crazyangelg
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I am in my first year of a law degree and I have been set my criminal law essay. But I have no idea how to go about it.

The question is based on R v Hughes and is,

To what extent, do you think it is justifiable to deviate from fundamental principles of criminal law by creating driving offence of strict liability, in the interest of maintaining road safety?

I sort of understand the question, but I am confused on how to go about answering it and how research comes into it. Does research guide your arguments or provide you with some.

I have no clue and would be very grateful for any help!




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Katie_p
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The general thought in law is that you as a student shouldn't reall have your own opinion, so your research is to gather the opinions out there, and then your essay is structured to favour one or two particular arguments, weigh them against the opposites, and conclude that a particular viewpoint is best.

You probably covered this case in lectures or a seminar, so look at the recommended reading for that week, then use those sources to guide your research - often looking at footnotes and then going to look at those sources directly is a good method. It obviosly varies between Unis, but I normally use 20-25 sources for a 2500 word essay - about 15 of those will be articles and the rest books or possibly websites. You should aim to have an absolute minimum of 10, and as this is your first essay, make sure you keep track of your sources as you go along - record all the info you need for your citations, so that you don't need to trawl through sources for hours after you've written it!

As a general guide, no more than half your essay, preferably only a quarter to a third, should be explaining. The rest should all be argument. I'm not going to give you any substantive help, because that defeats the point of you writing the essay, but this is how I would break down the question:

To what extent, do you think it is justifiable to deviate (1) from fundamental principles (2) of criminal law by creating driving offence of strict liability (3), in the interest of maintaining road safety (4)?

I would address 2 first - outline the fundamental principles of criminal law. Then look at 3, strict liability offences in general - don't just look at driving offences, but all types of strict liability offence. Then look at 4, the specific case of driving offences and the reasoning - road safety. Here you would discuss the case - just a few sentences to explain the judgement, you don't need paragraphs explaining all of it. And finally, 1, is is justifiable? You should try to incorporate your overall argument throughout the essay, but dedicate a lot of words to your conclusion and your chosen (supporting) argument, don't just leave yourself 2 sentences at the end.

Remember to look at your mark scheme - law essays at my Uni are very different to anything I wrote at school. You don't just write A B A B A B therefore I think A. In my experience (it may be different for you, so check!) you have to write, the arguments are A and B, A is probably stronger. A > B, B > A, A > B, therefore A > B.
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crazyangelg
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(Original post by Katie_p)
The general thought in law is that you as a student shouldn't reall have your own opinion, so your research is to gather the opinions out there, and then your essay is structured to favour one or two particular arguments, weigh them against the opposites, and conclude that a particular viewpoint is best.

You probably covered this case in lectures or a seminar, so look at the recommended reading for that week, then use those sources to guide your research - often looking at footnotes and then going to look at those sources directly is a good method. It obviosly varies between Unis, but I normally use 20-25 sources for a 2500 word essay - about 15 of those will be articles and the rest books or possibly websites. You should aim to have an absolute minimum of 10, and as this is your first essay, make sure you keep track of your sources as you go along - record all the info you need for your citations, so that you don't need to trawl through sources for hours after you've written it!

As a general guide, no more than half your essay, preferably only a quarter to a third, should be explaining. The rest should all be argument. I'm not going to give you any substantive help, because that defeats the point of you writing the essay, but this is how I would break down the question:

To what extent, do you think it is justifiable to deviate (1) from fundamental principles (2) of criminal law by creating driving offence of strict liability (3), in the interest of maintaining road safety (4)?

I would address 2 first - outline the fundamental principles of criminal law. Then look at 3, strict liability offences in general - don't just look at driving offences, but all types of strict liability offence. Then look at 4, the specific case of driving offences and the reasoning - road safety. Here you would discuss the case - just a few sentences to explain the judgement, you don't need paragraphs explaining all of it. And finally, 1, is is justifiable? You should try to incorporate your overall argument throughout the essay, but dedicate a lot of words to your conclusion and your chosen (supporting) argument, don't just leave yourself 2 sentences at the end.

Remember to look at your mark scheme - law essays at my Uni are very different to anything I wrote at school. You don't just write A B A B A B therefore I think A. In my experience (it may be different for you, so check!) you have to write, the arguments are A and B, A is probably stronger. A > B, B > A, A > B, therefore A > B.
Thank you so much for spending your time to write such extensive help. I really appreciate it and it now seems more straightforward. I hope I can just ask you one more question though?

When dealing with the fundamental criminal principles am I meant to explain those or analyse them in regards to the question, as you said most of the essay should be analysis.

Really thank you for this
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Katie_p
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(Original post by crazyangelg)
Thank you so much for spending your time to write such extensive help. I really appreciate it and it now seems more straightforward. I hope I can just ask you one more question though?

When dealing with the fundamental criminal principles am I meant to explain those or analyse them in regards to the question, as you said most of the essay should be analysis.

Really thank you for this
Both Basically, limit the explanation to a few sentences - my lecturers always said, "assume the marker knows nothing", but you probably can't afford that with the word limit. Instead, assume the marker is very intelligent, knows what you're talking about, but needs a brief reminder of the facts.
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jojo w
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Hi all. I am studying access to health science diploma course. I am struggling to come up with a tittle for my research. I want to do adult nursing so my topic needs to be anything to do with health. I am interested with issues to do with diabetes though any other suggestions would be welcome. can someone please help me???

Thank you so much
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crazyangelg
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(Original post by Katie_p)
Both Basically, limit the explanation to a few sentences - my lecturers always said, "assume the marker knows nothing", but you probably can't afford that with the word limit. Instead, assume the marker is very intelligent, knows what you're talking about, but needs a brief reminder of the facts.
Okay thank you
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crazyangelg
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(Original post by Katie_p)
Both Basically, limit the explanation to a few sentences - my lecturers always said, "assume the marker knows nothing", but you probably can't afford that with the word limit. Instead, assume the marker is very intelligent, knows what you're talking about, but needs a brief reminder of the facts.
Sorry are the criminal principles stuff like actus reus and Mens rea or the principles like deterrence and harm/wrong doing?
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Katie_p
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(Original post by crazyangelg)
Sorry are the criminal principles stuff like actus reus and Mens rea or the principles like deterrence and harm/wrong doing?
Umm, I think so, but I never actually covered any "principles" so I'm not entirely sure myself :/
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tehforum
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(Original post by crazyangelg)
I am in my first year of a law degree and I have been set my criminal law essay. But I have no idea how to go about it.

The question is based on R v Hughes and is,

To what extent, do you think it is justifiable to deviate from fundamental principles of criminal law by creating driving offence of strict liability, in the interest of maintaining road safety?

I sort of understand the question, but I am confused on how to go about answering it and how research comes into it. Does research guide your arguments or provide you with some.

I have no clue and would be very grateful for any help!




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fundamental principles = actus reus/mens rea distinction, and strict liability
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crazyangelg
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I would be grateful, if anyone could offer any more help?
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