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Law at University FAQ

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    Not at all. It is a fairly challenging book; the others in the list are easier. However, it is very rewarding, and reading/understanding it is extremely good practice for university.
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    Jacket would you recommend the law express books and the question and answer books as guides only?
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    Law Express = stupid waste of time. Its so oversimplified that it will only end up confusing you.

    Q&A books I can't comment, though the one I saw was rubbish
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    Thanks for the answer btw, I tried to give some of that rep stuff but apparently I can only give it to the same person once a month. XD
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    LOL, for a second I read Jackets reply as Law = stupid waste of time and I was like :lolwut: then I seen "Express" and all was well.
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    Hi,

    Just a quick question about textbooks. In respect to criminal and constitutional, how old a textbook has to be in order to be considered 'too old to use'? For example, I have Ashworth's latest edition of 'Principles of Criminal law', however, there's a new edition due to be released soon and I was wondering if I will be expected to purchase it or can I just use the one that I already have?
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    Anything since 2005/06 should be fine for criminal. The only area where you need a bang-up-to-date book is fraud (unless there have been any big new developments since summer 2007 which I am unaware of), but that isn't a particularly large chunk of the course. However, you will need to be aware of any important new cases no matter which book you use - sometimes crucially important cases crop up whilst you are actually on the course. These will be pointed out in your lectures and on your lecture handouts.

    Since you should be using multiple sources and since your tutorial handouts and lecture notes will point out the important articles and cases, it will become apparent to you if the book is too out of date quite quickly. I wouldn't bother getting a new edition if you already have the last one.
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    Jacket do you have any book recommendations for contract law?
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    Burrows - Casebook on Contract
    McKendrick - TCM on Contract
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    Thank you
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    thanks nice thread:woo:
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    Hi! I've just started a Law degree at Uni, am three weeks into it. Started off with a couple of weeks of introductory talks etc, and now the work is kicking in. I'm finding it all very difficult to keep up with, which is worrying me because it's so soon in the year and I already feel scared! I just don't seem to understand the lectures, and with concepts and definitions of legal principles etc I'm not sure what I'm supposed to know and where I'm supposed to get it. I just feel we've been thrown in at the deep end with no lifesaver. It's like 'Off you go.. go teach yourself'. Is this normal? I turn up to the seminars having done the specified preparation but feel a bit like I have no idea what's going on. For example at the minute we're discussing "What is the State?" And I am totally LOST!... Also I'm finding time management difficult, I find balancing all my workload a bit tricky with some of the other commitments I've taken on, and obviously wanting to enjoy myself a bit! Does this first year even matter, I've met some people who seem to think you don't have to worry about your first year, just put in a little effort of the end to make sure you pass through to next year and start from there? This seems a little foolish to me... Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated! Thanks! xx
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    (Original post by chimp_ann_zee)
    Hi! I've just started a Law degree at Uni, am three weeks into it. Started off with a couple of weeks of introductory talks etc, and now the work is kicking in. I'm finding it all very difficult to keep up with, which is worrying me because it's so soon in the year and I already feel scared! I just don't seem to understand the lectures, and with concepts and definitions of legal principles etc I'm not sure what I'm supposed to know and where I'm supposed to get it. I just feel we've been thrown in at the deep end with no lifesaver. It's like 'Off you go.. go teach yourself'. Is this normal? I turn up to the seminars having done the specified preparation but feel a bit like I have no idea what's going on.

    For example at the minute we're discussing "What is the State?" And I am totally LOST!... Also I'm finding time management difficult, I find balancing all my workload a bit tricky with some of the other commitments I've taken on, and obviously wanting to enjoy myself a bit! Does this first year even matter, I've met some people who seem to think you don't have to worry about your first year, just put in a little effort of the end to make sure you pass through to next year and start from there? This seems a little foolish to me... Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated! Thanks! xx
    First things first, don't make the mistake of falling into the trap of thinking first year doesn't matter because it does a lot. Sure for some universities, it doesn't count towards your final grade, however in second year you do need your first year grades when you're applying for work experience, mini pupillages, vacation schemes all of which are majorly competitive.

    Plus you'll use first year and second year grades when applyin for training contracts and pupillages in oyur third year if you decide to go down that route and those are comptetitve enough. So limiting yourself to a 3rd or something simply because "first year doesn't count" will only do more damage than necessary.

