Entry 4

It started off with the public law a lecture where we had an excellent introduction into constitutions and what the purpose of constitutions are for regarding a democratic society. Perfect for me, as I have not only I just completed my master’s in Democracy and Comparative Politics but spent my time in a module called Democracy and Constitutional Design. While I could have joined in the conversation, I decided to listen to what others had to say as I have already spent an enormous amount of time discussing this issue. Heck, I still use the definition of democracy that I produced for Anthony King in my first year at Essex. So, while I don’t consider myself an authoritative person on the subject, I do believe that I am well versed on the topic. And honestly, I’ll have to bring up some of my distress of people introducing normative values into the definition of democracy during the tutorial. Such as, Democracy is only associated with a good thing or even on the opposite spectrum where someone said that it was okay for a society to agree that giving up on fundamental rights by referendum was fine. It’s more nuanced than that! To quickly illustrate the point, I struggle to believe that in a society full of free people, that they would agree to allow a person to sell themselves into slavery forever. While I would love to continue this point, I have a self-restricted word limit, and we can continue this in the comments.

I then had my second lecture on European law, and I must say it’s growing on me (subject wise). Today was about the importance of the Treatises, the procedure one must follow and just to make sure: the Treaties are bloody important. While I had never heard of any this before, I was quite familiar with the concept thanks to Model UN and having many discussions (read told) about the Rules and procedures when it comes not to just speaking, but also formatting documentation in the UN. For the EU, it’s not the same. However, the concepts are the same. With my background in British politics, the sending of EU law to national parliaments has already been covered, and I knew about the issues regarding the number of readings and the creation legislation from class and even Hardtalk interviews. But just remember, the EU Treaties are crucial in deciding how things work and pan out. Essentially, it’s a fleshing out of game theory when deciding what procedural route to choose.

Finally, I had my class on tort law, and there are a lot of cases to know. Today we began looking a the duty to care and how it came about. This is probably the hardest thing I had relating to anything I had done previously. What I found most interesting from the lecture was the concept of assumed responsibility can cause you to be liable for harm. To me, this seems a bit bizarre, do I not get off if I am trying to be a good Samaritan?The reason I bring this up is that there is mention of the neighbour method in lecture, which is from Christianity (as in love thy neighbour), but this seems to contradict this. Also, that it’s hard for me to get why omission is considered okay if the case of Christianity comes in, as from the Confession (Confiteor ) during mass. Why only the one part?

Alright, I’ve blown my word limit by quite a bit, so that’s it, but feel free to ask for further clarifications as there was much to say, with very little space.

Entry 3

Today I was introduced to equity law. Unfortunately, I also had to read some Hegel today. Once again philosophy had some relevance today. While we did not explore the Hegelian concept of equity in detail (and thank god we didn’t), it was part of the quick rundown of the history and formation of equity in the UK and how it exists in a country governed by Common Law.

The surprising thing is I learned is the actual amount of flexibility given to the judges to make decisions based on oughts and not what has been prescribed by Law. While I was not unaware about the flexibility, I was not aware of the depth. On a personal level, this resonated with me as we talked about the necessity of trying to achieve just results (and the Chancery gets this from its religious background). As a strong supporter of individual rights, equity makes sense; as Rights are about oughts.* While we did not go into what is just and had to accept that it is dependent on the Chancellor (person in charge of the Chancery). I hope that this will help me understand how the judge’s decision is made better. The other main thing I noticed from the tone of the lecturer that there was some concern with the notion of deciding what is right and then working out a path to the conclusion. To me it just seems like a form of backwards induction to get to an optimal outcome, nothing really to be worried or concerned about, just reminded me of the extended game is in game theory.

The next lecture I had was tort law. Now for those unaware, tort is French in the wrong (which I presume is from the Normans). The lecture itself was more an overview of the year ahead and what to expect. What was most striking to me was the notion that tort is used for compensation and that if one were to take the police to court and not ask for compensation (or say that using the payment for an altruistic purpose such as charity), then the courts would not hear the case and send you to the police complaints department. While I can understand why this makes sense, does it help provide justice (which I have been informed is part of tort law)? I would say no, however, is this necessarily a bad thing? If one is just looking for an acknowledgement of a wrongdoing, then going to the courts just seems like a waste of time. Moving along to one final point, which is about defamation being part of tort law. Luckily for me, I am a subscriber to Private Eye whose editor, Ian Hislop, is apparently the most sued man in the UK and the Eye regularly talks about the issue of the magazine and in its podcast. See page 94.

*(I know Human Rights law is not the same as equity before you start typing out any comments)

Entry 2

The second day was more of a normal day (if there is such a thing) for me. While the first lecture, Introduction to the Law, was meant as an overview for the course ahead and was exactly that. Regarding content, nothing stood out as: WOW! Rather it was short and to the point and thus quite enthralling in a way not…not usual. The fact that the lecture was not simple, but rather enjoyable to listen to.

 

The two main points that I took from the talk where the defining characteristics of Common Law, in which the courts are considered a source of law. The other was Legal Realism (and in the case of the lecture American Realism), where the discussion was about the courts not following the formulaic procedure, but rather there is a need for the courts to interpret due to the law contain ambiguous terms in the way law is written. Also, the need for the judge to interpret the law for social needs as the law has been placed in their care and thus have some form of duty to protect society.

