Corpus Christi College Oxford

Follow Corpus Christi College Oxford on Facebook

Follow us on facebook

Welcome to Corpus Christi's Law Diary, 2017-2018


Corpus Christi is a community that welcomes anyone and everyone. We like to think we take ideas seriously, but don't take ourselves seriously. No matter your background, if you are interested in law, we are interested in you. The law degree is seriously hard work [see our Law course page], but we're here for each other to help. We have a clear majority of state school students but we certainly welcome everyone, and try to help everyone, whether through our textbook loan scheme, mentoring scheme with alumni or the student law society events. Want to know more? Each week during term-time, we are uploading a diary entry from a law student (or tutor, or alumni!) to provide an insight into studying Law at Corpus Christi College. We will be back next week with a new entry, so stay tuned!

This week's entry is from Cressida Auckland, a Junior Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College.


Michaelmas Term 4 December - 10 December Admissions Week

Cressida Auckland 

Ninth week of Michaelmas Term is an important week in Oxford. Teaching is over and almost all the undergraduates have gone home for Christmas, but the slightly muted buzz is quickly replaced with the excitement and anticipation of hundreds of applicants who have arrived in Oxford for admissions interviews.

 Admissions week is an exciting, but very busy time of the term for tutors. The early part of my week was mainly spent finalising arrangements for the interviews with the other tutors and making the final tweaks to the materials we plan to use for the interview, to ensure that everything will be running smoothly for when they begin on Wednesday. This was followed by refreshing myself with the details of all of the applicants who have been selected for interview. The tutors will have already looked at their applications when deciding who to invite for interview (one of the toughest parts of the process, given how many students have an amazing set of results and a great deal of promise), but I like to have another read through their application just before the interviews, so that it is fresh in my mind when we meet them.

 On Wednesday morning, the interview process commenced. Every college will organise their interviews slightly differently. In Corpus, we began the day with a meeting with all of the candidates. We use this as a chance to talk through the arrangements for interviews and discuss what the interviews are going to entail. I also gave the candidates some tips on the kinds of things to expect, and what to try to do in the interview (or what not be afraid to do!). This can be helpful, especially as some applicants haven’t had much previous guidance on how the process works and what kinds of things we are looking for. The initial meeting is also a good chance to make sure they have met us before the interview (so there isn’t quite the same air of mystery about will be waiting for them on the other side of the door), and offers them a chance for them to ask any questions they have about the process. As the bulk of the interview in Corpus was on material that we provided half an hour before, there wasn’t much that any of them could do on the day to prepare for the interviews, which meant that in between interviews, they had plenty of time to explore Oxford and get to see the city a bit– albeit in pretty artic conditions.

 After the meeting, we started the interviewing process. For this we split into two interviewing teams – in our case, I was interviewing with Dr Matt Dyson, and Professor Liz Fisher was interviewing with Elbert de Jong (a research associate at Corpus, and associate professor in the Netherlands). Each team will always see all of the candidates over the two days.

 Different colleges will have different interviews. In Corpus, we give the applicants some materials to read and think about for a bit before the interview, and the bulk of the interview is then taken up by asking them about this. The applicants aren’t expected to have any prior knowledge of law for this (and given the obscurity of the problems, a background in law won’t be an advantage). Instead we are interested in understanding how the applicant thinks about the material, whether they can identify the key points, and how they understand and responds to the arguments presented in it. Interviewing takes place over two days. For us, it is a hugely exciting process, as we get the chance to meet so many talented students. Our only regret is that there aren’t enough places for everyone, and so at the end of this we will have to make a decision, based not only on the interview, but importantly on the students’ UCAS forms and LNAT scores. As the process comes to an end, it is sad for us to have to let some fantastic candidates go, but also exciting to know that we have now met the students which in the future, we will have the pleasure of teaching for three years.

 With interviewing over, I had one final Medical Law tutorial to give on Friday before the Christmas holidays could officially begin (a student, through no fault of their own, had been unable to attend during the term). I now have a month until Hilary term begins to get on with my research and teaching preparation. First however, I am enjoying a few much-needed days off after a very busy term, to enjoy the festivities and start getting ready for Christmas! 


