Entry 27

Today I had an exciting day with a double set of lectures followed by another representative meeting.

Before going into my lectures, there has been some change from my work as a course rep already. One major, being a change to timetabling for one group due to having too many hours in a row, which is against University policy. The downside for them though is that their class has been moved to Friday afternoon and they now have a few tutorials in a row. Not ideal, but’s only until the end of the term, but it is nice to see change quite rapidly. The other is having a more extended break between our two lectures today.

Today in Equity and Trust we focused on the beneficiary principle and within it the simple issue of Non-Charitable Purpose Trusts (NCPTs) which are essentially what it says on the tin (trusts that provide no public good). The problem resulting from them is the fact they can go on forever. Hence there are rules in the common law that limit their time span… Actually, I’m noting going to delve into how they are formed and all the issues revolving around them. I want to talk about the exemption of pets from the rule. So pets are allowed to be NCPTs mainly because someone generally has to look after the animal and we were given examples of these multi-millionaire animals. While the notion is ridiculous, it’s not unheard of for this happen. In the UK there is an issue with enforcement of how the money is spent, as the animal is unable to go to court and take legal action against the trustee. So the trustees could abuse their position. In this example, you also have the notion that next of kin could be wanting to harm the animal or try point out flaws in the trust, as they would be the beneficiaries of a resulting trust. However, I think that there a further question that could be raised. Can next of kin be a trustee? Well, yes (or I have really have messed up my basic understanding of how trusts work). So as there is apparently less tax involved in this method of trusts, could this not be used as a tax loophole? I’m going to have to get back to you and ask my lecturer.

In Tort Law we focused on Liability for Psychiatric Harm/Illness. As usual with Tort lectures, we spent most of the time cases. However, there has been continual, but gradual, change in the way that approaches this. This week I relied more on the lecture handout and making adjustments to that, rather than writing more on my A4 sheet. I found it more useful in paying attention, but due to the lack of workspace, it’s harder to have everything in front of you and still have a good writing area. The handou is in a book format and due to the size of the note cards, they do not line up well. I’ll probably adjust again next week.

Entry 26

Welcome back to another exciting week. Yesterday I had a productive day in the library, and I was able to get my work for Tuesday (today) and Wednesday (tomorrow) finished, as well as starting on my essay which is due in two weeks. The essay is in Public Law and is about the Diceyan Orthodoxy and how it’s relevance in today’s world.

Today I started my day off with a Tort Law tutorial, and I was well prepared for the class regarding content, but I think I need to find a place to put all these cards. I have so many that it is hard to find the case I wish to talk about. Say I want case X, I have over 100 cases to go find it (this is in Tort alone) and thus need to be more selective ion what I am carrying. Also, by not colour coding the cards to a particular section of the law, it gets a bit confusing. I plan on using some paper clips for the interim, but I’ll probably have to string tie them when sections are complete.

I also want to talk about a question we went through today. The way the tutor went through the question was through many cases regarding breach and how they relate the situation (I do realise how vague this may seem). The hypothetical example was a factory worker being hurt and how would we advise them given the specific facts. The thing that stood out to me was that the accident was foreseeable. Hence, I found one case that said if it was unforeseeable we could not find the breach. The logic being, if this is the case; then the reverse must be true. I then just applied some simple economic reasoning which merely is a cost-benefit analysis. I’ve assumed that the factory owner and industry (who have the same practice) have concluded the following: P(risk)X(Cost of Risk)>Benefit. Thus, while they are not negligent, they are aware of the risk and should be liable for damages, otherwise it cannot be a foreseeable (or reasonable evaluation of the) risk. I’m not 100% about this, so I’ll be heading to office hours on Thursday.

After this I had this, I had Public Law, and we went to the European Community and Union laws. This tied nicely into my essay as we essentially examined the concept of Supremacy from the viewpoint of Public Law, as well finally looking at the Miller case. Unfortunately, in the lecture, we didn’t dive into this in quite enough detail for my liking. However, since my essay is around the issues of what parliament can do, I’ll be able to incorporate it into my piece hopefully.

Entry 25

Wow, it’s been 25 whole days. Five weeks. That’s seems far longer than it feels. Honestly, it’s a bit of a wake up for how short this course is. It’s what John (course admin) said to me; it’s just a nine month blast through hell. Now that’s a pretty accurate statement.

