Thursday, 26 February 2009

R is also for revision

Revision - n - the oppresive method recommended by BVC provider to cause or bring about the learning of something that should have already been learnt at an earlier date.

I'm not panicking or anything and there's absolutely no rush, but does anyone know where I can locate the Ladybird book on Hearsay for Muppets? An old edition will suffice. Failing that, the Janet and John Guide to the Bail Act 1976, or even All you ever wanted to know about Sentencing, but couldn't be arsed to ask, will be just fine (fine get it, ha ha). I'd prefer the paperback versions, as these are easier to stuff down my Bridget Jones' knickers in order that they can be perused during the 11 toilet breaks taken during the MCT exam:-)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

R is for rectitude

Rectitude - n - correctness of judgment

I am no stranger to pro bono work, did 2 years of it during LLB and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, my BVC pro bono is not quite so, er, how shall I say, er, straightforward, in fact it's a minefield and the clients are all (well ok, nearly all) stark raving mad. Perhaps they all come out of the woodwork when it's my pro bono day?

Today was no exception to a 'normal' day's pro bono. The first client looked ok, quite normal in fact, apart from her eyes, which were wide and wild. Having lost her court case at first instance, this lady was in the mood for battle. Not at all thwarted by the somewhat dismal and very conclusive judgment against her, pro bono client is now going to expand her litigation and sue, the solicitor who represented her, the barrister who represented her, the CAB who are giving her bad advice "all the time", the expert witness who's report was "wrong".

The thing is, I do like to enter these things with an open mind, but time after time, the same theme seems to crop up - "conspiracy". Pro bono client didn't loose the case because it had no merit, no, no, no, it was lost because it is all a conspiracy against her, from the judge to the usher, "they're all in on it you know, no I can't give you my name, no you cannot ask what the case was about, because you are in on it too and will inform the other side of my cunning plan for appeal".

The second client looked dodgy from the word go. Another conspiracy theorist, wanted to bring a private criminal prosecution against Woolies for making all of those people redundant. No he didn't work for them, in fact had no connection with Woolworths at all, but he couldn't tell me too much because it involved top secret intellectual property that somehow was connected to making all those people redundant. Had a quick ask around the office and no-one had Stella Rimmington's telephone number to hand, so I sent him to the CAB instead.

Third client was quite normal, apart from the fact that he had been sent to prison for no good reason, but it was something to do with changing the television channel with a pen? No I couldn't work it out either, but was too exhausted to ask:-)

I'm now going to have a little lie down.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Q is for quixotic

Quixotic - adj - preoccupied with an unrealistically optimistic or chivalrous approach to life; impractically idealistic.

I'm quixotically hoping that my lack of revision won't have any effect on my forthcoming MCT exam. I have been so busy this week that study has been neglected, but today I condensed my civil notes down to 9 pages and hope that they will suffice for the purposes of the exam. Not sure if anyone else experiences this, but it is often at revision time that I finally understand what a particular subject was all about. It was only today that the penny finally dropped with search orders and I realised they were/are one and the same as Anton Piller orders which I allegedly studied during LLB, but failed to recognise.

On the whole Criminal Litigation is proving to be more difficult to revise than Civil Litigation. There is such a lot of case law to remember and many tricky areas such as sentencing, bail and the dreaded reverse burdens of proof. I have charts to peruse in order to hammer home Lucas Directions, Newton Hearings, Galbraith and Turnbull. PACE is also figuring hot on the top ten list of things to read this weekend, particularly powers of arrest and detention. Such a lot to remember and so little space available to store it all in. At least I haven't yet resorted to sticking a home-made poster on the fridge door which is exactly what I did when cramming for Land Law and Trusts, it was the only way to make myself remember covenants and easements. Moody v Streggles is still embedded in my brain, but it didn't turn up in the exam.

My mock Conference exam is next week and I'm hoping that my plan is sufficient to afford a decent mark, the only area I'm uncertain about is sentencing, which on the whole is an art, rather than a science. I also have advocacy next week, which consists of a no case to answer, this one looks hopeful and pretend client should hopefully walk free.

I'm still unsure when I receive my very first proper assessment mark for the Legal Research, but I get to know my mark for the mock Opinion next week. I re-read my Opinion paper a couple of days and realised with annoyance and dismay that I'd messed up with the limitation period for product liability. Funny how these things are blatantly obvious when it's too late to correct them? Hopefully it shouldn't be too disastrous, as limitation wasn't a problem anyway, but nevertheless it looks pretty bad on my part.

My credit card was cloned this week and the bank didn't let me know for 5 days that they had put a stop on the card, it was only when I tried to use it in a shop and it was declined that I realised anything untoward. Imagine what a mess I'd have been in if I was away from home at the time and was relying on my card for fuel or accommodation. As if banks aren't unpopular enough at the moment! I'm now trying to fathom just when/how my details were nicked. I've a good mind to go back to using cash - when I've paid off my overdraft, BVC fees, mortgage, holiday...

