by Nick Hatton
I have just come to the end of the first week of my second semester at Law School. I am beginning to think that this is the best decision that I have ever made. I cannot think of a better way to spend my time than reading through cases, statutes and processes. Most interestingly of all, I enjoy reading about the people and the events behind these social changes.
There is nothing that brings home the relevance of this subject than coming across cases that have a direct relevance to oneself. I love going for walks in the Malvern Hills. It was fascinating for me, when I was reading through my Land Law book over the summer, to come across the case of Zarb v Parry. The story of two neighbours fighting over a “strip” of land in the foothills of the Malverns really brought home the significance that seemingly innocuous disputes can have on the ways in which decisions are made in this country.
Last week, I came across the case of Adams v Lindsell. This is a monumental decision in the history of contract law, to the extent that the precedent set by this case in 1818 is still binding in courts today. The case concerned two wool companies that had arranged a business deal by post. Lindsell (the company based in St Ives) had sent a letter offering a deal to sell some wool to Adams (a company based in Bromsgrove). However, Lindsell had accidently sent their letter to Leicestershire instead of Bromsgrove. The Courts decided that, as Lindsell had made the mistake of sending the letter to the wrong place, the contract had stood as soon as Adams had posted their letter of acceptance prior to the deadline that was agreed.
This decision certainly sent a message out loud and clear to anybody that was thinking of forgetting where Bromsgrove is!
Of more personal relevance, my Public Law exam towards the end of last year mentioned the judicial review case of R v Secretary of State for the Home Department (ex parte Fire Brigades Union). I asked my dad about this case, as he was a member of the FBU at the time that this case was brought to court. I learned that the criminal injuries compensation scheme that this case had helped to set up was motivated by a desire to help victims of arson, who, at the time, had no means of recompense.
It really inspires me that the Law can be used to empower ordinary people. The Judicial Review process, in particular, gives ordinary people a voice against the tyranny of faceless public sector beaurocrats.
Another thing that I enjoy about my course is that I love coming to study in Birmingham. The Jewellery Quarter is a really nice area; full of history and culture. I have recently taken to spending my evenings studying at The Library of Birmingham. This is an innovative new building and a hidden gem. Click the link to see the photographs that I have taken from the top floor: https://goo.gl/photos/j6krGVztYLgFEEus6.
I hope that I can get even more out of my study this semester than I did in my first. Last year, I had the experience of going to a court room for the first time. I met all of my new classmates- it was great to meet such a diverse range of people. I experienced the joys of exams, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could write for almost 3 hours on a topic that I knew nothing about before I started my course.
I hope that the new semester brings myself and my classmates a great deal of joy, enlightenment and prosperity!