Michaelmas Term 28 November - 3 December Week 8.

Jennifer Chen (3rd year student)

Week 8 of Michaelmas Term is busy, as usual. Although the tutorials and essays have started to finish up, there is a plethora of end-of-term rituals and meetings to attend.

My week started off with a Presidential Collection – a yearly occurrence for every student at Corpus which involves a short meeting with the President of the College, the Senior Tutor and one’s personal tutor (who in my case is Prof Liz Fisher) to discuss one’s academic progress. After this, I met with the incoming President of Oxford University Travel Society (OUTS) to help him learn more about the society and teach him about the role – as the current President of OUTS, this is one of my responsibilities.

Most of Tuesday was occupied with reading for an essay due on Wednesday. That evening, I went to Corpus Christmas Formal Hall – an annual Oxford tradition, and something I always look forward to as a way of celebrating the end of Michaelmas term. Wednesday was taken up with writing the essay for my Moral and Political Philosophy (MPP) elective, one of the two elective subjects we choose to undertake in our final year. The essay was on the topic of Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy and whether it alienates us from our humanity by demanding that we give up our projects and personal relationships in order to do what is morally right. I found the readings for this topic more difficult and obscure than usual, but nevertheless I am thoroughly enjoying the MPP elective, as it brings to light fundamental questions and debates about how we make moral decisions.

The next day I attended the tutorial on this topic, which, again, I found quite memorable. MPP is one of those subjects in which just knowing what you’ve read isn’t enough in the tutorial – our tutor was throwing questions at us that required us to really think beyond the readings, to come up with our own conclusions and to reason through unexpected problems. After this, I attended an OUTS committee meeting, where we discussed different options of destinations for our upcoming annual international trip in the Easter Vacation. With this done, I was thoroughly worn out for the day, but my spirits were quickly lifted again as I ended the day with a ‘secret Santa’ gift exchange with a few friends.

 Friday, the last day of term, started off with a report-reading meeting with Prof Fisher. I then went out for lunch with friends at Cosmos to celebrate having survived another term. In the evening, I attended the annual Christmas law party in the office of Dr Matt Dyson, which involved food and drink as well as a variety of law-related games. Initially, I had signed up to clerk at a moot (mock court case) at St Hugh’s College on that evening, which would have meant I would miss the first hour of the party, but fortunately the moot had to be rescheduled due to one of the mooters being unable to participate last minute. After this, I went home to pack, in preparation for my flight home to Sydney on Sunday evening!


 Michaelmas Term 20 November - 27 November 2017 Week 7. 

Dr Steven Vaughan 

It’s Monday morning, just before 8am, and I’ve arrived into the office, a tub of porridge in one hand, mixed netball kit for later tonight in the other. Today is a mix of prepping for a Journal of Environmental Law (JEL) workshop on Wednesday in Cardiff (where I am Chairing a panel titled, ‘What is 'Socio-legal' Research?’), getting ready for the first Environmental Law Book Club we’re running tonight for students and staff (we read ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ – spoiler alert: I didn’t like it), and working on a book on in-house lawyers that I am writing with my colleague Richard Moorhead. The book is now very late with the publishers (which can be common among academics…) and needs to be put to bed.  

The Book Club goes really well: me, my colleague Professor Maria Lee, and 14 students (a mix of undergrads and grad students). I’ve never done a book club before, but read online this morning that wine and book clubs should not mix. We had wine. The world did not end. Tuesday, I have a class with the LLB students taking the ‘Lawyers, Practice and Ethics’ module. We’re looking at the regulation of legal education and asking what a law degree is for: as Twining frames it, are law schools in the business of producing Pericles (the wise judge; the enlightened policy maker) or plumbers (the specialised technician)? My own sense is that both can be useful, but that some law schools fail to really engage with what they stand for: why they do what they do in the way that they do it. I run from my class to Paddington and grab a sandwich to have on the train to Wales. And a chocolate bar. And maybe some crisps.

