Thursday, 27 November 2008

'J' is for juxtapose

Juxtapose -vb- to place close together or side by side.

Juxtaposition was a favourite word of mine during LLB, I used it when trying to evade the answer to a question that I didn't quite know the answer to, eg. 'It is interesting to note the juxtaposition of case law in relation to the statutory provisions contained within the Law of Property Act 1925...'.

My war with both the White Book and Blackstone's continues and I wonder how on earth I'll remember anything at exam time? My Legal Research mock paper is hidden out of view, it really is about the worst piece of work I've put my name to so far, but I haven't had time to mess with it so I'm resigned to a fail. The Opinion Writing homework is only marginally better, but I think that given time, my skills in this subject will improve and although I was dreading it, I quite enjoyed the exercise once I got started.

No Advocacy this weekend, just a review of what we have done so far. My favourite subject to date is Advocacy, so I'm disappointed that there isn't another new exercise to perform this weekend. I enjoy Conference too and have two exercises to do this weekend, one as a defence barrister, one as a defendant.

By the looks of things the mountains of homework continues up to Christmas, with loads of reading and preparation to do and also a mock Opinion to prepare. No rest for the wicked it seems.

Friday, 21 November 2008

'I' is for involuted

Involuted - adj - Complex, intricate or involved.
This month's Criminal Litigation homework is proving to be involuted, it's all about confessions, illegally obtained evidence and so on.

I'd have thought that Criminal Litigation was right up my street, but I'm afraid to say, the Civil Litigation is much easier to digest. Criminal Litigation, although interesting, is very heavy going, lots of case law jumbled up with PACE and I find that the way information is described in Blackstone's a little too, well... involuted. I have resorted in the past to using the ICSL manual, but my provider frowns upon it and seem to go out of their way to contradict what is stated in the manual, so much for finding an easier way to study:-(

After Criminal Litigation, I have got to tackle the Opinions homework, which I haven't even looked at yet, but by the looks of things time-wise will be a last minute rush job. I was hoping to get some pro bono in next week, but it isn't looking hopeful at the moment and with only one qualifying point under my belt at the moment, I need to find time to do some Inn dining too.

I did have a BVC wobble at the beginning of the week and for a brief time contemplated packing it all in. The sheer volume of work is very depressing and unlike LLB, where precision is the key, BVC work is just a matter of throwing words down onto paper and hoping for the best, because the time restraints don't allow anything better. I reckon that we have about 1000 pages of reading per month and that figure doesn't include any research that we undertake ourselves. That's a lot of reading for a part-time course!

My Legal Research mock has been printed off and hidden out of site, it's abysmal, but I haven't got time to tweak it.

On a brighter note, Bar-Os has come home for a couple of months holiday because I haven't got time to ride at the moment. It's lovely having him home and even the mucking out each morning is ok, it gives me a break from thinking. Because it was mild last night, I left him out in the paddock until 10pm. Some bright spark who was parked up on the side of the lane thought I was a gypsy and played 'join the caravan of love' at full blast as I was leading him back to the stable. Luckily Bar-Os didn't bother too much at the sudden noise. I thought it was quite funny, but Barman was furious, very proud of his aspiring barrister missus is Barman and even more proud of his beautiful, faithful Bar-Os.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Is it just me or...?

Quite straightforward really.

Bought a nice, new garden gate off ebay and today had the simple task of arranging collection and delivery of gate. I filled in the collection and delivery addresses on the courier website, gave the dimensions and weight of the gate, clicked the calculate costs button and was promptly put through to a dogging website. Tried again, same thing. Rang the courier and told the chap what had happened, he said "no, no, no, it's not dogging, it's the web designers logo, got dog in the title". "Okay", says me, "what about the hot steamy, women on women videos hyperlink?" "Oh", he says, "Oh indeed" says I, "all I wanted was a price for delivering my garden gate!"

p.s. Bloggers, what shall I do when the gate arrives, act normal, or run outside in my dirty mac and shine my torch through the delivery van window?

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Madam, I submit that...

Another study weekend over. Despite working all hours to complete all of the homework set (well ok, 90% of it), I felt sure that I'd somehow wandered into the wrong educational institution, because I really didn't have much idea about what the hell the tutor's were talking about. This has left me feeling rather dejected on the academic side of things. I'm now even confused over the basic stuff, such as the maximum sentence (for more than one offence) that can be imposed by the Magistrates Court, which I thought was 65 weeks, but seems to be 6 months, according to our tutor. So, which figure do I go with, the one taken from Archbold Magistrates Court Practice or the tutor's?

Civil litigation was equally as confusing, which is odd, because I thought that I'd got to grips with it at home and had answered all of the questions set, but we didn't go through the homework much, so I have no idea whether my hours of study produced the right or wrong answers. We did previously unseen questions, which were ploughed through at such speed that I got lost and had to just sit there, confused and depressed.

On a brighter note, I enjoyed the first Conference class and Advocacy was really good too. No-one cares much how they do in any other class, but everyone wants to do well in Advocacy. My Plea in Mitigation last month was decidedly average and I was very disappointed in my performance, however this month I felt that I gave the Bail Application a good shot and my marks improved. I really do need to get to grips with my nerves though because they are affecting my voice. And why the hell can't I stand still? I do hope that I will gain confidence in Advocacy now , I really enjoy it, but do need to be a little less hesitant and dull.

No-one wanted to be first up for defence, so I opted, just to get it out of the way. Afterwards, it was really interesting to watch the others strut their stuff and I'm amazed just how different we all are in our styles and approaches to Advocacy. As of yet, there have been no divisions in my small group and everyone is very supportive of one another. As part-timers, we only meet once a month and it was soothing to know that others are finding it tough going too.

We have our first mock assessment later this month, it's on Legal Research:-(

Different groups have different questions, mine is family law, the one subject that I know absolutely nothing about, because I didn't do it during LLB. I've no idea what the answers to any of the legal problems contained in the question are, so will have to start from scratch. To date Legal Research is my nemesis and I'll be pleased when the module finishes early next year (unless I fail and will have to do re-takes later on). We haven't started Negotiation yet and I believe that it can be a tricky one. Opinions looks like it can be an awkward module too, it's so easy to go off at a tangent and end up with completely the wrong conclusion. My remedies knowledge is not too brilliant and this may well prove to be a hindrance with Opinion Writing exercises.

My pro bono has been neglected of late due to lack of time, but I'm off to London later this week to get another day's worth completed.