Entry 36

Today started off with the tutorial in EU law. We were going through on how to answer a problem question accurately regarding EU law (this seems to be a running theme this week). I feel as though I’ve written the following quite a few times now: the treaties matter! Do not ever forget this. For learning purposes, it makes things quite simple for myself. Learn the essential statutes related to each topic and Bob’s your uncle! Obviously one could just look them up in the statute book, but in a time-pressured exam, it’s better to know them 100% (or at least all of it and have it tabbed).

After this, I headed off to my Land law lecture, where we started the law of mortgages. Let me just say, while it is seemly straightforward, there is a ton of work. For this just stand-alone section, we have around 5-6 hours worth of lectures! Also, we were informed by our lecturer that this part of the law is an essentially, for all intensive purposes, a standalone section. This means that I have a choice to make, I could just ditch this part of the law and not bother with it (though if I ever went into a practising land lawyer, I would have to know) or keep it to answer the most uncomplicated and straightforward questions for the exams. At the moment, I am leaning to learning it well, not just for the exams, but also I expect that my mother will ask me hundred-and-one questions about her set of mortgages. It’s not much to ask for, considering the support that I have been given to pursue this.

Finally, I ended the day with a lecture in EU law. Today we looked at the role domestic courts have concerning the ECJ when dealing with references to the court. We looked at whether this was a vertical or horizontal relationship. The answer to this depends on the court in question, as the courts that cannot be appealed against have been granted the right to interpret EU law for the entirety of the EU. This relationship would suggest a horizontal style one, however with the role of supremacy and the ECJ wanting to ensure that EU laws are interpreted correctly (whatever that is meant to mean), then it holds supremacy (as you may recall from previous blog posts/ non-binding opinion poll campaigns). It’s quite a touchy subject, but it makes sense that the EU holds supremacy as it about looking after the common market. How can have a “common market” with different rules inside? That’s why we have deference to the ECJ. Quite simply, it’s spelt out in the treaties.

Entry 32

So today was a long day.

Had a quick drop in a session regarding my public law essay. While I’m sure we are going to talk about structuring public law essays in class tomorrow, but it was good that I got a bit of a head start. I’ve already written my piece, but I’ll probably re-write sections (read the whole thing) to make sure that I’m hitting the rubrics at each level to show my understanding of the topic.

This was followed by my Land Law lecture. If you remember what I said yesterday about land law, I was not looking forward to it today. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much it cleared up. What happened? The lecturer went over some of the sections of the Land Registration Act that we hadn’t already been through. The same things that I had been tearing my hair out (and figures why I couldn’t spot them in my notes. Yeah, I know…what an idiot). So that was quite a calming on my general nerves and helps explain why I struggled so much with the Tutorial. Still, need to go to office hours to clarify everything.

After this, I had an EU law lecture which we looked at the enforcement mechanisms of the EU. While the Commission doesn’t have Carte Blanche over the enforcement mechanisms, they do have a compelling voice and almost undisputable role. Don’t worry the ECJ can have disagreed with them, while that does not end the situation it does mean that States have the opportunity to defend themselves over complaints at an official hearing. It’s quite a straightforward concept.

After this, I went to a talk held by the department, who had invited the head of the EFTA court to give a speech on the EFTA court and what his personal thoughts are on Brexit and the future of Britain regarding EFTA. I’m not going to say everything that was discussed, but he did say that he hoped to see the UK inside EFTA for the future to create a possibility for Nations to work together within a single market but not as a political Union. A two-system Europe. However, as it has been noted by him and many other people (regardless of the facts); for Remainers it’s not European enough, for Brexiteers, it’s too European. Who needs compromise when you can insult the other side?

I wish that this was the end of my day, but I need to sort out my contract law work for tomorrow! So better get cracking.

Entry 28

Today was just about EU law and me forgetting my notepad at home….Unfortunately, Land Law was cancelled today, so all I had to do was manage with having no notes on EU ready for today.

In short, it did not go well. I am (at the moment at least) heavily reliant on my preparation work.  For the tutorials [in EU Law] I have the lecturer as my tutor, so you don’t want to create a terrible impression of yourself. However, not saying anything doesn’t bode well if you do it consecutively. We went over a problem question which I had forgotten all the details about. Quite frankly, when being asked a question, I probably looked like a deer in the headlights. Clueless. I did have my laptop with me. However, I do prefer to have my notes done by hand. I just remember it better (well…usually), so I was able to get some crib notes off the net, but they weren’t useful in the context of the problem; rather the cases related. Well at least it won’t happen every time (fingers crossed)

In my extended break, I was able to get the majority of public law essay done. If given another solid three hours of work and it’ll be done. So that’s something positive.