Wednesday is Cardiff, first for the JEL Editorial Board Meeting and then the workshop. In a somewhat ‘circle of life’ moment, having been taught by Liz Fisher as an undergrad I now find myself an environmental law academic. Both the workshop and the Board Meeting are great and I leave Cardiff for London having been inspired.

Thursday I have ‘Recruitment Training’ (so I can sit on selection panels for new jobs) and a meeting with a couple of colleagues to plan a LGBT+ staff/student/alum event. As a gay guy from a working class background who researches diversity in the profession, these sorts of events are really important to me. Thursday evening, I was meant to sit on a panel in the City talking to students about how it was to work in a US law firm (as I spent 6 years (some full time, some part time) at Latham & Watkins before moving into full time academia). Instead, I head home from work feeling poorly and have an early night.

Friday I have a coffee with the leader of qUCL, a university-wide initiative that brings together UCL staff and students with research and/or teaching interests in LGBT+ studies. And then it’s a two hour Environmental Law seminar with the 32 undergrad students taking my class. This week we’re looking at contaminated land (one of my favourites) and we also discuss their ‘Cohort Choice’ ideas. Next term, the students get to choose the topics and readings for two of their seminars. As a field, environmental law is vast and I like to give the students some agency in what they study. Once the class finishes, I dash to Euston and just make my train home to Lichfield. I’m knackered, but contented. It’s been a good week. 

Michaelmas Term 13 November - 19 November 2017 Week 6. 

Marcus Hillier (1st year student) 

Being six weeks through my first term as an Oxford law student, I can safely say that the intrinsic level of interest for what I’m studying – as well as the pace at which it’s delivered – is yet to subside. 

This week was, accordingly, no exception. Monday morning means that I’m due for a constitutional law tutorial with two other first-years – the discussion this time concerns a pretty fascinating analysis of multi-layered government within the UK. The other students and I compare our notes, and our tutor clears up any difficulties we’ve been having with the material this past week – in particular some queries I had regarding a concept called ‘consocialisation’ (a type of democracy that some countries employ) and how the principle of ‘Parliamentary Sovereignty’ (that the Westminster Parliament is supreme) operates in the context of increased regional devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. After this is concluded and I’ve reviewed my essay feedback comments, I can turn to my next tasks.

Criminal law is my main focus this time around, with the topics for this week concerning ‘non-lethal offences against the person’ and sexual offences (such as rape or sexual assault). Although the subject matter can at times become rather complex (especially when discussing very fine points of law), because the material is by its very nature personal and controversial, it makes for some powerful reading.

Meanwhile, on both Tuesday and Wednesday, we have our weekly lectures organised by the law faculty, this week focusing on the area of ‘complicity’ for criminal law (where there is an accomplice in a criminal act), and for our Roman law lectures, on ideas surrounding possession and ownership of property (an area I do not shy away from proclaiming to be the most fascinating we’ve covered so far).

Thursday is somewhat aberrant for me this week as, though I’d usually have a morning tutorial, a clash of timings has meant that it’s been moved back by several days. This lends me some time to get ahead with some other work instead, though. That evening, I’m convinced by some friends to come along to the Oxford Union to watch two separate speeches by Monika Lewinsky and Robert Peston; the talks themselves being rather stellar, and the pizza served in the Union restaurant afterwards – even more so! There also happens to be a college short-play being performed that evening as part of the University’s annual ‘cuppers’ competition (an occasion for Fresher drama society students to flaunt their acting talent); and I have to say our college may have some future stage-stars among our ranks. Speeches and plays aside, though: it’s time for an early-night.

But rest assured: things return to their usual pace at 5AM the next-morning when I’m due for a morning rowing-session on the river with seven other fresher students. Unfortunately, it’s pretty darn cold on the water (ice has finally started appearing on our oars); and I only really start to feel awake once I’ve been *accidentally* splashed several times by the crew-mate in the seat in front of me. Nevertheless, it’s a good outing and it looks as though the crew is making some decent progress in preparation for some races next week at the Christ Church Regatta that we’re competing in. 

Later in the day, I manage to finish the majority of my weekly readings and begin compartmentalising some ideas for my essay due on Sunday.