 

The second lecture was about European Law. Now before I get any messages about Brexit and why do you need to know European Law now? It’s kind of obvious, but since European Law is the law of the land (I’m sorry if this is breaking news to you, even since Article 50 had been submitted). And to get onto the next set of exams, you need to know the laws of the land to practice law in the land. So you need to know European Law, it is not my place to give a damn about why, because honestly; nobody cares about my thoughts on the matter.

 

The lecture itself was quite frankly excellent. While it was just the first lecture, I was thinking about different modules I had taken over the last year (cough British Politics and Democratic Institution’s cough) and how relatable the base knowledge required for the lecture was well within my grasp. I had already covered this or I had a relatable case where I could compare it to European Institutions. Heck even my knowledge of the United Nations from MUN was paying off when briefly going over international law. The best way to describe what I had been doing before was more of a macro* outlook of the world around me and the effects it had, while this class felt more like the beginning of a micro* perspective. Personally, this seems great; as having training in one is not necessarily bad or useless. But, rather as alluded yesterday, it provides more of a complete view in the way government functions.

 

*As in macro and micro economics. It’s an analogy.

Entry 1

 

Today it kicked off, the start of my Year in Law. Officially at least. It feels like being thrown in the deep end now, with the colossal amount of information being thrown at us everything seems quite daunting. While I have no plan or care to run you through my day, bear in mind that this week is about the introductory lectures. Hence with my insufficient law knowledge and less material to work with than expected, this week the post will probably remain quite curt. *

Contract Law is incredibly bizarre for me right now. Let’s forget the content for a moment, it’s the fact that the lectures will be online from now on. I’m not going to go through the pros and cons of this. I have always attended lectures with a physical person talking to/at me and then scribbling down notes.

To the content, there was not much to work on. However, there was a moment where things did click. The big picture wasn’t that unfamiliar. During my time at Essex, in my final year, I took a module called Philosophy and Law (yeah I know, what could it be about?). And essentially, it was an examination of markets and transactions in markets. While I did not have to learn a single legal case study, it did provide some legal knowledge. While it was not explicitly said in the course (or I have just forgotten and cannot find it my notes), is that what we looked at during some lectures and weeks were essentially contracts.

Though is a problem, what I learned in Philosophy regarding content and what we tackled is completely different to what is expected (or seems to be expected….early days). While this is not a major issue, as I am aware of this potential problem. It will probably mean that I will have to curb my philosophical enthusiasm (in an academic sense) and focus on what is required of me. While it seems bleedin’ obvious, it became even more so when during the lecture when the issues of minor legal relevance were being listed. In my head, I was going: “Yeah, I’ve done something like that before” or “That’s not a bad question”. While outside the legal framework the issues being raised are interesting to me, if I’m not on the money, I could easily slip into old habits. This does provide a huge positive (if I do end up completing and passing the course), is that I will be a really well-rounded thinker.

*(I know that this is a bit confusing, I just said there was loads of information, but that is relating to the course as a whole and the department: not the modules. Though I have been forewarned about the breathtaking pace of the course)

 

 

Day 0

This is the same as the Why? page.

This blog is a personal review of the next year of my life. Having decided that after my Master’s I will head into a career path that I have shown little to no interest prior. So why the change of mind? Definitely not the money, lawyers don’t get paid frankly enough. No, it is more to do with my life goal of being Prime Minister. While I don’t tend to tell people straight away, I almost certainly say that I wish to get into politics later on in life (as well as ambitions for a PhD, though that’s on the back burner right now).

Look, I am not an idiot (most of the time); I know that you don’t need any formal qualifications to become the PM. However, I am a firm believer in technocrats and that even just being a Minister of Parliament, that being able to write, read and analyse legislation is vital to good governance. As if you cannot fully comprehend the laws being placed on how they affect society, how can you govern effectively? While a law degree is neither necessary nor sufficient for this requirement, I hardly believe that it will be a hindrance to my goal.

Beyond politics (if that’s possible), I have always had an interest in rights and looking at rights in history effectively decide what one can do outside the state of nature (yes, I’m bringing in some political theory)(also, if it hasn’t been painfully obvious by now, I write with lots of deviations off topic and tend to ramble on in the brackets).

While I don’t believe in a dystopia such as 1984 happening anytime soon, nor I am a Huxilian (Huxley-ist?) where I shall be popping soma tablets to help deal with the lack of rights. What is more worrying is the ability to use one’s rights is being made harder for those who are worse off (*this is a perception, not a factual backed statement (though its lack of factual basis does not mean that it is necessarily wrong… I digress)).

The fear is that tools that are used to subjugate democracy are being removed and society shifting towards a Victorian-like society where there is stranglehold of power with the few to exploit the masses. If I were to believe that a more Singaporean type of government and society is forming, I would not be concerned. Rather, I would be elated. The fact is that Singapore is an authoritarian dream. Educated population, free press (though even I would have a look again at the defamation laws), ideal for business and great weather (the sun makes everything better). Only real issue is consociationalism… guess nothing is perfect…

That’s probably enough rambling for now. Time to head off to the library and start the preliminary reading which includes some introduction reading and of course Cicero.