charging more (which would get you some business) or price matching the same. Even when it came to grocery shopping. Didn’t like the price from one vendor. Take three steps to the next vendor and take your business elsewhere. Repeat until satisfied. That does not happen in the UK, UAE or South Africa (cannot recall Zambia) nor any other place I have visited and spent a significant amount of time. Now I understand that this also has to do with Mumbai’s massive population being so densely populated, but it was surprising not see a single supermarket in my trip. As far as I am aware, local chains can still exist, but none where apparent in my trip. I am not overly sad about this…

Looking back at it all, if someone said: “Hanik, I’ve got a job for you. One catch. It’s in India.” You’ll find me at the airport buying a ticket, because I will not turn it down. If you asked me before I went; I probably would have to spend some time to think about it, work out how long it would I would be away and what opportunities I would miss out here. I’ve got that travel bug that’s infected my entire family.

I could write some more, but this is no longer than some essays that I wrote to be marked, let alone the formative work that I handed in. As it’s a long post, there are probably going to be more mistakes than usual and I would also love to have some feedback!

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!

Entry 44

Lecture and tutorial for Criminal Law where cancelled today. I’ll do a term review next week.


Entry 43

Just coming back from Tottenham vs Brighton. Game ended 2-0 to Spurs. It’s the last time I’ll see the team this year, though not too sad that I won’t be standing in the freezing British winter. So again, apologies for any confusion regarding spelling or grammar.

Today started off with a lecture in Land Law and we continued with our look at mortgages. Mortgages are not what most people would call exciting or interesting, however the law regarding this area is  relatively straightforward. That’s my favourite thing about land law, you can always go to the statue book and rule will be there. That’s not to say that there is no case law, but it’s not as overwhelming as Tort Law. The lecture we had today was about the remedies of mortgages and the rights of the borrower and borrowee when it comes to a default in the mortgage. While the borrower has a large amount of rights, when it comes to the sale of the property/land, the rules regarding how the money is settled is interesting as there is priority for the cost of the sale, which could leave the lender in negative equity or if they hold off and sell later, a poor market can really harm the lender (even when the courts are being generous towards them).

After land, I had Tort. As always Tort is case heavy, but today it wasn’t as much as normal. We explored the laws around product liability and since the law has been modernised through an EU directive, there is a clear cut way of understanding what should be done and what are the acceptable defences. Since there are a limited number of defences, what you see in day to day life is an overwhelming number of warning labels which state the obvious (think of your pack of eggs that state that the potential allergen is eggs). I agree with the lecturer, if there are far too many warnings on products to prevent liability, then people will disregard the warnings (or not read them at all). The policy question is, are the rules there to help ensure that the customer can sue in absence of the warning or are the rules about ensuring that the most important danger is made clear and allowing more cases of people doing things that could make it to Harry Hill’s TV burps? Just for entertainment purposes alone, you should pick the latter.

Entry 42

Today I just had Administrative Law, where we continued our exploration of judicial review. It is also the start of the last week of the term.

If you haven’t been following for the last couple of weeks, I have not been the biggest fan of this part of the law. Today was no exception, though I will say that I did find it more interesting than the previous lectures.

We explored the grounds of judicial review which can be summed up as a public body going beyond its realm of jurisdiction. The courts prefer the Latin term, ultra-vires. Judicial review is used when there is illegality, irrationality or procedural impropriety, which is another way of saying when the public bodies do something they are not meant to do, something stupid or don’t follow the correct rules to do something in their own powers.