The weekend seems to bring with it an opportunity to consolidate all the work I’ve done these past few days, as well as a chance to meet up with the college ‘TV Squad’ (just a name that stuck) and relax a little. In the evenings we decide to venture out to an Italian restaurant and gorge on some well-earned pizza before heading-back to the Corpus common room for a movie night. By Sunday morning all of my tutorial work is printed off and all I can think of for the rest of the day is what other bits and pieces of the topic are going to be explored in the tutorial tomorrow.

For me, the adventure of studying law so far at Corpus has been a special brand of delight; I’m constantly in awe of both the material I have the privilege to explore, as well as the friends I’ve found along the way. It makes me happy to know that a place like this exists.


 Michaelmas Term 6 November - 12 November 2017 Week 5. 

Jack Beadsworth (3rd year student) 

As the excitement of starting the term dissipates, the work builds up, and the end of term parties are just slightly too far away to get excited about, fifth week is often characterised by the phenomena of “fifth week blues” – the feeling of missing home due to all work and no play. Fortunately, there have been no such ‘blues’ for myself (though Corpus does provide a lot of welfare assistance to those who do feel a bit overwhelmed).

The week’s work has been on three topics: the direct effect of European Union law (which concerns whether private individuals in the UK can claim others had breached their rights under EU, as opposed to domestic law); precarious work in labour law (legal protections for non-standard types of employment), and human rights in a multi-layered constitution: all very topical issues given Brexit, the recent Uber case, and ongoing concerns about the Tories’ (idiotic) plan to repeal the Human Rights Act.

Monday was spent largely working in my room on the EU law reading list, followed in the evening by some games of Fifa ’18 and a few games of pool in preparation for a match on Wednesday.

My first tutorial on Tuesday involved working through essay questions which examined and appraised the scope of protection for employees under the traditional common law. Though I prefer discussion of the issues rather than essay planning in tutorials, my tutor did provide a detailed analysis on how to break down long questions and plan answers quickly which will aid me in my final exams.

In the evening I went to the pub with a friend to relax. Oxford has some wonderful pubs, though the prices are criminal!

On Wednesday Corpus had a pool game against Magdalen. I won both of my frames, and the team won 6-3 to leave us top of Division 2. More success followed on Thursday with victory in the pub quiz, despite some dubious behaviour from a team of freshers on their phones!

My human rights tutorial on Friday was perhaps my most challenging of the term, though it may also be the most memorable. My tutor, perhaps slightly disappointed at our hesitancy in presenting our own ideas, gave an inspiring talk on how important it is that we are able to make decisions and develop our own opinions on each matter, because out in the real world you can’t hide behind the opinions of other academics. You have to be bold and confident in your ideas. It is sometimes easy to forget that one day, as lawyers, we are going to be involved in very troubling cases and will have to make major decisions that seriously affect people’s lives. As a finalist this reality is drawing nearer every day.

On Friday I worked a shift behind the College bar to help give my finances a much needed boost. Corpus has a really lovely Beer Cellar and is always good fun on a Friday night, even if you are standing on the wrong side of the bar!

I finished off the week going to a party to celebrate my friend’s 22nd birthday ­– an excellent way to wind down and enjoy some hard earned beers with friends after a hectic week of work.


Michaelmas Term 30 October - 5 November 2017 Week 4. Francesca (2nd year student)

It’s nearly halfway through the term and things are definitely in full swing. This term we are studying Tort law, which concerns when someone commits a civil wrong against another person, causing them to suffer some sort of loss or harm, such as if you negligently crashed your car into another’s car. This week in Tort law we are looking at trespass to land and nuisance. Monday was spent working on a challenging essay on the similarities between the tort of negligence, which concerns inadvertent damage to property (and the person), and another category of torts which affect land, such as trespass. To help one another, the second year Corpus law students met to talk through the reading and discuss what we had found difficult (and interesting) about it. The following afternoon we had the tutorial, the main part of which was taken up by discussing the purpose of the torts to land. In understanding the link to negligence, it is necessary to look at what the purpose of the individual tort is. Why do we have different types of torts if we could bring legal actions for all of these wrongs in negligence? This was something I had found difficult to understand before the tutorial, so I felt much more confident on it after discussing it in the tutorial. Around my work, I also ran a workshop on the arms trade with Amnesty Society on Monday evening, and had lunch with friend at Lincoln College on Tuesday.

