octanethriller
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Just a quick question:

The written piece that you must hand in with the BCL application - should that be one that has already been marked? I'm assuming it should be however I just want to make sure. I have emailed Oxford about this but they are yet to reply and I'm quite impatient
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octanethriller
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Just a quick question:

The written piece that you must hand in with the BCL application - should that be one that has already been marked? I'm assuming it should be however I just want to make sure. I have emailed Oxford about this but they are yet to reply and I'm quite impatient
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octanethriller
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I'm yet to submit something. I have a piece of work in mind - it's a jurisprudence essay but I want to know whether they want a piece that has been marked or not
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octanethriller
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Ahh - this is marked work from this year. Its the only essay I have had the mark back for thus far and so I suppose that's why I'm sending it as I'm sure of its standard. The application form doesn't make it clear!
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octanethriller
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Hmmm my essay doesn't use any complex vocab. Always thought it was best to keep it simple and get to the point! I think I may have to get the theasurus out now
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John Gardner
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Don't send anything with a mark or comments already on it. It will be marked by us in Oxford and the mark will be factored into the overall assessment of your application. Don't send an answer to a problem question, because the Oxford marker will find that harder to get into. It is best to send something on a relatively mainstream area of law such as tort or contract (or on legal history/jurisprudence) that displays your originality, your precision, your focus, and your rigour. These would be the main things we would reward. If you haven't already got an essay that covers all these bases, write one that does.
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110111
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(Original post by John Gardner)
It is best to send something on a relatively mainstream area of law such as tort or contract (or on legal history/jurisprudence)
I have a slightly off-topic question.

You had commented* earlier that there are differences between rules and reasons. I know that Hart ( and of course many others ) has written extensively on rules (primary and secondary rules, rule of recognition, rule of change, rule of adjudication ) ( while Dworkin has written on standards aka "principles" and "policies" )

Reasons (of the first and second order and requests and orders) appear to be Razian concepts. What should I read for more information about "reasons". If as I suspect, Joseph Raz is the one to read for more on this topic, which of his books should I read first ?

* "Jurisprudential lesson: a reason is not always a rule. Admissions lesson: there are very few rules in university admissions."
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...81#post3542481

I am keeping my questions on jurisprudence to a minimum, as impliedly requested
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...42#post3263042
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110111
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BTW, when I tried to access one of your articles on Nagel, I found that the URL had changed. There is no longer a site at http://ndpr.icaap.org/content/archiv...ner-nagel.html. Diligent googling reveals that the article is now at: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=1365. You may want to update the link on your home page.
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octanethriller
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I'm probably wrong but don't most jurisprudential writers examine reasons. Crudely put, for positivists moral reasons don't necessarily equate with rules, whereas for naturalists moral reasons are rules?
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(Original post by octanethriller)
I'm probably wrong but don't most jurisprudential writers examine reasons. Crudely put, for positivists moral reasons don't necessarily equate with rules, whereas for naturalists moral reasons are rules?
In the pure form, I guess that early positivists would say that moral reasons are void. However, Hart does appear to have some minimal role for morality and (horrors ! ) natural law.

Raz appears to be trying to find a way to introduce a more principled approach. My problem with Hart is that Nazi law ( and other odious "legal systems" would appear to fulfill the criteria to be called a valid legal system.

After all, the Nazi system had primary rules and secondary rules, including
rules of recognition, change and adjudication. Raz seems ( in one reading ) to be trying to address this problem while trying to avoid the approaches of the natural law theorists.

Disclaimer:
My knowledge of these issues is embarrassingly minimal. ( but will grow ! ... girds up the loins and prepares for intellectual battle ! ) As for Raz, I am only at the preliminary stage of reading about him rather than having progressed to reading his works. ( See my earlier post asking for a good starting point to read Raz )
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(Original post by octanethriller)
Hmmm my essay doesn't use any complex vocab. Always thought it was best to keep it simple and get to the point! I think I may have to get the theasurus out now
May be unwise. John Gardner ( see the post above ) is likely to be one of those reading your essay (He has stated before that he is involved with the BCL admission process. On the other hand, this may be a chore that is handed to a lowly lecturer ) Have a look at http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=1365 or http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lawf0081/value.pdf. He has a sparse style that gets to the meat of the argument without equivocation.