    I know how you feel regarding already been pilled up with work and feeling like you've been thrown into the deep end but once you get into it, it gets better. I'm also a first year and I'm in my second week of lectures and at first I felt like you did but I also realised that if I didn't start reading and preparing for lectures seminars/tutorials then my to do list would simply grow.

    So the best advice I can gie you is start now, just start reading from the beginning of the modules so you understand the basic introduction and do this for all your modules and then when you feel comfortable, get yourself to the level you're at in lectures etc and then read ahed of that so when you finally come to do that in lectures, you'll find you already understand some topics.

    I hope this helps and if you have any more questions regarding coping with first year or anything else then post in here.

    Goodluck
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    The key is to find textbooks you understand. Do NOT restrict yourself to books on your reading list. If you don't yet understand the "big" textbooks or find them very hard going, try smaller ones like the Core Text Series and work your way up. Start by trying to understand the big picture before getting bogged down in the detail. Getting bogged down in detail is a classic mistake for beginners to make.
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    Hey all,

    Third week into the course and I can see some change in my study patterns.

    1. First two weeks, I was making notes by copying all the important information into my own notes (hand-written). But now, I feel that its not a sustainable approach. So, I started marking in the textbooks and make notes in the textbook directly. This gives me more time to read cases.

    2. Case names are the most important piece of information that really needs to be "remembered". I can usually remember the facts of a case, but forget the names. Now making an effort to remember the names by revising the cases often.

    3. Public and EU law currently require reading "facts". So, lots of textbook reading. But on the other hand, I feel contract and criminal law are better learnt through understanding cases. So, now my hand-written notes mainly have case studies - names, brief facts and the important message behind the decision.

    Hope I am going in the right direction! I am just a li'il scared that this approach might hurt me when it comes to essay questions. Any feedback from seniors/peers will be much appreciated!

    Thanks,
    -- Vidya
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    I think you've got the right approach. It isn't particularly helpful to have notes which just copy out the textbook: you can just read the textbook at revision time. Obviously it depends on the individual, but IMO notes should be brief summaries and should aim to jog your memory by providing a very clear structure which can be applied to exam questions. There is no point going into copious levels of detail.

    You might actually find it more helpful not to make proper notes until the Easter holidays/Summer. Making clear and structured notes which you can learn and then apply to exam questions is excellent for revision, and it helps you to marshal your knowledge and thoughts into a workable structure.

    The facts of cases are often unimportant. The names are key if you are to refer to the case in an exam. The best way to get remember case names is to actually use those cases when answering exam questions... you should practice doing a lot of questions as the last phase of your revision. The idea isn't to know all about a case; the idea is to be able to deploy that case in an exam question. This is generally hard to do if it will take you more than half a sentence to state the proposition that a given case stands for. You need to be able to simplify, not detail-ify.

    It is fine to have a more case-centered approach to Contract and Criminal; but you do need to marshal them into a series of principles and propositions that you can use to answer exam questions. You can't answer a question just by listing a bunch of cases and running through the facts. You need to know what the legal position is and must be able to apply the cases to the question.

    Essay questions are a different kettle of fish to problem questions. Sometimes problem-question style structured notes can be adapted to allow you to answer a fairly generic/straightforward essay question. But most essay questions cover controversial issues for which you will have had to have read some journal articles. It is rare for a textbook to adequately cover the different points of view/controversies for an essay question, though sometimes the Text, Cases and Materials style books can do (Craig and De Burca for EU law does this very well).
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    I think you've got the right approach. It isn't particularly helpful to have notes which just copy out the textbook: you can just read the textbook at revision time. Obviously it depends on the individual, but IMO notes should be brief summaries and should aim to jog your memory by providing a very clear structure which can be applied to exam questions. There is no point going into copious levels of detail.

    You might actually find it more helpful not to make proper notes until the Easter holidays/Summer. Making clear and structured notes which you can learn and then apply to exam questions is excellent for revision, and it helps you to marshal your knowledge and thoughts into a workable structure.

    The facts of cases are often unimportant. The names are key if you are to refer to the case in an exam. The best way to get remember case names is to actually use those cases when answering exam questions... you should practice doing a lot of questions as the last phase of your revision. The idea isn't to know all about a case; the idea is to be able to deploy that case in an exam question. This is generally hard to do if it will take you more than half a sentence to state the proposition that a given case stands for. You need to be able to simplify, not detail-ify.

    It is fine to have a more case-centered approach to Contract and Criminal; but you do need to marshal them into a series of principles and propositions that you can use to answer exam questions. You can't answer a question just by listing a bunch of cases and running through the facts. You need to know what the legal position is and must be able to apply the cases to the question.

