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Quote of the week...

"I once watched a nature documentary regarding the twilight years of an old African elephant matriarch, its subsequent decline in the health and ultimate demise. The similarities to this movie are uncanny. One to miss." by some random guy on iTunes, about the film Code 46.

 I wish i could be critical in such creative and colorful terms...bravo!

Lawcast Top 5

I have been looking for the greatest legal podcasts out there on the net, and have generally come up empty handed. Most of the podcasts are boring, irrelevant, aimed at the US or way too complicated. However, i have put together a list of my favorite 5 podcasts that i regularly listen to, and i would be interested to hear your feedback!

Enjoy


5. BBC Everyday Ethics - This got number 5, because, although its fascinating, its not really law. However, it gets you thinking beyond the law in fact, and introduces some aspects of legal ethics. I love it.

4. Law Express Podcast - A wide range of podcasts on the sorts of topics delivered during a degree course...aimed mostly at students.

3. Charon QC Podcast (and blog) - I think this is the writers first podcast, so this is one to watch. Its an hour long, so its longer than most!

2. BBC Law in Action - Has to be the ultimate authority on law pod casts. It is narrated by a very well respected legal correspondent, who gets to the heart of difficult legal matters without confusing the listener with jargon. There is a wide range of interviews from all variety of legal professional, on the topics of the week. This is the starting point for any legal podcaster.

1. Ricky Gervais Guide to Law and Order - If you haven't listened to any of the Ricky Gervais pod casts, your missing out. In this podcast Ricky, Stephen Merchant, and the buffoon that is Karl Pilkington, sort of talk about law and order...but to be honest i cant remember what they talk about, but it is the funniest podcast i have ever listened to. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

A case of the Assange

This Assange thing has been going on for months now, and i have viewed it with a bit of cynicism. However i often look down on people who seize on conspiracy theories, so have been trying to stop myself from coming to the obvious conclusion.

That conclusion being that the coincidence is to much, and there must be powers at play beyond the visible.

But a conspiracy theory is like religion...there is no evidence, but maybe it exists

Deadline Looming

You find me, once again, sitting in the library where i am meant to be completing my Land Law essay that is due today. The reason its been left so late, is that i had an operation on Wednesday night and courtesy of the general anesthetic, i slept all day once i got home yesterday.

I could, of course, get an extension, but there is a problem...i am back in hospital on Monday for a week.

So i am dosed up on pain killers, and probably quite a bit of general anesthetic still, and trying to get my head around registered land. I am lucky that its not that difficult a topic, and if i work hard i can get it done in the next few hours!

Off i go...

Essay Writing Tips

I am just writing an essay, and thought i would take a break to share with you my method.

Step 1: Break down question into bullet points. Identify the areas that need covering.
Step 2: Plan your core reading by looking at the areas that need to be dealt with. Once planned, spend a reasonable amount of time on the actual reading. Keep track of everything you read for your bibliography.
Step 3: Outline your basic argument, either in the form of short paragraphs, or a spider diagram
Step 4: Start wider reading. By this point, you should have a strong foundation to build on. Add to your basic argument with more advanced arguments found from wider reading. Keep track of everything you read for your bibliography.
Step 5: Add meat on the bones. By this point you should have several pages including your basic argument, that has been build on with advanced arguments. You now need to convert that from a more bullet pointed format, into an essay format.
Step 6: You have done the hard work, now you need to sculpt your creation into the masterpiece your capable of. This is the fun bit, as you know the hard work is out of the way, and now you are adding finishing touches, rewording, and tidying up.

To summarise; Break Down, Core Reading, Basic Argument, Wider Reading, Advanced Arguments, Meat on the Bones, Sculpt your creation.

As always, additional tips and feedback welcome, i will willingly make adjustments and add to the above :)

!Added to the Academic Almanac!

Library Fitties

Don't you hate it when your in the library, trying to study hard, and a hottie comes and sits down next to you?

I must remain focused, and resist the blond beauty.

As far as i can Glee

There have been a few times in my life where i have realised that i have to swallow my pride and admit to something completely ridiculous. Like the time when i admitted that i had soft hands because i moisturised. Or that i conditioned my hair every day. Or the time i really went off the rails, and ignored the fact i am a 25 year old male student, and got a female kitten that i treat like a baby. Anyway, this weeks embarrassing admission is; i LOVE GLEE.


I watch it every week, and its great. But sometimes they push the boat out, like this week. We have been treated to the hottie-licious Gwyneth Paltrow, all singing, all dancing, and at one point not wearing much.

Anyone else loving Glee? Opinions on a post card!

P.S. I seem to have gotten hooked on the lamest rhyming post titles and/or the hardly understandable word plays. I have decided that its going to become a bit of a feature, and i am going to impress you with my creative style for...ever :D

umbrella....ella etc

Draw and Quarter Porter...thanks to Guido

If you haven't read the Guy Fawkes Blog your missing out. You will see major political news stories breaking on Guido's blog hours before they appear in the wider media, from a blogger who has a rare ability to spot a developing news story before anyone else.