I only want to talk about what public bodies are allowed to do. Our lecturer said along the lines of the following: private citizens can do anything the law doesn’t mention, while public bodies are only allowed to do what is said in law. I don’t entirely agree. Private citizens cannot do anything, as you can be punished retrospectively in common law. Just have a look at marital rape. Just because the law hasn’t caught up, doesn’t mean that it won’t. Regarding the limits of public bodies, I do think that bodies such as councils should be allowed to do things beyond the stated scope of what they are allowed to do. If my council can provide me with a service that is cheaper and better than the private sector, then why would I not want this to happen? Before there is groaning from the libertarians, take the example of something that could be regarded as a public utility such as broadband lines. If the council could outsmart the market, then why should I put up with companies that are useless (looking at you BT/Openreach)? I’m not going to set up my own cable for me, it’s not feasible, but if the community did, why not? What if the council made that decision by itself? I don’t see a public policy problem. This is not saying, let them run free. Just use a bit of common sense and don’t let the business lobby decide everything.


Normally I do not add anything personal, but it was fantastic catching up with some of the UCL gang!

Entry 41

Another early morning start today. I ended up arriving at University at 08:20 and have been regretting it all day.

Today in criminal law we finished off gross negligent manslaughter and then moved onto non-fatal offences. Honestly nothing exciting or jaw-dropping at this point, however, I have noticed that issue of causality and intention still pay a more significant role than I expected before coming onto the course. This is seen in the break-up of the differences in the types of crime, depending on their mens rea [while the types are actus reas].

Afterwards had a lecture in Contract Law (which is also my next coursework piece).  We just went over a question regarding promissory estoppel and had a brief chat about the course ahead. Nothing to note.

Finally, I had public law tutorial. I mentioned it earlier in the week and the amount of work I was putting into it. I do not think I ended up with a strong argument. Instead, I came up with a line of reasoning relating to visa laws and regulations, which if we even assume that my terrible case is correct, the point of the exercise was not really about the argument that I presented. It was more about how the class worked as the group, before and during. I would say that we royally failed on this account. It’s not because we didn’t try, there was some effort on our half, it was the fact that nothing followed through. Messaged each other that we need to meet up, but nothing really substantial came from this. The class was a mid-tier according to tutor. I’ll take it for now, but it shows that there is a lack of time to doing anything on the course that is not studying and fitting a bit of pro-bono work, let alone do some group of work that fits in everyone’s timetable

Entry 40

Another bizarre day.

Today my land law lecture has been rescheduled for next week. So doubling up on Wednesday and Thursday.

So, all I had was a lecture in EU law at the end of the day. Hence, I have no intention to strech out what I have gone through today [Action for Annulment]. The topic is quite technical and my understanding of it (at the moment) is not good enough to simplfiy the topic in my own words.

Things to note, is that to bring action against the EU by yourself, you need to prove to the courts that your case either effects you or a closed group (a group that cannot change in personal, no matter how convaluted in the future), that you don’t take your time (within two months) and make it clear where there is a matter of injustice (though that should a general rule when going to court).

Otherwise, the best advise is to read the treaties, because….puts on record player…the treaties matter.


Just in case you are interested

European Law in the United Kingdom
UKAEL Annual Lecture by Sir Jonathan Faull

Thursday 14 December 2017 at 6pm
Great Hall, King’s College London, Strand Campus
Followed by a Drinks Reception

Free to UKAEL members and students
Please contact kerstin.wachholz@kcl.ac.uk to book your place

European Law in the United Kingdom – Sir Jonathan Faull KCMG

“My purpose is not to lament, reminisce, engage in wishful thinking or consider paths not taken. It is rather to celebrate the British contribution to a work of great beauty, European Union law. The metaphor of architecture is often used to describe the structures of the EU and some of the designers and builders are in this room. The process will continue without us but will always have a major impact on life in this country, so our engagement is not at an end.  The study and practice of EU law will continue to be of great importance in and for this country. It may become a foreign law, but I think it will be less foreign than any other, including that of common law countries with which we share a rich legal tradition and many business, professional, academic and personal ties. Why do I say that with such confidence? Because EU law is the organising principle of our continent. It was our law for decades and its terminology and concepts are now embedded in many parts of our domestic law and will remain so for a long time, whatever repeals and amendments follow our departure from the EU.”

