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University Degree: English Legal System

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  1. Whilst many people define the English legal System by their perceptions of jury trials, it is, in fact, a rare feature of the system. Discuss.

    This is a rather old-fashioned concept created in the 13th century by the Magna Carta in which everyone is entitled to be trialled by the lawful judgement of their peers[1].It could consequently be argued that this safeguard has become idealised in our system. The jury trial is seen as a ?palladium? of English justice[2] and as Devlin famously proclaimed ?the lamp that shows that freedom lives[3].? Many view them as a ?little parliament[4]? infusing regular community values into the law and are evidently crucial to our liberal and democratic constitution.

    • Word count: 1054
  2. Principles of UK constitution + express & implied repeal

    Unlike other countries with codified constitutions whose law making bodies are usually restricted and cannot pass a law that would contradict their constitution. Furthermore, all the UK statutes have the same legal standing. Some Acts may refer to the constitution in their title (The Constitutional Reform Act 2005), but that does not give them any more ?superior? status than other ordinary legislation. This arguably makes the UK constitution more flexible as the legislation can be changed without any special or complicated procedure.

    • Word count: 1867
  3. In Wades analysis, what are the arguments in favour of each of the opposing construction and revolution views of the effects of the Factortame cases? How convincing is Wades own argument for the revolution view?

    The construction view dictates that Parliament is still has the upper hand in matters where EC law is valid, namely, that Parliament still can specifically draft Acts that disable community law by specifically stating so. ?Where there is an apparent inconsistency between the two Acts it is simply an exercise of construction to determine whether the later Act is intended to take effect subject to the provisions of the earlier Act or whether it immediately repeals (or supersedes) those earlier provisions.?[1] This enforces that power is held by Parliament and sovereignty and that that power has not been compromised by the implementation of EC law.

    • Word count: 760
  4. English legal history - anti-slavery and the case Gregson v Gilbert (1783) 3 Doug KB 232, 99 ER 629 (KB).

    It was presumed that these actions were due to an insurance policy which covered ?goods? that were lost at sea, which in this case was the slaves. It was believed that the excuse of water shortage on the ship was used in order to throw the slaves overboard to recover financial value which some of them may have possessed. However it was held that a new trial be held as a ?sufficient necessity? did not exist for throwing the slaves overboard and that the loss was not mentioned in the insurance policy.

    • Word count: 3317
  5. Identify the most significant roles performed by the trial judge.

    Judicial power is limited when it comes to questioning witnesses. The judge can clear up ambiguities by asking questions during a trial, but must ensure that he/she does not ?enter the arena?[3]. It is clear that asking too many questions would be inappropriate. What is also relevant is the nature of the case, in Mitchell (2010)[4] where during cross examination the judge intervened indicating that the judge was placing his own thoughts to the jury about the issues of the case[5]. In criminal cases it is encouraged that judges should be more willing to call witnesses as in R v Haringey Justice ex parte DPP (1996)[6].

    • Word count: 3053
  6. The Governments consultation paper on the reform of Legal Aid set out some clear aims. Examine and assess two elements of the changes proposed by the Government

    The funding plays an important role in this consultation paper as the MoJ wants to reserve funding for issues serious enough to justify the use of public funds. It has also been added by the Secretary of State that the financial plans correspondingly aims to achieve important savings considering the economic situation. The Lord Chancellor has also added that the elements of this consultation paper supplement a wider reform programme which would be ?more responsive to public needs, which allows people to resolve their issues out of court using simpler, more informal, remedies where they are appropriate, and which encourages more efficient resolution of contested cases where necessary.?[1] We will concentrate on two aspects of this consultation paper.

    • Word count: 2839
  7. Since deciding whether or not someone has committed a criminal act is such a serious matter it would be better if that decision were left to legally qualified personnel rather than lay persons in the Magistrates Courts. Discuss

    Due to the fact that these lay participants sit part-time: the court also employs approximately 139[4] fully qualified District Judges (formerly known as ?Stipendiaries?[5]). Both types of judges perform the same role, however, it must be distinguished that a District judge sits alone, and on the contrary lay magistrates are assisted throughout criminal proceedings by a legally qualified court clerk.[6] Moreover then, there appears reiterating criticism as to whether lay magistrates presiding within the Magistrates? courts serve a level of justification for those accused.

    • Word count: 2850
  8. Judge-made law. When Lord Denning came up with the neighbour principle, had he developed a new law or had he only recognized and enforced a law that had already existed, but which his predecessors had failed to discover?

    Before we go into the details, it is important to consider whence the tremendous body of legal rules which we term the Common Law originate. When one inquires behind the source of a new legal rule applied by a judge in a certain case, the underlying question is this: from where does he get this newly proclaimed law? 1) Had he made it up? Or 2) had he only discovered it? To aid our understanding of the two very distinct theories, Zechariah Chafee[6] gives a pictorial description: Judge-made law, he described, ?[I]s like a skyscraper under construction and never finished.

    • Word count: 4191
  9. The HRA 1998 has had little impact upon protecting the basic liberties of the British subjects and could be repealed without any consequence. Discuss.

    Firstly Persons are free to do that which the law does not prohibit. Secondly, public bodies are entitled only to do that which the law permits. Finally where the statutory boundary between the prohibited and the permitted is blurred, the courts who police the law will favour the interpretation which minimizes the intrusion on or qualification of liberty, utilizing the relatively new principle of legality.[3] When considering the above statements, it is clear that giving an exact definition to basic liberties is a difficult task.

    • Word count: 2226
  10. Separation of powers

    (art 73), Judiciary: the power of interpreting laws and making adjudication on legal dispute is conferred on the courts of the HKSAR at all levels (Court of Final Appeal and other courts and tribunals) (art 80). Even though the basic law does not contain the term ?separation of powers?, courts have been prepared to interpret the constitution as implicitly incorporating the doctrine of the separation of powers on the basis of the constitution division of power into different branches of government and a system of checks and balances.

    • Word count: 1470
  11. Analyse the adequacy and relevance of the crime control and due process models for understanding criminal justice, with reference to the jurisdiction you are in and/or England and Wales.

    This model encourages the justice system to give full support to police actions to the extent of ignoring the legal procedures of information collecting on occasions. Though being effective in deterring crimes, a crime control model nevertheless bears a higher risk of wrongfully convicting an innocent. On the other hand, a due process model is more concerned with the structure and efficiency of the law. The model places great deal of accentuation on procedural law, such as rules of evidence, impartial fact-finding as well as other criminal proceedings.

    • Word count: 3175

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