Now today started off with Criminal Law, which was about finishing off Strict Liability and then starting Homicide (discussing it, not practicing). Criminal law was my first piece of coursework (on strict liability), it was quite helpful as the main focus of the essay was on causation, which is the first part of examining homicide. This meant that I didn’t have to write down as many cases compared to some of the people next to me.

Afterwards I had contract law and thankfully I have been spending some extra time on it this week. Nothing extraordinary happened other than going through the questions. The good thing is that the lecturer doesn’t try to show off their extra knowledge. Just get to the point. This does not mean that we don’t spend time on the questions, but rather we delve into a question in all the possibilities, but with no tangents.

Finally I had public law tutorial, which was split into two parts. Firstly we had to create a mini presentation in class about the first set of readings, in this case the scope of law and the scope of democracy. Luckily I had brought my laptop and was able to lift some of my old essays on democracy; which helped out the group. The second half of the class was more traditional going over the Liversidge case. Lord Atkins had used an example of Humpty Dumpty from Alice in the looking glass to dessent. I’ve already seen it from Hillary Pitman in analytical philosophy at Essex and to be honest with you ,I’m kicking myself for not realising this in class! Hopefully I will next time.

Now I’m on my way home from the England game and typed this on my phone. So I am sorry if there are spelling or grammar mistakes, which are normally not seen in my blog.

Entry 24

Today has been a ridiculously long day! I’m really knackered but still, have more work to do to be prepared for tomorrow. I don’t have loads of energy as well so I won’t write a typical length blog. Sorry to disappoint.

Today started with Land Law, and honestly, I really like land law (yes, I’m saying this is about a few modules now, but guess what? I’m really enjoying law more than I expected). I also had a new constraint today, with a fellow course mate who was not feeling well and I told them that I would take notes for them. This meant for the first time, my notes were no longer for myself and had to be legible to someone else. Luckily it was a topic we already started, Registered Land. We covered the favourite classes subject, adverse possession. The one thing I had to remind myself of today, was adverse does not mean hostile all the time. It’s about intention, and this was brought up today when we looked at consequences of adverse possession with both registered and unregistered land. While there is a ton of material that we covered, it is systematic. And that enables me to understand the topic quite quickly. The only other thing we talked about registering titles and started on how to register mortgages, but that we ran out of time.

In the time between my next lecture (apart from lunch), I continued with my contract law material, but not much new to say about that.

I ended the day with EU Law, and it could keep up writing with the lecture (seriously the lecturer talks at speeds excess of 120km/h). Apart from the quick introductory notes about Brexit (which I will avoid writing about) on the future trade bills that the UK is edging towards and how they relate to EU law, we were exploring the general principles of Law in the EU (GPL). The GPL is how human rights became of EU law, without being expressly mentioned in the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights. What makes this topic interesting now is Brexit, but the situation in Poland. I’m not going to go into Polish politics because there are far better authorities on the topic, but the BBC had good coverage on the debate within the EU parliament. If you don’t know much about the issue, I would suggest a quick search on the matter.

That’s it, back to work!

Entry 23

Today was a slightly different Wednesday for me. While I usually just have Equity followed by Tort, today I headed into University quite early and decided to work on Contract Law. Hence I will jabber about my thoughts on it.

I don’t really talk about contract law on the blog, and that’s due to it being an online lecture and that I just spend time reading on it on the tube in bits and pieces. I’m a bit behind on it. Hence I came in early to do some work on it, but the more I read about it. The more common sense seems to apply to it. Nothing seems to be shocking or makes you wonder why did the judge rule that. The only frustrating bit, it’s the fallibility of people not doing things correctly. It is entirely possible that I’ve missed something. However, I do enjoy the format of lectures allowing me to study at my own pace.

After a morning in the library, I was in back with Equity, and we had finally left the terrifying thought of formalities and moved onto the constitutions of trusts. The lecture was entertaining as the cases involved with the topic are just so bizarre that all you can do is smile. They are somewhat unfortunate in some cases, and others make you think, who acts like this? Equity is becoming my favourite topic, slowly but surely.

After Equity was followed by Tort. The, unfortunately, follows straight after Equity, and it doesn’t give you that time to freshen up your mind. The great thing about Tort is that the lectures are really really useful! I always say that it is just about cases and that has not changed. When going through the defences of negligence claims today, I now have a briefcase summary of all the cases that we went through today and all the necessary extra information around them. I am starting to appreciate the case focus in Tort as it helps bring context of the rule that is used by the courts. I’ve continued using the note card method, and in the lectures, I’ve essentially given up writing general notes and just moved onto the cards. The only thing to really notice from the lecture is that you can’t sue our getaway driver for negligence if they crash. Shocking!