He is well respected in the 'sphere, and has a love/hate relationship with politicians...they love to read the gossip about their colleagues, and hate it when they become the targets...as they so often do!

I am loving the story today about our illustrious (yawn) leader Sir Aaron Porter CBE, TW.a.T. After some typical moronic flip flopping, he is now not standing for re-election. Good news!

The student disorder in London has damaged our already crappy reputation. Had Porter had a tighter grip on the organisation of the marches it may have been avoided. Whats worse, is his reaction afterwards.

Our next president is going to have a steep hill to climb. He or she needs to put behind them the failures of Mr Porter, and rebuild our reputation as a worthy investment by the tax payer.

The silence of the lambs

Ok, grumpy post. I'm fairly sure everyone reading this can relate to this situation.

I had a tutorial today, that i had only half prepared for, and what i had done i wasn't very confident about. But i am more likely to learn something if i am there, than if i am not, so i went along thinking i could correct my errors...or at the very least get my name on the register.

There was about 10 people in the tutorial...and they all sat there in silence...looking down...occasionally turning a page as if they were looking for something. So when the tutor asked the first question, i thought i would leave it to see how long it would take before someone piped up. Not a single person had anything to say.

I got quite a lot out of it, and it improved my confidence, so it worked for me...but how are these people ever going to do any advocacy if they can't even say something during a tiny tutorial.

It gets right on my nerves!

grump over.

Emotions v The Law [2011]

There is two big debates going on at the moment...Votes for Prisoners, and the Sex Offenders Register.

Both of these are pretty emotive subjects. Most members of the public will say that prisoners should not get the right to vote, and that sex offenders should 'sign the register' for life. However, the law is at odds with that.

The ECtHR case that told us that prisoners should have the right to vote. (In addition to the judgment, this case tells us something interesting about access to justice...any moron can take the UK to court :-D)

The Sex Offenders case (can't currently find the law report!) tells us that sex offenders have the right to have their inclusion on the register reviewed. If the review shows they are no longer a danger to the public they will be removed from the register.

From a legal point of view, in my opinion these decisions are both correct.

The question this raises is about public perception of the law...how can the public have confidence in the legal system if the decisions made are at odds with their beliefs? Does it matter that there is a difference? IS there even a difference? What more could be done?

I tend to think that the judiciary represent us very well, and we don't even know it.

Not to be confused with Barista

I have just finished watching the 4 episodes of the documentary The Barristers, and despite my original scathing review, i would defiantly recommend it.

I have absolutely no interest in becoming a Barrister, and this doc gave me another reason to keep that view. Its hard work, competitive, archaic, and potentially humiliating. This documentary tells me that if your face doesn't fit, it doesn't matter how hard you work. One example is the girl who was informed that she had been accepted as a tenant at a chambers, and then had the offer withdrawn pending her having to convince the doubters in a presentation. Lucky for her, she did herself proud...but she did describe the experience as 'lacking dignity' and 'humiliating'.

That all sounds pretty negative...but from watching this documentary i can totally see why people do it. There is nothing more satisfying than overcoming hurdles as high as this. Winning a case must be the most incredible high...and i can't think of a better place to have your confidence stripped down and build back to dizzying heights.

So as much as i have absolutely no interest in being a barrister, i have new found respect for the pompous fools :p

Enjoy!

The attack of the fourty percenters

I am sitting in the library, sneakily eating a sandwich and lucosade...I am meant to be preparing for my Human Rights tutorial on Tuesday, but couldn't resist doing a quick blog entry.

I am in my second year. My first year was blighted with periods of sickness which meant i missed quite a bit of time. Luckily, thanks to loads of help from my tutors, lots of studying, and 2 or 3 deferrals, i managed to pass the year.

I vowed to make this year better. I came up with contingency plans for a whole variety of situations that might interrupt my study. Things were going great. I got 78% and 74% on my first two essays, so was pretty optimistic. Frustratingly, i have to go into hospital next week for an operation, which is likely to see me losing two weeks of study.

As a mature student, i have taken time out of my career to come to study full time. So i am not satisfied with settling for just a pass, i hope to get a 2:1 or a first. Nor am i too pleased about the prospect of having to postpone the year. So i went to see my head of school, who organised me some extra funding so i could have all the lectures recorded on a Dictaphone, and emailed to me.

Its easy to fall into the trap of using distractions like this as an excuse to aim for the minimum...i will let you know if i manage to avoid it!