    Essay questions are a different kettle of fish to problem questions. Sometimes problem-question style structured notes can be adapted to allow you to answer a fairly generic/straightforward essay question. But most essay questions cover controversial issues for which you will have had to have read some journal articles. It is rare for a textbook to adequately cover the different points of view/controversies for an essay question, though sometimes the Text, Cases and Materials style books can do (Craig and De Burca for EU law does this very well).
    I'm so confused by all of that. So what you're saying is don't just copy the textbook but make detailed notes that you understand?

    Also regarding cases, don't learn all of them but just the legal position so for example if a case is about causation in Criminal law, then you only need to know the case name and the legal position in this case causation? What about judgements and stuff? Do you not need to know what the parties actually did or should you only know that in very brief detail?

    I am so confused by problem and essay based questions? What's the difference?
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    (Original post by sleekchic)
    I'm so confused by all of that. So what you're saying is don't just copy the textbook but make detailed notes that you understand?

    Also regarding cases, don't learn all of them but just the legal position so for example if a case is about causation in Criminal law, then you only need to know the case name and the legal position in this case causation? What about judgements and stuff? Do you not need to know what the parties actually did or should you only know that in very brief detail?

    I am so confused by problem and essay based questions? What's the difference?
    I'm saying don't make overly detailed notes. Obviously its personal opinion and you should do your notes as you want. But I think they are best done as a sort of skeleton. The most important thing is that they have a structure you can use in an exam: e.g. your misrepresentation notes will give you a list of 6/7 requirements for a misrepresentation, so you know you have to run through all of them in a problem question where there might be a misrep. But you shouldn't have lots of detail on each requirement in your notes, just the basics: you can read textbooks for the detail.

    Most cases stand for a single and basic proposition of law. For example, in contract you look at the objective intention of the parties, Smith v Hughes. An advert is usually going to be a invitation to treat, Fisher v Bell. But if it is clear that someone placing an advert intends to be immediately bound, it might be an offer, Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball. That is literally all the detail you need on those cases - the facts just aren't relevant. The only case out of that lot where the facts are helpful is Carlill, because they might help you realise exactly why the advert in Carlill was found to be an offer - but that is for people who want a first.

    For most cases you do not need to know the facts at all. If remembering a little about the case helps you remember it, then feel free to do that. But it doesn't help your understand. The facts of cases like Smith v Hughes and Fisher v Bell simply are not relevant.

    There are some cases you need to know in a bit more detail. These are cases which are controversial and usually involve dissenting judgments. It will become very obvious which cases fit that category once you broadly understand an area of law. In Contract, one example might be Williams v Roffey.


    Problem questions and essay questions are very different. A problem question will give you a set of facts and ask you to advise the parties. This involves a systematic application of the law. For example, if it looks like there might be a misrepresentation, you need to run through all the requirements of a misrepresentation and then comment on the remedies.

    Essay questions will generally say something like "The law of murder is in dire need of reform. Discuss". The key point about essay questions is that they are normative: they ask for your opinion. You need to explore the arguments both in favour of and against the proposition in the question and come up with an answer: argue it one way or another.

    Essay questions tend to focus on a specific point, so answering them properly will usually require much more detail than problem questions. A problem question which involves misrepresentation will require you to go through all the requirements of a misrep to see whether there is one; but an essay question on misrep will focus on a specific aspect of misrepresentation. Essay questions are much more focused. You prepare general areas of law (e.g. consideration) for problem questions, but prepare very specific parts of areas for law for essay questions (e.g. an essay on consideration would almost certainly focus on the implications or correctness of Williams v Roffey). Generally, you shouldn't embark on an essay question in the exam unless you know exactly what you want to argue and have prepared the particular area in sufficient detail. Essay questions are harder to prepare for and much less predictable for that reason. However, because they are more focused, it is easier to make yourself stand-out in an essay if you have looked at journal articles and done extra reading on that particular topic and thought about what your position is. It is definitely easier to get a 2:1 on problem questions, but it is easier to get a first on essays. If you are in any doubt over whether you can answer an essay question properly, do a problem.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    I'm saying don't make overly detailed notes. Obviously its personal opinion and you should do your notes as you want. But I think they are best done as a sort of skeleton. The most important thing is that they have a structure you can use in an exam: e.g. your misrepresentation notes will give you a list of 6/7 requirements for a misrepresentation, so you know you have to run through all of them in a problem question where there might be a misrep. But you shouldn't have lots of detail on each requirement in your notes, just the basics: you can read textbooks for the detail.

