An ode to first year Law
How to get away with murder
Your 3 month parole has begun. It's hard to believe it happened, but it happened. After three terms of slogging away, you're finally done. The snail in the ginger beer has been found, the courts have failed to convict the foetus-stabber of murder, some constitutional fundamentals are more fundamental than other constitutional fundamentals and finally, Paul is and always will be obsessed with Nerva.
Whether you're a first-year lawyer eager to take a walk down memory lane or simply an other determined to find out why your friends mutter 'I'll sue you in nuisance' whenever your music gets just a little too loud, or whether all of those 'this is an HRA violation' declarations hold true (they don't because no one did HRA), you've come to the right place.
Keeping up with the Romans
Who knew Roman law was essentially just really good TV? Watch the determined Plebeians rise up against the Patricians. Follow the intellectual warfare of the jurists as they vie for the ius respondendi. Witness the gore, the drama, and the betrayal; the greedy fathers that sacrifice sons into slavery instead of just paying their debts.
Sick of problem questions? A technical and straightforward application of the law to the facts can be made 100x more enjoyable when you imagine the cases in action. What else did the Romans have to do but sue people? Someone insulted your new haircut? Sue. Someone hung something over their building that might fall on you? Sue. Someone interrupts your wife in an insulting manner? You can sue. She can sue. Her father can sue.
Favourite memory: Learning that in early Roman law, you couldn't force a defendant to come to court if they were engaged in harvesting crops/ making wine because wine > respect for the legal system.
What is a tort?
This weird module thought structural defects due to inadequate building foundations would act as a glamorous and gritty entry into the world of tort law. It did not. However, interest in the subject soon piqued thanks to a certain lecturer that took the time to educate his students on the kangaroo situation on golf courses in Australia. For that, we have the utmost respect. It also picked up once we realised this was the easiest way to sue people. That light bulb burnt your hand when you went to change it? Sue. Fell into an obvious pit on land that you weren't even allowed to be on? Sue. That friend who basically assumed responsibility when they said they'd send you the lecture notes? Why not try and sue?
Favourite memory: Being treated to some of the finest stand up comedy in Cambridge, courtesy of a lecturer who was always prepared for week 5 blues.
What was the consti syllabus pre-Brexit
You would think that those of us not politically inclined would dread the thought of studying constitutional law, with all of its devolution dramas, government accountability problems, human rights issues and EU crises. You would be right. However, you too can crack the code simply by ensuring that you reference the Miller case five times on every page. Guaranteed first. With the criminal exam the week after, you too would have appreciated consti in hindsight with its smaller number of cases and overarching themes. Is Parliament sovereign? Who knows, but talking about it in every single essay that you write will most definitely not hurt.
So what if the syllabus is too long? Skip half. Two essays will definitely be about parliamentary sovereignty and/or the rule of law. Other universities will think we're dense if they don't ask us about Brexit. Three down. Take a chance on the fourth one; stay true to your IB roots #risktaker. Whatever you decide, please don't do the HRA. No one does the HRA. Even the lecturers don't do the HRA.
Favourite memory: 'We have not found it necessary to make a value judgement as to the desirability of Prince Charles' (Evans v Information Commissioner).
How to get away with murder
For those of you that are actually in the process of covering up your murder, we hope you had the decency to actually skim the rest of our ode. Nevertheless, joke's on you because we can't actually give you advice for legal reasons: one year of criminal law taught us at least that much.
Do we actually have the know-how to get away with murder? Most definitely not, because we were never good enough for criminal law in the first place. We knew our murderers from our manslaughterers, but could we untangle their web of sidekicks? Did we manage to grasp the liability of A when A encouraged B to encourage C to assist D in committing a crime? Could we confidently work out whether you were insane or just intoxicated? What does legal insanity even mean? Did we know? Probably not. But in our defence, neither did the courts. So we bid farewell to criminal law, content in how much we know about murder and how little we know about everything else, and look fondly to our corporate futures.
Favourite memory: Had lots of fun memorising the plethora of R v B cases, and R v C cases, R v K cases, and the A, B, C, D case, and of course all the AG cases.
What will second year bring?