On a different note, despite my concerns about getting a good degree, i would regret it forever if i didn't make the most of the fact i'm a student again. So i shall be out on the lash on Friday night, celebrating the fact that i got all my work done :D

LibDem Syndrome

When i was about 6/7 years old, someone gave me the cassettes of War of the Worlds audiobook. A combination of the terrifying soundtrack and creepy narrator, i couldn't sleep for a week. For some reason, i decided to fight fire with fire and was searching for another cassette to keep me company while i lay awake...and for some reason i settled for a Lisa Stansfield single. I consider her music now more terrifying than War of the Worlds :D

Anyway, since then i have been unable to sleep without some noise on in the background. I tend to switch between Radio 4, Radio 7, and a multitude of audiobooks i have accumulated over the years on iTunes. I might put together a list of my favorites some time in the week, if your very lucky ;-)

I have an account with Audible.co.uk, and they give me one free audio book a month for £3.99. This has saved me a load of money, as i was spending about £20 a month. My new credit was added today, and i decided to get my moneys worth by buying The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Its meant to cost just shy of £40.

I don't have a particular interest in the history of Nazi Germany, however during the last election i found the comparisons between the present day British National Party (BNP), the the origins of the Nazi party pretty fascinating.

So i guess i am listening to this audio book in the hope that i might get to the bottom of fascism, and save the world from dictators...i seem to have LibDem syndrome!

The blood transfusion debate

I'm just watching Casualty (don't judge me :p)...but it raised an interesting point on legal ethics.

The pregnant female patient refused a blood transfusion due to religious beliefs. The doctors had to respect this refusal, and she died.

I am just thinking over a bit of a tentative theory, and i'm hoping someone will tell me why i'm wrong. The Pretty case tells us that the right to life (Article 2) in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) doesn't give rise to a right to die. The doctors are defending peoples right to live (are they?), and fulfilling their duty to their patients. By standing by and watching their patient die, are the doctors breaching the patients Article 2 right to life? Bearing in mind that Article 2 does not say that religious belief is an exception to the right to life. I acknowledge that there is a right in Article 9 to religious belief, but i think most people would agree that Article 2 is a higher generation right that Article 9.

Speak to me!

BBC4 Justice Season

This is defiantly one to watch, and is the best season of factual programs i have seen on the BBC in years.

I would recommend the program called 'The Highest Court in the Land: Justice Makers', but the BBC's useless policy on program availability means you can't watch it. Keep an eye out tho, i did hear rumblings that one of the changes to the BBC would be a better on demand service including long term availability of this sort of thing.

Anyway, the current programs are all in the form of lectures by a Professor in the US. All very interesting discussions about Justice. TOP TIP: I often include material from BBC documentaries in my essays, with appropriate citations of course. It demonstrates wider research, and always goes down well!

CLICKEY CLICK

As always, your feedback is encouraged!

 Edit: Thanks to Minxey for telling me about the Channel 4 documentary about the Supreme Court, here is the link! Clickey Clickey

the others

Thanks to a recent post by Law Actually, i have had the opportunity to check out a selection of other similar blogs. From what i can gather, blogs like this one come and go like Walkabout bar staff. So if i want this blog to be a success i need to develop some staying power.

Here are the blogs i looked at, and without stepping on the toes of LA, i have done a one line review for each one;

Look Good Legally - Lots of pictures, and covers a wide variety of topics. Not too law heavy, so if your after a gentle, but fascinating read, about the life of a student, she's the girl for you.
lawyerwanna.be  - Not much recently about law, but defiantly gives you a smile when you read it. Also, from what i can see, the author is very easy on the eye ;-)
Legally Screwed - This is a pure law degree blog, and its a fantastic read. I can relate to a lot of the things the author is talking to, so i'm officially a 'follower'!

Good work lawblog team ;)

Reading a journal.

I've just sat down to read a journal on Law of Evidence, which is part of the preparation work i must do for a tutorial on Monday. The first thing i cant help but do is look at the size of the scroll bar, so see how long the article is.

On this occasion, the scroll bar is tiny. I struggled to even get past the first paragraph...it is so boring. So i downloaded this http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.htm. This program will read some selected text to you, which is sometimes better than giving up and not reading at all. I will add the link to the links menu, feel free to give me some feedback on what you thought.

It didn't work for me. Although the speech is fairly natural once you find the right voice, there is really no alternative to reading the words yourself :-(

The Barristers - 2008 Documentary

Just watching this documentary now. So far its totally avoided the undergraduate learning that all these barristers had to do, but i guess it has some value if your going to be a barrister...

See the link on the right -->

Edit: ALL of the graduates are intolerable. They are either morons, or pompous. Enjoying it!

First post

Its 11am, and i have an essay due in a few days. I should be in the library, but i'm still in bed. Yes, I'm a law student.

Anyway, the point in this blog...
I often watch law related videos to make it feel like i am doing something useful, but am always irritated by the fact that everything on the net is focused at law students in the US. So hopefully i can put together a little resource of websites that are useful to law students in the UK.

At best, i will get a few followers who find this useful...at worst, it will remain a way of keeping track of what i have watched.