1. Should more law be written in 'plain English'?
Over the summer, Halsbury’s Law Exchange pondered whether clearer legislation would help better engage members of the public with the law. It’s a topic we felt that law students, in the position they hold between lay people and practitioners, were well judged to comment on. Interestingly, the student posters on our Facebook wall were unanimously against altering the current status quo.
“Is it even possible to cover all the meanings in plain/restricted English, some of the phrasing is such for a very particular reason,” wrote Jitan Vaghela. Helen Jones expressed a similar sentiment: “If you tried writing it out in plain English it would be longer and less logical than it is at the minute!”
But our favourite contribution was from Mat Hughes: “No! There would be no need for lawyers then :-)”
2. Student makes skydiving offer – no takers as yet
Last month, Dominic Smith posted: “SKYDIVING: is there anyone at London Moorgate who already skydives or is interested in giving skydiving a go? I'm just trying to garner whether there'd be enough interest to make it worth my while starting up a society. For those of you who haven't, it's an amazing sport, well worth taking up!”
Judging by the lack of responses, the appetite for peppering legal study with daredevil moments is limited – at our Moorgate centre, at least. The cliché about lawyers being risk averse may be true.
3. The best TV lawyers
In response to the Guardian’s article on the greatest ever TV lawyers, we asked for views on the best solicitors and barristers depicted on the small screen.
“It has to be Judge John Deed!” exclaimed Tom Hamilton, clearly shocked that his hero had been left off the Guardian list. But Ricardo Morón Acosta disagreed, plumping instead for the brilliant Saul Goodman from hit US TV series Breaking Bad. As the comments continued to come in, it became clear that a consensus was not going to be reached. Other suggestions included Harvey Specter from Suits, and, somewhat bewilderingly, real-life 3 Raymond Buildings silk Simon Farrell QC. A YouTube search for Mr Farrell yielded no clues as to the TV appearance our poster was apparently alluding to. A case of mistaken identity, perhaps?
4. Let’s fill this town with textbooks
Who would have thought that textbooks could look so good? We posted students’ photos of their piles of first-day textbooks on our Flickr stream – and pretty soon found ourselves with a rainbow-coloured collage of storage options. From law firm-style neat piles to strewn-on-the-bed chic to the still-in-the-wrapper suitcase look. It’s all there. “Amazing lol!” gushed one student after discovering the selection via our Facebook wall. “It is my dreams”, added another, doubtless without irony.
5. Should squatting be criminalised?
In response to a recent BBC article about the government’s plans to outlaw squatting from September 1, we canvassed students for their views. They were, as you’d expect from headstrong lawyers-to-be, rather mixed, but there was broad agreement that the government’s proposal – which has since come into force – was a touch on the draconian side. Robert Pirie-Warsop summed up the mood: “I think the taking of houses of legal tenants should be criminalised but if the place is empty and the landlord/owners or council have no intention of doing anything with it, then I think that if someone chooses to make it their home then so be it.”
6. BPTC survival tips
Lawyer2B offered theirs. So we asked you for yours...
Pearls of wisdom included “borrowing a law of evidence textbook over the summer if you haven't already studied it” to steal a march on what is regarded as one of the toughest parts of the course, and keeping in mind the importance of “self confidence and belief”.
To which we added this: “BPTC team have confirmed that the best preparation you can do for the course is to ensure you have a good grasp of the core subjects such as Crime, Contract and Tort etc. If you've accepted your place at the College, you should now have access to online test and feedback exercises that will help you refresh your legal knowledge. To access the exercises, simply login to ELITE and follow this pathway: My Courses > Accepted Students 12/13 > Refresh Your Knowledge of the Law.”
7. Wishing our Paralympian good luck
College of Law alumnus Craig McCann received messages of good luck from the College’s students as he prepared to compete in the men’s wheelchair fencing at the Paralympics, where he and his teammates performed valiantly as they succumbed to defeat from world number one team Hong Kong. Read Craig's blog here.
8. The Twitter Joke Trial
Following the conclusion of the Twitter Joke Trial in July, we asked whether the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was wrong to prosecute accountant Paul Chambers for his jokey tweet threatening to blow up Doncaster airport.
Opinion on our Facebook page was strongly in agreement with the eventual outcome of the case – which saw Chambers’ conviction overturned.
“Obviously a joke, and obviously an over-reaction. If someone was to blow up an airport, are they likely to announce it on Twitter? It's almost as bad as the police arresting the chap for making 'hurtful' comments about Tom Daley the Olympic diver,” wrote Colin Ainslie.
“The question is whether the CPS have lost their sense of perspective about what is and isn't in the public interest...” added Amy Milford-McCulloch.
But the prize for best response goes to quick-witted Chris Lee: “His Twitter joke was a crime against comedy, he deserved a custodial sentence.”
9. Which law books should students read?
After the success of its ‘Top TV lawyers’ article, the Guardian ran a piece on six of the best law books as nominated by their readers. On balance, our Facebook subscribers agreed with the Guardian readers’ choices, although there was incredulousness as the omission of "Defending the Guilty" by former criminal barrister Alex McBride.
10. Making decisions the social media way
We wrote: “Click 'Like' to cast your vote for this to become our brand new cover photo!”
You clicked ‘Like’ 103 times. We got a new cover photo.