Welcome to our new column: The Academic Corner. This will feature interviews with City Law School academic staff, giving us an insight into their life away from their teaching. This month's interview was carried out by GDL students Daniel Bowman and Eleni Dinenis.
Catherine Elliott is a senior lecturer at City University Law School, who is known to many Law students as she teaches undergraduate, GDL and postgraduate students. After undertaking pupillage and qualifying as a barrister, Catherine decided that she enjoyed teaching more than practicing at the bar, and so moved into teaching and academia. She has been a lecturer at the University of East London and Kingston University and joined City University in 2004. Catherine’s main academic interests are in the areas of English and French criminal law. Catherine spoke to Lawbore about her interests, and some recent and controversial developments in the UK criminal justice system.
Within criminal law, what are your academic interests?
I focus on whatever is topical, and whatever catches my interest. The most recent thing I’ve been working on is self-defence, triggered initially by the Anthony Martin case [the Norfolk farmer who killed a burglar at close quarters and was initially convicted for murder, reduced to manslaughter on appeal]. I have my own political angle to an area, and as an academic I like to highlight causes for concern and influence a little bit the way people see a subject.
Do you think that the law should have a more gendered approach than it currently does? Should men and women be treated equally under the law or does this fail to take into account their unequal position in society?
As a feminist I’m concerned about women’s rights and how to achieve equality. The area in criminal law where this has been at the forefront of discussion has been provocation and loss of control. We have had the idea of battered women syndrome, where a woman suffering from domestic abuse may be unable to escape and may become aggressive against her partner. But I felt that the risk of these discussions was to stereotype women as reacting differently from men. I personally start to get a bit uncomfortable here. If you look at the reported offences of non-fatal offences against the person, a lot of the scenarios are public fights between men, and there aren’t many domestic violence cases. Some of these issues don’t come to the attention of the courts enough, and there are problems with social issues and how the police are responding to these social issues.
Time to flex your application writing fingers, polish your interview shoes and practise your handshake. AllAboutLaw.co.uk's Vacation Scheme Deadline Campaign is a compilation of firms and their deadlines - there are a few left in February and March. Take a look and get writing!
A City team of Zak Kell and myself took part in the Inner Temple IV moot on Sunday 2nd February. The problem was, as usual, on a topic we had yet to encounter on the GDL course. It was all about positive covenants. Do they 'run' with land? Can they bind successors in title? Are equitable remedies available to enforce them? Alas, we still don't know.
But we argued either way and got to the quarter-finals. There we encountered two more City folk in Alex Harding and George Harnett, representing Lincoln's Inn. Those being generous to Zak and me might concede that we did not have the law on our side, but Alex and George mooted masterfully as respondent's counsel to dispose of our attempts to worm around previous House of Lords authority.
Indeed, masterful they must have been because Alex and George duly went on to take the crown! Congratulations to them! Crown is almost apt, too: the trophy was a majestic work of gold and silver, a gift of the King of Bhutan (an honorary Bencher). Alex's and George's names will go up on a roster in Inner Temple hall, next to a case containing the statue. Both will be well worth a quick peek.
PS Our thanks to Emily for arranging, and to Elliot Schatzberger for giving up a Sunday to be a judge.
Thanks to Douglas James, a GDL student at The City Law School.
Applying for Pupillage at the Chancery Bar?
Ensure you understand the distinctions in practice areas!
Where? 13 Princeton Street,
When? 17th February, 6.15pm
There are limited spaces available so be sure to book via email.
Don't to follow the Pupillage Advice Service on Twitter @CLSPupillageAdv
Attention all students!
Interview season is about to begin, and Aspiring Solicitors is hosting an event next Tuesday, February 4th, from 2-4 pm in the Law Common Room.
Topics that will be covered include:
What not to wear (both men and women)
Common mistakes students make during the interview
How to prepare with confidence
What to do when answering those "left-field" questions that catch students off guard.
All speakers are experts in graduate recruitment, and are willing to share their best tips for success, so please be sure to attend!
In the meantime, don't forget to register at www.aspiringsolicitors.co.uk to gain access to a wide range of resources and experts, willing to help you start your legal career!
Have a good weekend!
-Samantha Lamontagne, Ambassador at City for Aspiring Solicitors, Danielle McCarron (Vice Ambassador), and Lily Akkuchukova (Head of Exec Committees and Social Media).