 

Entry 22

Welcome back, a new week but same old me.

Today started with a tutorial in Equity and Trusts, and we looked at the issue of formalities. I cannot reiterate how mind-bending this topic is sometimes. Thankfully this is the hardest part of the course, and it comes in early in the course. The rest of the class and myself are finding the topic a bit difficult to grapple with, and this was not helped by having an online lecture for this topic, but c’est la vie. Thankfully the tutorial was useful as we did go through the issues of formalities step by step and having done the work beforehand for the worked example it was easier to go through. Though if you were to peek at my notes, the most likely response would be: is that even English? A friend asked for them to take them to her class and after 2 seconds she said: “It’s okay Hanik.” The key to formalities (or what it seems to be, is the understanding the difference between equitable and legal ownership as well as knowing what type of trust it is. The reason there is confusion (or at least in the cases we are analysing) is that our appellants are trying to avoid tax. This results in them avoiding doing the simplest thing, which is to put it writing with unambiguous language.

 

This was followed by a lecture in Public Law. We began by continuing on what we started last week: The Scope of Judicial Review. The case of GCHQ shows us the change in trend from looking at whether a law should be under judicial review not if it were statute or prerogative law, but to justiciable or non-justiciable. This seems to leave issues that are not part of the judicial review to matters that are regarded as political in nature in general. The best example of this (which is the topic of next weeks class) is the Miller case (though that is also about the need for parliamentary review over prerogative power). Even with this change, we saw the “finding” of prerogative powers in the courts of keeping the peace and how this relates to the usage of prerogative powers when there is a potential clash with the statute.

We then moved onto a whirlwind tour of the jurisprudence of the ECJ. I say whirlwind as our lecturer said that we have already covered most of this in our EU law lectures. And he wasn’t joking as we went through 42 slides in about 40 minutes. There was far more information on it.

I had to miss my land law tutorial (don’t worry I’m going to office hours for it) to go the first Staff-Student Liason Meeting. So now, I’m going to type up my notes and send a very Hanik email for the official unofficial minutes.

Entry 21

Today we can call Criminal Law Day. As any student can attest, there is nothing better than a two lecture on a Friday morning at 9am. This was evident in the morning where most of the class were running into the lecture theatre.

We spent the lecture continuing on causation and looking at mens rea and actus rea. Just like tort law we only spend our time going through cases. However, there was a notable exception today in a lecture where our lecture ran from one corner of the hall to the centre and gave a fake kick. He was so full of joy, he did it again! It was otherwise just a standard lecture with no other significant points to mention other than I have continued with the card method to write down cases.

The day ended with a Criminal Law Tutorial (hence Criminal Law Day). We started off the class by going through a problem question together (that none of us seen) and going about the method to answer a question about criminal liability. While this was a beneficial part of the class, couldn’t help but wonder why this wasn’t done before. Oh well, c’est la vie. We then went onto the tutorial questions set for this week.

So that’s one more week done. Thank you for the continuing support.

Entry 20

Alright, I’m still a bit high from yesterday’s win. But can you really blame me? Spent the whole day with a massive grin on my face (which is quite usual for me come to think about it or see any of my photos…). Today I was back into the thick of things with EU Law tutorial& lecture, with Land law in between.I’ll quickly start with yesterday, which was a double whammy of Tort and Equity.

Yesterday saw the beginning of my new process of using note cards (see attached picture). I actually found this a magnificent way to get cases down in lecture as well as you for tutorial preparation. As each case is on a small note card, it forces me to just stick to the main details of the case and the decisions by the judge. All in all, this is beneficial for keeping things in order as well being used for revision in the future as I am making flashcards as we go on. I definitely prefer this to mind maps as I can always just write a new card if I make too many errors or find that I want to change things on the card. Maybe that’s part of the perfectionist inside of me. Don’t like to see lots of crossed out things from a resource I wish to learn from. (though if you were to see my A4 notes in lecture, boy or boy is it messy)

This was after an Equity Lecture where I kept on with my business and where we explored formalities. I’m going, being honest with the fact that I’m still grappling with the concept of formalities and probably to spend a bit of time over the weekend re-reading the cases and the and the textbook. The one major thing that I did take away from the issue of formalities is that by just doing the paperwork correctly; saves everyone a heck of a time and that being clear and precise is worth its weight in gold.