So I suspect that decorating your essay with lexical frills and verbal gargoyles may be counter productive. It may be better to spend time editing your essay to enhance its precision and rigour. Verbiage and linguistic frills are useful to impress the masses, but remember that you are dealing with your intellectual peers ( or superiors ) when you submit a BCL essay.

PS: Here are some nice gargoyles( I like gargoyles :-) ):
http://images.google.co.uk/images?q=...-8&sa=N&tab=wi
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octanethriller
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(Original post by poohbear)
In the pure form, I guess that early positivists would say that moral reasons are void. However, Hart does appear to have some minimal role for morality and (horrors ! ) natural law.

Raz appears to be trying to find a way to introduce a more principled approach. My problem with Hart is that Nazi law ( and other odious "legal systems" would appear to fulfill the criteria to be called a valid legal system.

After all, the Nazi system had primary rules and secondary rules, including
rules of recognition, change and adjudication. Raz seems ( in one reading ) to be trying to address this problem while trying to avoid the approaches of the natural law theorists.

Disclaimer:
My knowledge of these issues is embarrassingly minimal. ( but will grow ! ... girds up the loins and prepares for intellectual battle ! ) As for Raz, I am only at the preliminary stage of reading about him rather than having progressed to reading his works. ( See my earlier post asking for a good starting point to read Raz )
I think that Hart and Raz and positivsts in general would recognise the Nazi system as being a legal system despite its lack of moral credentials. However, Hart in his later years as a soft positvist would say that it would not be regarded as law if it contravened any moral element that was embeded in the rule of recognition.

Raz is harsher (or so I gather !) in that for him a legal system is still a legal system even if it is morally corrupt. For him the rule of law and its components make the law more effective in its role of guiding people however it doesn't by defintion need it - he gives the example of a knife - the rule of law is like the sharpness of a knife - you can still have a knife that is not sharp but it won't be very good at cutting just like without the rule of law the law won't be effective at guiding people.

Oh also, the Nazi regime could claim authority and consequently would be a valid legal system albeit not a good one as far as I understand his theory.

Actually I can see what you mean by reasons and Raz. When Raz talks about reasons he talks about the law as providing reasons which pre-empt our own personal reasons for any sort of beahviour. They are second-order reasons that balance and come to a judgement on our first order reasons, and decide for us what we should do. If the law was not this sort of second-order reason structure which rendered our own reasons irrelevant then we would have no need to turn to the law for we would be sticking to our own reasons all the time.

Right - I think I have confused myself writing this! I think a good starting point would be getting to grips with his authority argument and why he belives the sources thesis to be the best explanation of a legal system - 'Authority, Law and Morality' I think the article is called. HE states in it is his own theory and also criticses HArt's approach and Dworkin's approach.

I think you may enjoy reading Finnis.

PS. This is my understanding of what I have read by far and so is probably quite flawed!
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(Original post by octanethriller)
I think a good starting point would be getting to grips with his authority argument and why he belives the sources thesis to be the best explanation of a legal system - 'Authority, Law and Morality' I think the article is called.
...

I think you may enjoy reading Finnis.
Thanks for the pointer. A quick google reveals " Raz, Joseph [1994] "Authority, Law, and Morality," in Joseph Raz, Ethics in the Public Domain Oxford: Oxford University Press ". I'll borrow it from the library.