Here's the official blurb about it:
The Pupillage Committee of the Chambers of Henry Harrod, 5 Stone Buildings, invites entries of 1500 words for their 2014 Essay Competition entitled:
To what extent is the lack of certainty as to the remedy that will be granted in a successful proprietary estoppel claim problematic in principles and in practice?
Deadline for entries is 30th April 2014 at 4pm.
Don't forget that information on all the essay competitions for law students can be found on Learnmore.
Sorry everyone - I've disappeared under a pile of marking, moot organising and academic writing this month. The poor Lawbore Future Lawyer blog has been feeling left out so I aim to right this situation as of February!
Some interesting posts to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks...any City students, staff or alumni wanting to get involved, just drop me an email.
The Centre for the Study of Legal Professional Practice at The City Law School presents: Street Identifications: Reliability and Effect, part of the The Evidence and Proof Forum.
Professor Adrian Keane will chair a lecture given by Andrew Roberts, Law, University of Melbourne & Dr Josh Davis, Psychology, University of Greenwich. The speakers will consider research findings relating to street identifications and subsequent Video Identification Procedures and explore whether it is time to rethink belt and braces paternalism.
When? Wednesday 15 January 2014, 6pm
Where? Lecture Theatre, Atkin Building, 4 Gray's Inn Place, London WC1R 5DX
followed by refreshments
~ 2 CPD Points applied for ~
RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you got a relative or friend (non-student) who is troubled by a legal problem but scared about the expense involved?
If you think you might be assisted by one-off advice then supervised trainee barristers and solicitors at The City Law School may be able to help you...
We're running day clinics on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in all area of civil law (excluding employment and immigration law), provided no court proceedings have been issued. These are conducted by post graduate law students who interview the clients, carry out legal research and provide an one-off written advice (supervised by qualified staff). Sessions will run until roughly the end of April.
In addition on Thursday evenings (6.30-8.00pm) qualified lawyers are available to consult on a range of issues:
- landlord and tenant
- small claims
- personal injury
They may be assisted by post graduate law students to carry out the legal research and provide an one-off written advice (supervised by solicitors).
There are 6 sessions in 2014: Jan 23rd, Feb 11th, March 20th, May 1st, May 29th and June 5th.
Sounds great, how do I book a slot?
If you would like an appointment please telephone 0207 404 5787 x 353/391 between 9.00-5.00pm Mondays-Fridays. All interviews take place at The City Law School, 2-10 Princeton Street, WC1R 4BH, near Chancery Lane tube station.
Read the full story on the City Law School website
Remember the legal advice clinic only offers one off advice and no court representation.
On Monday 25th November, the City University Law Society held a careers event, ‘a Career at the Bar’. The event involved a panel discussion with barristers from Brick Court Chambers and 1 Gray’s Inn Square.
The two counsel that attended on behalf of 1 Gray’s Inn Square were Miss Elaine Skittrell (Year of call 1999) and Miss Karen Reid (Year of call 2010) who recently became a tenant within chambers upon successful completion of pupillage.
Brick Court Chambers was represented by Mr Kyle Lawson who was called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 2012. After the panel discussion, a Q&A session took place and networking followed with snacks and wine served.
There was a lot of positive feedback from the attendees who were given an insight into the Bar, obtaining a pupillage and the social side of a being a barrister. All three barristers agreed that outstanding academics are crucial when applying for a pupillage and most chambers look for a high 2.1 or first class degree. Furthermore, Ms. Skittrell mentioned that chambers do not only look at degree results but also at A-Level grades and some seek a minimum of AAB. As she explained, this helps show an academically consistent performance. The barristers also revealed that in an application for a pupillage, a strong personality and passion for law is required. A key difference between a solicitor and a barrister in many areas of practice is advocacy, both written and oral. Applicants must have excellent advocacy skills. This can be demonstrated through mooting, debating or pro bono activities like FRU. Mini-pupillages provide an insight into chambers and a career at the independent bar, but surprisingly (a small minority) of chambers do not consider them to be important. Mr Lawson, for example, completed 8 mini-pupillages, Ms. Reid stated that she actually completed 1 mini-pupillage before obtaining a pupillage and that she believed that networking events are also important.