    Most cases stand for a single and basic proposition of law. For example, in contract you look at the objective intention of the parties, Smith v Hughes. An advert is usually going to be a invitation to treat, Fisher v Bell. But if it is clear that someone placing an advert intends to be immediately bound, it might be an offer, Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball. That is literally all the detail you need on those cases - the facts just aren't relevant. The only case out of that lot where the facts are helpful is Carlill, because they might help you realise exactly why the advert in Carlill was found to be an offer - but that is for people who want a first.

    For most cases you do not need to know the facts at all. If remembering a little about the case helps you remember it, then feel free to do that. But it doesn't help your understand. The facts of cases like Smith v Hughes and Fisher v Bell simply are not relevant.

    There are some cases you need to know in a bit more detail. These are cases which are controversial and usually involve dissenting judgments. It will become very obvious which cases fit that category once you broadly understand an area of law. In Contract, one example might be Williams v Roffey.
    That makes sense thanks but the only thing is if you don't make detailed notes then surely your essays aren't going to be detailed?

    Unless you mean use your notes as a summary but keep referring back to the textbook.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    I'm saying don't make overly detailed notes. Obviously its personal opinion and you should do your notes as you want. But I think they are best done as a sort of skeleton. The most important thing is that they have a structure you can use in an exam: e.g. your misrepresentation notes will give you a list of 6/7 requirements for a misrepresentation, so you know you have to run through all of them in a problem question where there might be a misrep. But you shouldn't have lots of detail on each requirement in your notes, just the basics: you can read textbooks for the detail.

    Most cases stand for a single and basic proposition of law. For example, in contract you look at the objective intention of the parties, Smith v Hughes. An advert is usually going to be a invitation to treat, Fisher v Bell. But if it is clear that someone placing an advert intends to be immediately bound, it might be an offer, Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball. That is literally all the detail you need on those cases - the facts just aren't relevant. The only case out of that lot where the facts are helpful is Carlill, because they might help you realise exactly why the advert in Carlill was found to be an offer - but that is for people who want a first.

    For most cases you do not need to know the facts at all. If remembering a little about the case helps you remember it, then feel free to do that. But it doesn't help your understand. The facts of cases like Smith v Hughes and Fisher v Bell simply are not relevant.

    There are some cases you need to know in a bit more detail. These are cases which are controversial and usually involve dissenting judgments. It will become very obvious which cases fit that category once you broadly understand an area of law. In Contract, one example might be Williams v Roffey.


    Problem questions and essay questions are very different. A problem question will give you a set of facts and ask you to advise the parties. This involves a systematic application of the law. For example, if it looks like there might be a misrepresentation, you need to run through all the requirements of a misrepresentation and then comment on the remedies.

    Essay questions will generally say something like "The law of murder is in dire need of reform. Discuss". The key point about essay questions is that they are normative: they ask for your opinion. You need to explore the arguments both in favour of and against the proposition in the question and come up with an answer: argue it one way or another.

    Essay questions tend to focus on a specific point, so answering them properly will usually require much more detail than problem questions. A problem question which involves misrepresentation will require you to go through all the requirements of a misrep to see whether there is one; but an essay question on misrep will focus on a specific aspect of misrepresentation. Essay questions are much more focused. You prepare general areas of law (e.g. consideration) for problem questions, but prepare very specific parts of areas for law for essay questions (e.g. an essay on consideration would almost certainly focus on the implications or correctness of Williams v Roffey). Generally, you shouldn't embark on an essay question in the exam unless you know exactly what you want to argue and have prepared the particular area in sufficient detail. Essay questions are harder to prepare for and much less predictable for that reason. However, because they are more focused, it is easier to make yourself stand-out in an essay if you have looked at journal articles and done extra reading on that particular topic and thought about what your position is. It is definitely easier to get a 2:1 on problem questions, but it is easier to get a first on essays. If you are in any doubt over whether you can answer an essay question properly, do a problem.
    Thanks a lot for the detailed replies! Its easier for me to remember the facts than the principle. If I remember the facts, I can come to the principle by thinking about it. Hence, the approach to use cases as a peg for contract/criminal.

    Another question about reading journal articles/other material. How do you quote the journal article? Just the author's name? And where do you usually find good journal articles? Does googling help?

    Thanks!

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