As I am a rower, Wednesday started at 6am with an outing on the river. This was followed by Land law lectures on adverse possession and a class on easements, where we went through how to identify each claim in a problem question. Given the theoretical content of our tort tutorial, I enjoyed the variety that this more technical class provided.  Later, as President of Amnesty, I had a meeting with the leaders of ‘Close Campsfield’ about how we can contribute to the campaign. 

Thursday was spent in the library starting to read about mortgages for next week’s Land tutorial, then in the evening I had a social event for rowing. Despite not starting tutorial work on Trusts this term, on Friday morning I had a Trusts law lecture giving some background to the subject, which is quite common for Oxford. In the afternoon I attended a mooting workshop in preparation for ‘Cuppers’, an inter-collegiate mooting competition on criminal law, which involves acting as either the prosecution or defence in a ‘mock’ court case in front of a judge. As I study Law with French Law, I also attended a class on French law, which is a chance to speak French, and to meet with the lawyers from other colleges who will be joining me for a year abroad in France next year. We are currently looking at how to answer French exam questions in preparation for our year abroad; you get three hours to answer one question compared to 45 minutes at Oxford! In the evening, the class were taken out to dinner by Clifford Chance, a law firm.  

On Saturday I helped at the law fair as a committee member of BarSoc- a student-run society for those interested in becoming a barrister. On Sunday morning, I had brunch in college before racing in Autumn 4s regatta (a rowing competition). Corpus surpassed expectations and made it to the final! To end the week my housemates and I went to a fireworks display at Lady Margaret Hall. I am continually grateful for the opportunities at Oxford which allow me to do such a variety of things, both academically and extra-curricular.


Michaelmas Term 23-29 October 2017 Week 3. Julia (3rd year student)

Every Oxford term I find myself shocked at how quickly the time passes when I’m here. Now as a finalist, it seems to be going quicker than ever! I started off the week with an Ethics class, in which we discussed a hypothetical dilemma in which we had to choose which people should be saved first in a life-or-death situation, given a choice of different ages, jobs and other characteristics. This was quite different from the usual legal teaching I’m used to, but I found the philosophy behind it really fascinating. Straight afterwards, I had an EU law lecture on the doctrine of Direct Effect, while the rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around the charity shops in Oxford, trying to find last minute items for an adaption of ‘Crime and Punishment’ that I’m on the production team for. I’ve been mainly doing the marketing for the play and all the tickets have sold out, which is really exciting!

This year, I’m studying EU law as well as getting to choose two optional subjects: Family Law and Medical Law and Ethics. I went to a Medical Law lecture on Tuesday morning about patient consent, then spent most of the rest of the day finishing off the reading and writing my essay in advance of my tutorial on the topic. I was surprised to find out how much autonomy patients actually have—including the ability to refuse treatment even if it would result in their death. My tutorial on the topic was the following morning in Exeter College. It’s always so lovely to go to other colleges—especially ones as beautiful as Exeter College—and see more of Oxford. My tutorial was really interesting: I find that I sometimes go into tutorials without a strong opinion of the law, and by the end (after various debates with the other students and questions from the tutor), I walk away with a completely different view of the reading. Later, I attended a Library Committee Meeting as a part of my role as the College JCR’s Academic Affairs Officer, then in the evening went to see a performance of the long-awaited Crime and Punishment, which was amazing.

Thursday was more of a laid-back day for me ­– a welcome break from the heavy workload earlier on in the week! On Friday morning, I had a delicious brunch with some friends at the newly opened Westgate Shopping Centre, before starting some reading for my next tutorial, which is on the supremacy of EU law. In the evening, some friends from other colleges came to Corpus for Formal Hall, and we ended the night in Balliol College Bar.