Today I started my day pinching myself, to check that last night wasn’t a dream…I mean…

Today started with my EU tutorial where we spent the majority of our time discussing the mechanics of Article 50. The triggering, the process of how it works and the consequences of the Article. Hopefully, I want to go into a full Brexit rant again but sometimes it just really annoying to see how people don’t understand one of the most crucial issues of our time (in Britain). In class, we talked about the vagueness of the Article and with such broad scope how this is detrimental in some ways; no one expected it to be triggered thus not fleshed out. In other ways, positive; I’ll say that it is positive because countries may leave for different reasons and this having a strict set of things that one must negotiate about, might just be a waste of time. We also looked at the reasoning of why the British government wants to start negotiating the trade deal as soon as possible and why the EU is using its’ hand to wait longer (as there is that two year limit in the treaty). This led onto the why there may need to be a transition period for non-business reasons but rather simplifying the legal route to a free trade agreement. I then brought up the fact the Article doesn’t mention us withdrawing our letter of notifying us leaving (hence saying lol jk Yurop. We’re staying fam, it was only a prank!).  Basically, it’ll probably go to the ECJ where the UK would have to fight to stay in and that the other nations might just want to throw us out. We did also discuss supremacy, but I’ve written quite a bit so far.

Then we had Land law which was just looking at propriety rights and how they transfer depending on the exchange (see section 288/29 of the Land Registration Act 2002). I wish I could say anything more, other than this, but it is a dense topic (quite rightly). Land law is becoming my favourite module, due to it’s adherence to rules to the letter.

I finally had my final lecture of the day, which was a return to EU Law. I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to write this but; THE TREATIES MATTER! Don’t bother criticising EU law until you wrap your head around this concept. It just really helps you put things into perspective when there a decision is made that seems out of place. We spent the majority of the lecture looking at how directives work and the implementations into the domestic courts worked. Essentially directives (not in themselves,  but from the case law resulting from them) give the citizens the power to the government to court over the failure to implement EU law. Why is this important, the common market requires regulation and the best people to regulate the market? The people who gain the most from the market! The consumers. I mean the citizens!

There’s probably more I can say on the topic, but I’ve typed out far more than intended to make up for yesterday (though I wouldn’t change it).

Entry 18

Looks who’s back after reading week! So for the first time in my entire academic career, I actually used my reading week for academic reading. Don’t worry I also had some downtime by going to see some family and reading the first book of Dust by Philip Pullman. Hope you all had a lovely week, but I know deep down that you were missing my writing.
Back to the academics.
So today started off with a tutorial in Tort Law. Where we just explored the questions set out prior. While it was there was nothing wrong with the class itself, I have noticed my inability to use authorities in my own answers. This is to say that I am still struggling to note down where I have gotten my answers from an who said what. So even if I noted down a case and gone through the decisions in an appeal court, then I have not said what Judge said what. While this isn’t disastrous for me at the moment, it will start to catch up if I don’t change this. My plan to combat this was a trip to the stationary store and buying some proper note cards which I shall start using for cases. The idea is to write down less irrelevant information and try to get more focus what is happening in each case. (Also should make this nightly job simpler)

Then I had a Public Law lecture. I usually have loads to write about public law, but today, this won’t be able to happen just due to the sheer amount of information that was covered in today’s class. We explored the history prerogative power, the use of the power, what happens when it conflicts with statutory authority and how governments have tried to use the Royal Prerogative to circumvent statutory power (and failed). I am sure that by the end of the year I will hear the following phrase over a million times; “Why? Parliament is Sovereign!” It’s basically the crux of any argument of why the government of the day does anything. Not a bad thing or something that doesn’t make sense, but it is getting a tad repetitive now. The only thing to note of any concern is the lack of judicial review to prerogative powers (at least before GCHQ). While it has been updated to work in hand with the nature of the power, it doesn’t seem to go far enough (if I am talking from a lawyers point of view). However, if I were a politician, I would think that things have swung in the wrong direction. If we (the ruling party) had been elected, there should be a minimal amount of barriers to stop us doing what we were put into office for by the people. All in all, considering that there have only been four cases (or we were told that and I have yet to do my readings) on the issue since 1688, it’s been a pretty good run.