Thursday, September 27, 2012

Introductory Course - Day 1

So all the new students to the faculty of law at Cambridge is required (but not sure how they enforce it) to take the three day introductory course.  There are two sets - one for normal first year law students and one for rest of them.  I fall into the rest of them as I am doing two year BA as an affiliated student.  I heard so much about how difficult it would be.  Hmmm... are they just trying to scare me? or is it REALLY going to be that challenging?  Don't get me wrong - I don't think it will be a stroll in the park but for now I really don't know what to expect.

Here are my notes taken for today's classes.  I must say both lecturers were so good and I was totally into the lectures... even with a bad headache.  :)

Disclaimer - this is written by me and I could have misheard or mistyped or misinterpreted the contents. After all, I don't speak the same English as the people giving me the talks.

Introduction to Cambridge and to Faculty of Law (GrahamVirgo)

Who does what?
-       colleges and faculty – how are the responsibilities split?
-       University – responsible for formal teaching (including exams andgiving degree – I will end up with a BA, previously LLB was LLM yup it isconfusing)
-       Colleges – small group teaching and supervisions will be provided bycollege for BA but with LLM, all teachings are done by faculty)
-       Faculty of Law – lectures are provided at the faculty
o  Lectures are starting at 5 pastand finish at 5 to every hour (each lecture is 50min)
o  LG – lower ground, B – basement
o  Library 1 to 3rdlevel
o  Admin – Receptionist (Norma –she will have answers to most questions if not she can point to the rightperson, Laura Smethurst – Secretary of Faculty – we will get many emails fromher)
o  Limited financial supportavailable for hardship
o  You can be a practicing lawyerin the UK with one year of academic studying of law.
o   Debate of legitimacy of law as an academic subject - the Feb 27 in LG19
o  Need to learn how to think andwrite like a lawyer
o  Critical engagement – not onlyto criticize the law but also suggest improvements
o  Develop other legal skills
o  Mooting – form of debatingabout law and the application of particular problems (participate mootingcompetitions)

Practical issues (Steve Burdett)

-       Computing –
o  Internet based legal resources– westlaw uk / lexis library / justcite etc
o  Lapwing and Eduroam (Eduroam  - just need to be authenticated once)
o  Free McAfee –http// (Mac/PC)

-       Mailing lists – http// – Raven authenticated

-       Check that you are a member –

Introduction to Law and Sources of Law (Mrs. Padfield)

Recently there has been much focus onprocedural justice – which will not be our focus at the moment.

Common law vs. Equity Law
-       common law tradition – Romans never had influenced on the legalsystem in the UK
-       Writs
-       Lord chancellors – legal advisors
-       Common law courts and equity courts were running in parallelhowever, it is important to distinguish.
-       Bleak House – Charles Dickens ß read
-       1873 – 1875 – time of enormous arrogance, time of radical legalreform
-       Since then, you can go to any court and ask for common law or equitylaw remedies
-       In contract – common law court only developed common law remediesand equity courts – different
-       Magna carta – highlight to understand – some sort of human rightsdocument
-       1485 – Welsh took over all power of this country
-       when speaking about English legal system it means English and Welshsystem – Scottish system is very different
-       1605 – Scotland and England joined
-       there is no one written constitutions – bits and pieces due tocomplicated legal history

Sources of Law – acts of parliaments
-       acts of parliaments – before they become acts, they are bills
-       Common Law systems – we put more weight on cases
-       Judges
o  Status of judges different fromEnglish system to others (lawyers become judges)
o  We needed judges to make law –codification of law may not require judges to make laws (i.e. in France) –judges made law
o  The court of appeal (there isonly one in this country) – can set precedents
-       cases remain as an important source of the law
o  Martin (if only one name thentypically criminal case, neutral citation code is EWCA Crim 2245)
o  Reeves v Commissioner (But readReeves and Commissioners) - tort – Ms Reeves partner got caught and hunghimself.  Ms Reeves sued the police.
o  Ms Reeves was awarded 8600 GBP à then appealed, then got awarded 4300 because both parties wereaware of Mr Reeves mental instability
o  A v S of S for Home Dept – read to understand how to read cases
o  R (Purdy) – judicial reviewcases, right to die cases (Mrs. Purdy would like for her husband to be allowedto kill her)
-       You don’t have an innate ability to appeal – unless you prove thatthe court was unsafe(?) that the conviction was unsafe.

Structure of the Courts

Civil Courts
-       magistrates’ courts (unpaid and unqualified) – mainly family lawbusiness, can’t divorce people but can set terms of separations etc
-       county courts – not much interesting for visitors, busy for all lowlevels – relatively small - civil disputes, contract à cheaper than high courts
-       you get higher quality judges at high courts
-       high courts – more substantive cases
o  wills, trusts, injunctions –chancery division at high courts
o  queen’s bench division – expertcourts within this division, includes commercial court
o  divisions are much moreflexible now so even if you are not in the quite right division, less likely toget thrown out
o  family divisions
-       Court of Appeal (CA) – Civil divison
-       Supreme courts – used to be called house of lords (changed in 2005)(à look up carpets at Supreme courts) à Supreme Court is for UK
-       Tax matters – high court to Supreme Court

Criminal Courts
-       serious cases are dealt at Crown Courts
-       Judge can have a trial without a jury but very exceptional cases
-       Summarying, indictable, tribal
-       Magistrates court can convict much less amount – if guilty, pleadguilty magistrates court if pleading not guilty, go for a jury for much higheracquittal rate.
-       Divisional court –
-       Mr Fagen’s case – innocently parked on policeman’s foot but did notmove it right away but had a laugh.  Didhe assault the policeman?

Cricket Field at Fenner's

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Finally arrived in UK

Last month or so has gone by so fast and so crazy I can hardly remember yet it felt like forever. After so much happened, D and I finally landed in the UK. We had to go through the immigration separately since they had a line only for new international students. I wasn't asked too many questions. Just a few basic ones.

Now I am really a full time student? I will try to fill in some gaps before classes begin. Until then...


(photo: today I fell asleep at 5:30pm for a quick nap but ended up sleeping till 10:20pm. Not sure I will be able to sleep. Yikes.)