Sir Jonathan Faull has spent 38 years at the European Commission where he worked for many years in the Directorate General of Competition. From 1989 to 1992 he worked in the cabinet (private office) of the competition Commissioner (Leon Brittan). He was the Commission’s Spokesman and Director General of Press and Communication (1999-2003), Director General of Justice and Home Affairs (2003-2010), Director General of Internal Market and Services (2010-2015) and Director General of the Task Force on the British referendum on membership of the EU (2015-2016). He is Chair of European Public Affairs at the Brunswick Group and the author of many articles on European law and policy; co-editor of a leading work on European Competition Law; Visiting Professor, King’s College London and College of Europe, Bruges; Emeritus Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Member of the Advisory Boards of the Centre for European Reform and the Institut Jacques Delors Notre Europe.  He was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2017.

Entry 39

Feeling better today and I ended up going to the Tottennham vs Apoel match (Spurs won, so all is good in the world).  So this is another post typed on the cell, so apologies for any incorrect spelling mistakes or grammar issues.

We had an odd Equity lecture today. It was the last for the term and we spent most of it going through some revision material. It barely lasted an hour, however if we are ahead of schedule, why not? The main lesson from the lecture, is to make sure that my work is up to date before the end of the holidays, as waiting for the end of the year is just a death wish.

This was followed by Tort were we started to examine cases involving visitor liability. Understandably, children are given free reign over the world (most of the time) and are not seen as fully responsible. The issue of a rational agent vs Clapham omnibus man was evident again. Listening to some of the cases you think: “Really, how did you think jumping into a pond head first was a smart decision?” While the courts agreed with me in this particular case, when dealing with problem questions I still need to remind myself that law accepts the fallibility of man and that I shouldn’t be going too hard on the people I read about.

Finally I will quickly talk about my public law work. For the class on Friday we have to represent a German citizen post Brexit who has lost their right to work. And quite frankly I think he is screwed. There is no international treaty to help him (just loads of recommendations), as he is not a refugee or an asylum seeker. Can parliament do this? Yeah, it can do what ever it wants. Would it? Maybe not intentionally…but hey, have you seen the UK government? They make the simple look impossible and the make the impossible a fantasy.

Entry 38

For those not in touch with me personally, I have not been well over the last few days and have been experiencing a migraine over the weekend where I was bedridden and even turning on the lights was too much. What this led to, was the most unproductive weekend of my life in ages, though understandably so. What this meant, is this week I have not any work prepared for my classes. Not something I recommend, this morning I was struggling to stand, but the Gujarati inside of me just screamed that I needed to make value for money (regarding the course, I mean, it is 11K!).

Today I started off with Equity, and I couldn’t keep my eyes on my computer screen. It was just far too bright, and the room in general with the lights on was too much. Honestly, I didn’t gain too much from the tutorial as I was feeling dizzy. I could have gone home after this, but I decided to go the public law lecture as I was already there.

I felt better in the lecture, though my laptop was playing up a bit in the first-half. We had a quick recap of judicial review and then moved onto domestic tribunals. It’s not that interesting of a topic (at least for me) when looking at the rules of dog racing and performance-enhancing drugs. Or even horses for that matter. When it comes to domestic tribunals, we were told that if it was a consensual relationship and that the body doesn’t complete governing functions, you cannot bring a case to a public law court as it is a private matter. Here begins the difference between the two sets of law. I want to do more reading on this before commenting as I think there is more overlap than accepted at the moment but this is based more on belief and not on law.

Finally, we had a  land tutorial were we looked at mortgages. Now we haven’t covered mortgages fully in lecture, so having a class on it felt premature. However, in the breaks, I was able to get some questions done. My answers when coming to an opinion (not the law) seem to be far harsher than any legal bodies. This is not too worrying regarding my legal career as I do not intend become a judge. I link this to my rational agent perspective, where I do not think of the Clapham Omnibus man, but the fully rational being with full information. While there is no pressing problem, this shortfall in economics seems to be showing more cracks daily where it becomes a more untenable position to hold; especially considering the case law.