Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The European Union Act 2011 ....a Constitutional deadlock?

The EU Act received Royal Assent on Tuesday 19th July, yet with media concentration being taken up by the Murdoch phone hacking scandal and now the Norway deaths it hasn't received much in the way of attention.

It's no secret that the Conservative party doesn't want to see shifts in power go to the EU. So what does this legislation provide?

With reference to this Bill the Coalition government after it's formation pledged:
  • to "ensure that there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament";
  • to "amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that any proposed future treaty that transferred areas of power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum on that treaty"; and
  • to "examine the case for a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill to make it clear that ultimate authority remains with Parliament".
The EU Act 2011 provides that when a Treaty is changed to move an area of policy from the UK to the EU that the government would need consent from the people by way of a referendum. It also provides that when any changes are made at all to EU Treaties that an Act of Parliament is needed.

In providing that EU shifts of power go to a referendum what would that mean for UK's place on the EU? At the moment  it would be unlikely that even the smallest shift of power to the EU would win in a referendum unless public opinion also shifts towards pro EU.

It will be interesting to see how this will affect future Parliaments. If the EU attempts to gain more control as it inevitably will, how will future Parliaments act? Interestingly a referendum is to be called upon the opinion of a Minister as to whether power is being shifted. It begs the question then as to whether more pro EU governments would feel a need to take changes in EU treaties to a referendum by arguing that power isn't being shifted. A future Parliament could of course repeal the legislation, but politically that could be suicide as no government would want to be seen as taking Constitutional decisions away from the people.

In requiring any changes to Treaties to go before Parliament, it can be said that the government has reinforced the tradition of Parliamentary Sovereignty. However in requiring power shifts to be placed before the people in the form of a referendum, it could be argued that the government has taken a further step above and beyond Parliamentary Sovereignty that may provide a deadlock with future reforms of the UK's place in the EU.

European Union Act 2011
The EU BIll explained, Guardian
Anyone notice..... the European Union Act, Telegraph
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Monday, 25 July 2011

Examinations and the 4th Question

All London International students are aware that the whole course is 100% exam based. Meaning that all the hard work that's put in throughout the year all comes down to answering 4 questions in a one 3 hour exam for each subject.

I have to be honest when i first received my results last Monday i was disappointed. My expectations were high for both Contract and Criminal due to the fact that i'm confident i wrote a couple of excellent answers for both. I felt that Public Law was my weakest exam.

The reality was that i scored 60% for Public; 58% for Contract and 55% for Criminal. Wanting to achieve 60%+ was my goal. I have since been told that these are good scores considering i have done nothing study wise or academically for 15 years plus. I also have to take into consideration that these first year scores do not count towards my final classification.

I've been thinking long and hard about my results and why they was lower than i expected. I think it's all down to the fourth question.

First of all in Public Law all of my answers were of equal length, the first one i felt i answered really well, but the other 3 just ok. I was expecting it to be my weakest result, when in fact it was my strongest. From what i recall i did include recent developments in my answers and up to date reports from newspapers, etc. For instance on the House of Lords question i even included the latest reforms mentioned in an article only 2 days old. I think this may have scored me extra points and all 4 questions being of equal length and quality, there wouldn't be much variation with the average.

However with both Criminal and Contract there was a question i know i didn't answer well, maybe only scraping a pass. Therefore working out the maths on Criminal for instance, if i scored a good answer of say 65% for 2 questions, there was another question i missed a couple of vital cases say i got 55% for that one and a 40% for the final one, the average would be 56%... i got 55%. I may also have been marked down for bad or ineligible hand writing as i know i rushed the last 2 questions.

Contract.... i can't see why i wouldn't have got 70% for my first answer on offer and acceptance and near to for consideration on my second question, let's say another 70%. This answer however was very long, leaving me little time for the other 2. My misrep answer was very short and i know i made mistakes but say i scraped 40%. I can't recall what my other answer was, but say i got 55%. Now looking back, perhaps i was kidding myself that my first 2 answers would carry me through....i am in no doubt that i scored a first at 70% or as near as dammit on those first 2......but when you calculate the average of all 4 answers 70+70+55+40, it'll only average 58%, which is what i got.

In hindsight it really does come down to giving answers of equal length and quality and not pursuing a great couple of answers only to be let down with the 3rd or 4th answer.

So what have i learnt?

* To give myself equal time in the exam for every answer.
* To revise more subjects and more intensely.
* The 4th answer is just as important as the first!
* To include more in the way of recent developments

If i can do these things then i see no reason why i shouldn't add 3-5% on the quality of my exam....pushing me up to 60%+ which is where i want to be.

First 24 hours of blogging

In the first 24 hours of setting this up i've learned so much about blogging (or Blawging so i've been told). Hopefully i've now linked this to twitter and also to a facebook fan page...let's see after this post whether it's worked. Any tips from you fellow bloggers (or blawgers) would be most appreciated.

170 hits in the first 24 hours, hopefully i'm doing something right?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Coroners and Justice Act 2009

A vital piece of legislation for Criminal Law Students abolishing provocation and reforming diminished responsibility as partial defences to murder.

 Coroners and Justice Act (CJA) 2009

 A detailed and easy to read explanation of the changes and reforms has been published here

Introduction to Land Law

Having just finished my first chapter to Land Law i'm looking forward to the course ahead.

It would seem that the basis for Land Law began with property statutes of 1925, namely, Law of Property Act 1925Land Registration Act 1925 Further reforms developed in the latter half of the 20th Century with the Land Charges Act 1972 and the Land Registration Act 2002

It's interesting how the law identifies 5 dimensions to land. When land was mapped out by Ordnance Survey we see only 2 dimensions to the identification of land. Adding a 3rd dimension with the maxim Cujus est solum, ejus est usque ad coelum, (whoever owns [the] soil, [it] is theirs all the way [up] to Heaven and [down] to Hell), property rights in particular in early centuries meant that the owner of land owned everything above and below. However in recent years with the advent of air travel and precious coal and resources under the ground this maxim seems to have lost it's original meaning. The 4th dimension of the 'doctrine of estates', meaning that a person doesn't actually own a property outright but rather a 'slice of time' in the property means that ultimately all property belongs to the Crown. The 5th and final dimension to land ownership is the quality of ownership where 2 people can both own in their right a property....one in legal terms, the other in equity gaining a benefit.

The first chapters of Gray and Gray and also Dixon really sets up this course. It looks complex, immense and a challenge.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Kicking off

Welcome to my blog of the LLB degree of London. After receiving my exam results this week for first year studies it is with some excitement, fear and trepidation that i have set this up as a template for the future, offering my views on the course ahead, as well as past studies.

I intend to add more over the next few days in terms of links and relevant cases. I also intend to add some links for lectures and other valuable resources that will not only aid myself but hopefully aid other students on the course.

It would be good to find a niche in the blogger world and hopefully interact with other bloggers exchanging views on this fantastic course.