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The Legal System hmmmm….

17 Jun

So after spending a week at the Old Bailey (not as a defendant don’t worry) some general thoughts have arisen regarding the nature of our legal system. Things that annoy me about it mostly. Even though I might point these out, I’m not actually smart enough to offer any solutions or alternatives.

Speed: Well it’s rather slow isn’t it….. A particular case I was following was dealing with an “event” that occured in 2007. It is now 2012. That is quite a long time… Although out of all the cases I saw that week that was an exception, none of the cases had reached trail less than a year after whatever had occured. I’ve got to say that is seems the only reason this is happening is because of resources, or a lack of them. Preparation would take a few weeks maximum if there were enough courts, barristers and time.

Jury: As rude as this may seem, allowing any Tom, Dick or Harry to decide ultimately someone’s future based on a complex presentation of a case seems odd. However, having said that, it is the job of the prosecution and defence to present their argument in a way that is clear and understandable. My main issue really is that cases more often than not (especially for the more serious or copmlex) run into well over 2 weeks. In this case, the jury is only really representative of the people who can afford to take months at a time out of their life and cannot manage to ABSV themselve of their jury duty. Instinctively I would prefer our fate to be decided by a legal expert (the judge) who will consider the arguments (as he is supposed to act neutrally anyway) and come to a conclusion, since the decision is probably needed because of a breach of the law. But then all the other arguments obvious arguments come in. Misquoting Churchill when he spoke about democracy, something along the lines of…”It’s the worst system, except all others that have been tried”, which I think fits rather well to trial by Jury. Juries are already being removed for complex fraud cases, will this expand into other cases or is that just a horrible slippery slope fallacy? In some cases, despite clear instructions from the judge, the jury have ignored what has been said and either convicted or accquited, giving ordinary people a say as to the actual law…. a little worrying no?

Legal Aid: This is a good thing. Why are we (well the tories anyway) cutting it down? Isn’t equal access to justice quite an importnat principle in our society? I know Michael Mansfield agrees with me anyway! The fact that Barristers were recently thinking of striking should send out a strong messgae. £350m out of the MOJs legal aid budget – really? Couldn’t you just cancel the stupid olympic posters floating around every street corner annoying my eyes instead. Health, Education and the Legal System – the 3 main things I think a government shouldn’t mess with. Please.

Access: To the profession I mean. It is getting more and more competitive every year, which isn’t such a horrific thing in itself. The horrific thing is that by the time I finish my legal education I will be almost £50,000 in debt. Loans and all that jazz do exist, true, however you can’t argue that the figure may be slightly off putting to those who aren’t from bakgrounds used to those sums. And although there is an “equal opportunities” obsession going on at the moment, 2/3 of the bar are privately educated. 93% of the population are not. I’m sure (I hope) this will improve over time though.

I’m sure I have many other things to complain about – especially in relation to law – but my head is aching for my pillow so I think I’ll let you wait till next time!


Which Uni ?!?!

18 May

So glad that I have finally narrowed it down from 22 to 9! However there are still 4 left…. seem impossible! Help!



Entry Requirements
LSE International Relations AAA
Gov and history AAA
KCL Politics   of the International Economy (BA or Bsc) AAA
Politics, Philosophy, Law (4y) A*AA
Queen Mary Economics and Politics AAB
CollegeofLaw Law (2y) ABB
Goldsmiths Economics,   Politics and Public Policy BBB
Bath Politics   with economics AAA