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Ground Hog Day

Not sure whether it's an age thing or just that my brain is getting a bit full, but I'm 'revising' for the forthcoming MCT exam at the end of the month and it's like reading things for the first time. I know I must have covered the topics in the past, because they are my notes, but they just don't ring a bell. I've also lost some important notes on injunctions, I saw them a few days ago and remember putting them 'somewhere safe', but nope, I can't remember where 'somewhere safe' is. No doubt when I do find 'somewhere safe' it will be a pretty enormous room full of pens and odd socks and a roll of sellotape and my eyebrow tweezers and that dodgy looking Christmas decoration I bought in a January sale in 2003 and 11 pairs of scissors and 3 hammers and a pack of second class stamps, ooh and last but not least, that little bit of missing grey matter that contains all the civil and criminal litigation rules.

Oh well, at least my memory is not quite as bad as Barman's. He rang me a couple of weeks ago and said "You know I said I was going to visit somewhere today". "Yes" said I. "Where was I going to visit" said he. "The Imperial War Museum" said I. "Oh yes", said Barman, "Can you remember where I said it was" he concluded. So, apart from forgetting where he was going and where it was, everything was going completely to plan:-) Perhaps I should buy him one of those dog tag things just in case, or perhaps I already have bought one and it's 'somewhere safe'?

Monday, 9 February 2009

P is for pertinacious

Pertinacious - adj - doggedly resolute in purpose or belief; unyielding. Stubbornly persistent.

I have been pertinaciously trying to cobble together a half decent skeleton argument for this month's advocacy, but it's a slow old job. There is a glut of evidence to pick holes in, which makes my task quite difficult as it's just a ten minute submission of no case to answer. We have 4 offences to go through, identification issues, planted evidence and other such criminal delights. *Tut*, to think, Britain's finest constabulary would do such things, well I never.

Having read through last month's Advocacy SGS, tutor comments, I need to be a little more subtle in getting my argument across. Shame, I was rather hoping that "it's plain to see that the coppers are bent buggers" would just about nail it, but it seems that provider's tastes require a more delicate approach to such issues.

Galbraith and Turnbull are being perused in detail and there are a couple of more recent Court of Appeal cases that will help me to free this man from the injustices ruthlessly foisted upon him by P.C.'s in search of an unfair cop *cough*.

Once this lot of homework is finished, I just have to revise for the MCT exam at the end of this month. We have 40 questions each on Civil Litigation and Criminal Litigation, with 3 hours to complete. The mock questions are quite tricky and a few had me stumped, particularly the ones that catch you out with the 'must' and 'may' transposed. Lesson 1 to me, READ THE QUESTION PROPERLY before answering it, I must have messed up 6 or 7 answers because I hadn't read the question properly, which in 'real money' could have meant not far off 10% worth of marks lost by my carelessness. Seems from the MCT mock questions, provider is in love with the Bail Act, unfortunately I'm not quite so amoured and can't see the attraction myself, but hey, it takes all sorts, so I shall revise all things bail before the exam.

Monday, 2 February 2009

What's that soggy white stuff?

It's snowing here today and the back garden is a virginal, fluffy, white carpet of softness. So far I have resisted the temptation to go out and make footprints all over it, but I can't see my restraint holding out much longer (despite being old enough to know better).

Well, the Legal Research paper has been handed in and if they award marks for effort, I should do okay. Not sure that I really nailed it, but hopefully I have got the main gist of it all. Not sure when the results come out either, but for the moment, I will forget all about it and move onto the next BVC task.

Next month we have a 3 hour Criminal Litigation and Civil Litigation exam, so this month's homework will be mostly revision. There are only 2 other lots of homework to do this month, preparation for the mock Conference and mock Advocacy. Fingers crossed, it looks as though I have weathered the storm and things will now start to ease up a little. Funnily enough, I'm not too concerned about the revision, it will be a welcome relief to study something vaguely familiar, rather than the uncharted territories of family law that my LR assessment paper ungraciously threw at me.

Last weekend's Advocacy and Conference results were thankfully back on track and I hope to do well in the mocks next month, but, I'm taking nothing for granted and need to brush up my skills to do well. In Conference, sentencing is proving to be an art rather than a science and it is very easy to get it completely wrong. Advocacy is also tricky, in that I have to learn to deal with judicial intervention more convincingly and confidently (seems a sickly grin doesn't quite suffice). We had to do our first skeleton argument this month and mine was okay, but there is plenty of room for improvement. They are very useful tools and provide a good route map to refer to when the old brain suddenly deletes everything of any possible use in the midst of legal argument.

Anyway, onto more important things, how does tomato soup with melted cheese and toast sound?