Finally, at the end of the day, I had the EU Law lecture. We were having a look at State  Liability for not implementing directives.  If I had the energy and no work for tomorrow, I would probably go into the topic a bit more, but to put it short.

1. Not a massive fan, but I get why (common market et al.)
2. There needs to more parity across the common market. Otherwise, individual rights are worth more depending on what area you happen to be in (regarding remedies received)
3. The Union cannot be giving money, as it’s money is from Member States (when the Union is involved)
4. However, while having States liable is a good idea in principle the current layout (to create more simplicity) is just a copout.

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 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 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 16

First off, Happy Diwali!

Today I started off with Land law. While I have described Land law as anal in the past (which is still true), I do find it a fascinating subject. This lecture focused on registered land, how to register land and to look a the Land Registration Acts of 1925 & 2002. While this sounds like the least exciting piece of law in the world, it is a vital piece of law (if not the most critical. Well that is the view being presented to us in the class), as registered land will provide a guarantee of the ownership for the registered proprietor of the land. Also, all land that is dealt with is becoming registered, and thus the amount of unregistered land is decreasing day by day. The reason that this piece stands out to me is the idea that if there has been a false sale, say B has sold A’s land to C and changed the registration on the register then C is the owner according to the law, not A’s. So the law will not recognise A as a victim of wrong and then try and rectify the registry for A, because A is no longer the owner. A may try to get indemnity from B, but if B decides to jet off to the Carribean, then good luck to A.

To end the day I had EU law where we explored the case of Supremacy and the  Direct Effects of EU law. We were asked what fundamental question is not address by the treaties relating to the EU? Here’s a couple of seconds to think. Still not sure? Now? Well, I didn’t get off the top of my head. It’s merely (he said): What is the effect of EU law on the domestic law? Well, of all the things the treaties cover and considering how the treaties are all about rules of procedure, they don’t include the rules of procedure of how to enforce the laws? A jaw drop moment. Did not see this coming. So, how is everything sorted out then? Who rules supreme? Well to save space, it is EU law that ends on top… well kind of… it is on top on more of an ad hoc basis where domestic supreme courts say it is until they no longer agree to it. Totally full proof. We were told in lecture that this was a pragmatic approach as both sets of courts need each other. Scribbled on my notes it says this next to the remark: “So game theory? Like a repative game? That’s it, two hours for this conclusion?” At least I have the case knowledge for it now.

 

 

Entry 12

Thursday is a real slog, four hours straight of teaching and then a two break followed by two hours of lecture. As I had bit h an EU law tutorial and lecture, I will put them together, followed by land law and finally a brief bit on contract law.

The first EU tutorial was actually great by us diving straight into the content. We examined the nature of the various institutions within the EU and what each institution’s interests are. This helps us looked at the next section of the class, which is the concept of institutional balance and does this lead to a democratic deficit? Just to clarify, an institutional balance does not equate to each institute having the same or equal power. Instead, it is about making sure that each institution is staying within its powers provided by the various treaties and not encroaching on another institution’s powers. If there is overlap (or claim of encroachment), then it is up to the European Court of Justice to determine who can use the power. This links to the democratic deficit as there is lack of participation in the elections of the European Parliamentary Elections and there is no direct say for the people in other areas. In class, some colleagues were okay with this, due to it being a free choice and the supranational state gets it powers from elected parliaments across the continent (it’s not direct democracy). I, however, vehemently disagree and think that if you want to improve participation, then compulsory voting should be enforced. If everyone is forced to vote, then they will have to educate themselves to make an informed decision, nor can people complain about the lack of representation (compulsory voting should also be in the national elections). The lecture was about Brexit, and this is in the news, I would just say as before; treaties matter (I am sure that this will come up again).

Land law can be summed down to two questions. What is the nature of the rights given in regards to the land? Secondly, how was the right created? (What is the formality?) This is to say that process of creating a proprietary right, helps determine whether or not it is a right proprietary means (or if it is one in the first place). I know a tautology of sorts (How can we determine the first question without the second? However, it is important to note that rights are limited to what they can be, and thus the process is vital. Why? Certainty. The more certainty there is, the easier it is to complete a transaction. It’s business and essential business in the UK in the recent history of the last 100 years given the rise of property owners. There are a few exceptions to this, but this is more for a practical sense for government departments not be swamped. The only issue for the exceptions is that those who are most likely to be affected, do not know. So there should be a concerted effort to improve knowledge about this. Maybe a topic in PSHE at school?

Finally, I had an introductory tutorial in contract law. The problem was that I did not read the handouts properly and proceeded to answer the questions for next class… Well, at least the effort will not go to waste.

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.