As for Finnis, I enjoy his writing and have read parts of his Natural Law and Natural Rights. In addition, I have a copy of his article, "On the Incoherence of Legal Positivism" sitting in my pile of stuff-to-be-read-real-soon-when-I-finally-get-the-time
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octanethriller
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(Original post by poohbear)
Thanks for the pointer. A quick google reveals " Raz, Joseph [1994] "Authority, Law, and Morality," in Joseph Raz, Ethics in the Public Domain Oxford: Oxford University Press ". I'll borrow it from the library.

As for Finnis, yes I do enjoy his writing and have read parts of his Natural Law and Natural Rights. I also have a copy of his article , "On the Incoherence of Legal Positivism" sitting in my pile of stuff-to-be-read-real-soon-when-I-finally-get-the-time
Yes, I have a huge pile of reading with a similar title and surprisingly (or not) it is all philosophy!
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John Gardner
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That debate you just had about legal positivism was fascinating, but it didn't really have much to do with the relationship between rules and reasons. Here are some simple truths about rules and reasons:

1. Rules divide into mandatory, permissive, and empowering types;

2. Permissive and empowering rules are not reasons to do what one is permitted or empowered by them to do;

3. But mandatory rules are reasons (or more exactly, the fact that there is a mandatory rule is a reason to do whatever the rule requires);

4. The reasons referred to in 3 are reasons of a special type, which give mandatory rules their special force.

5. Since not all reasons are of the special type referred to in 4, not all reasons are rules. (My original contention in the post referred to by Poohbear.)

Raz has done more than anyone else to explain the special type of reasons mentioned in 4. His Practical Reason and Norms (1975) introduces the category of exclusioary reasons. He argues that the type of reason mentioned in 4 is (a) a reason to perform the act required by the rule that is also (b) a reason not to act on some or all of the countervailing reasons. This combination is later dubbed by Raz a 'protected' reason.

Raz actually talks about 'norms' rather than rules but this shouldn't distract you. A rule is simply a norm capable of an indefinite number of applications to different cases. (Norms that are not rules could be called 'rulings'.)

There are mandatory norms (including mandatory rules) in every legal system. But not all mandatory norms (and not all mandatory rules) are legal. There are also moral mandatory rules, mandatory rules in games, etc. Raz differs from many other writers in providing a unified analysis of them all.

Hope this helps!

PS thanks for pointing out my broken link, Poohbear. I'll try to find a moment to fix it. Good luck with your phone interview.
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Lady Narcissus
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Hi Octanethriller.

I'm hardly one to judge or to know, but I bet clear and concise is every law lecturers dream to read. Best wishes with it all I am exceptionally fussy about what to submit for things. Good luck
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John Gardner
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(Original post by LauraWalker)
Hi Octanethriller.

I'm hardly one to judge or to know, but I bet clear and concise is every law lecturers dream to read. Best wishes with it all I am exceptionally fussy about what to submit for things. Good luck
Thanks, Laura, for bringing us all back on-topic. J
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octanethriller
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Sorry for the digression! Thanks for the pointers on rules and reasons - I have yet to read practical reason and norms.

Good luck to Laura and anyone else applying for the BCL.
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LLMCR
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(Original post by John Gardner)
Don't send anything with a mark or comments already on it. It will be marked by us in Oxford and the mark will be factored into the overall assessment of your application. Don't send an answer to a problem question, because the Oxford marker will find that harder to get into. It is best to send something on a relatively mainstream area of law such as tort or contract (or on legal history/jurisprudence) that displays your originality, your precision, your focus, and your rigour. These would be the main things we would reward. If you haven't already got an essay that covers all these bases, write one that does.
Hello,

I’m aware that this is quite an old thread. However I’ve been searching for information regarding the written work for the BCL application and stumbled upon this. I’m from a Latin American university and we rarely/never do any written work in English. I did recently participate in Jessup and our Respondent memorial got better scores than that of the Oxford team. Would you advice me to submit an extract of the memorial? Or should I start writing something else?
Thanks for any advice!
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ramisa94
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I am a bit confused, do we need to scan and upload our original work? Or can we type it and upload in pdf form?
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