Saturday and Sunday were spent recovering from being ill, while tackling more of my reading for EU law. It’s an interesting week because I’d learnt about the EU’s place in the UK’s constitutional structure as part of Constitutional Law in my first year, so I am now learning about it again from a very different angle. My week finished with a Committee meeting for Oxford Travel Society (which I’m a part of) before spending Sunday evening at St John’s College Formal Hall. It’s been a hectic but lovely week!

Michaelmas Term 16-22 October 2017 Week 2. Rhiannon (1st year student)

Having arrived in Oxford for the first time three weeks ago, I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. Now, at the end of my second week as an Oxford student (third if you count freshers' week, but I wouldn’t…), I think I’m finally beginning to settle into a routine and find my feet in this scary new world.

My week began with a constitutional law tutorial, which notwithstanding its challenges, I found truly fascinating, particularly the discussion of bipolar sovereignty and the roles of both parliament and the judiciary within the UK constitution. Thursday marked my second tutorial of the week, this time on criminal law with Dr Dyson, whose use of toys certainly made the concepts of criminal law memorable! Alongside this I’ve also had four lectures on the subjects of Roman, Criminal and Constitutional Law, which I have found incredibly useful in helping me to understand the many different aspects of each new subject. The start of the law course has definitely been both exciting and terrifying. Having spoken to my college ‘Mum’ though (every new student is allocated ‘college parents’), an amazing second year law student, she has assured me that it will begin to make sense in time, and so I continue to work hard, and though I am probably making endless mistakes, it is all a learning curve!

I haven’t spent all my time working though ­– I think if I tried my brain would explode! Instead, I have attempted to try something different every day. On Monday that was joining a symphonic band, which was great and as the classic band pieces circulated, reminded me of home. On Tuesday I made my debut as a student ambassador for Corpus Christi and assisted in showing year 11 school students around the college. I also went to the gym… well, eventually, after getting lost more times than I care to admit trying to find Iffey Road – google maps really is a blessing! A group of us also began work on the Freshers' Drama ‘Cuppers’ Competition piece this week, a 30-minute-long improvised play. I won’t risk spoiling the end but really do wish the audience the best of luck in following the plot! Finally fully recovered from freshers’ flu, Friday then saw me back at choir, in a rehearsal for Evensong on the Sunday and for a Quincentenary Evensong in November, to mark the 500th anniversary of the College. And as the week comes to an end, I still have the excitement of Sunday’s 'Choir’s Formal Dinner' to go. After all, who isn’t excited at the prospect of free food?

I still feel completely out of my depth, but I am loving every minute of it. I’ve already made friends with some incredible people and chosen my college ‘husband’ for the next three years (a slightly strange college tradition). Oxford is a world away from home, but it is very quickly becoming a new home for me and I cannot wait to make more memories here. As for the degree, it is the greatest challenge I’ve ever embarked on, but I wouldn’t go back for anything and can’t wait to see how far I can go.

Michaelmas Term 9-15 October 2017 Week 1. James (2nd year student)

Having been given the duty of kicking off the student entries in the Corpus Law Diary this year, I feel like I ought to open by describing some kind of meaningful and academic start to the first week back. Unfortunately, mine in fact began with a game of FIFA. Maybe two. Let’s call it a bonding exercise with the new flatmates, or else some well- deserved downtime after finishing the 0th week exams (called Collections); it is, after all, always a hectic start to an Oxford term.

 Soon however I was back in the swing of things – there was a meeting with everyone doing Law at Corpus, and then lectures promptly got underway. Amongst these were lectures on land law, my new unit this term. It has something of a reputation for being one of the more dull and technical areas of law, but so far at least it has proved quite engaging. The initial material is on registration of rights in land. Much of my first week back has therefore been taken up with attempting to get to grips with it, but I survived the opening tutorial on Wednesday so I must be doing something right! This was my first tutorial taking place outside of Corpus; it is always nice to see something of other colleges, although I did need some help from the Lincoln porter to find the right room. Still, the first time I went to Balliol I ended up getting stuck there, so it could have been worse.

There has also been time to do some non-academic things this week: on Wednesday evening I went to the Oxford Union for the first time this term to hear a talk from Nico Rosberg, winner of last season’s Formula 1 World Championship. As ever it was a privilege to be able to listen to someone from the very top of their field – Union events tend to be interesting even if you’ve not heard of the person speaking, but as a sports fan it was great to listen to someone like Rosberg. He gave some brilliant insights into life as a professional driver, and shed some light on his famously fractious relationship with Lewis Hamilton.

 In the latter part of the week, the work focus shifted to tort law, specifically trespasses to the person and defences. We studied the first half of tort last term, so there was an element of familiarity about it that made the workload perhaps a little less heavy than in land law – nonetheless I put in some significant hours, not least because I wanted to make sure I could watch the Liverpool v Manchester United game guilt-free come Saturday! After all that, the match finished goalless. Traipsing out of O’Neills Irish Bar disappointed about Liverpool’s failure to win, it felt as though I’d never left Oxford. All in all, it’s good to be back.



Michaelmas Term 2-8 October 2017 Week 0. Matthew Dyson (Law Fellow)

Week 0 is when the Law Fellows try to make sure everything is in place for the new year. To be honest, we’re excited, as well as ever so slightly rushed. We’re excited because we get to see our returning second and third years again, as well as what the people we selected 9 months before have done with themselves and what they will do in the future. For myself, I’m particularly excited though, because Liz Fisher, the other (amazing, and much longer-standing) Law Fellow is back from a very well-deserved year’s leave, and we have a new Graduate Teaching Assistant, the incredibly capable Cressida Auckland. We’re rushed because no matter what you do, however early in the summer you work on your lectures and tutorial sheets, plan the initial meetings and co-ordinate with the faculty and library, things will always pop up in the last week before term. It’s also a rush to get done as much of all the research and projects that had occupied us over the summer research period. In my case, I have only just got back from conferences in the USA and Spain, so writing up notes and making sure I don’t lose track of ideas in the hubbub of term is really important. I even dream of getting to work on them a little more during term. We’ve got to have dreams, right?

The week started off with a visit to the College library to pick up a brand new set of loan books. The College law society has just created a law book loan scheme, with the generous help first of the College, and more recently of two law firms, Slaughter and May and Sullivan and Cromwell. Law books can be a real burden on a student’s financial resources, so we’re trying to provide each student with one textbook in each of the ten compulsory subjects as that subject is studied, which is then returned ready for finalists to revise from. This cycle will repeat two or three times before a new edition comes out, maximising the value for the students. I took a quick photo to send as thanks to the law firm (and to encourage them to quiz our second years on the contents of the book when the firm comes to give a workshop and take the students out to dinner later in the year…).

After that, the week had a lot of meetings. I met the BCL and MJur advisees I’ve been assigned by the Faculty to discuss their year and what courses they’d like to do; that was Monday. The papers for an important Governing Body meeting arrived on Monday as well, so they needed careful reading. In addition to our teaching, research and pastoral responsibilities Fellows in Corpus are Trustees of the College, a charity dedicated to, amongst other things, learning and education. The College just turned 500 years old: that’s comforting in that my predecessors have clearly done well, but also makes me think about what I should do to make sure the College flourishes into the future. I also had to complete a review of an article submitted to a leading journal overseas and then confirm some details about the new teachers of criminal law in the faculty (I am the convenor for that course). Those constituted some of the 50 emails I received and the 40 I sent (about average that day, perhaps a little low).

But back to the meetings: the new first years on Tuesday morning, to inspire them/moderately terrify them, and give them the information they need to navigate the term (or at least, the first few weeks). This included students from two other Colleges I’ll be teaching this term. After the Governing Body meeting on Wednesday, it was back to meetings, but this time for the legal methods course we do with the first years to try to help them hit the ground running. We spent about 6 hours on Thursday and Friday going through how they can efficiently go through legal materials, making notes and thinking deeply. We went through practical examples and conceptual ideas. We even played some word games. A nerf gun might or might not have been used. I was particularly pleased to be able to introduce them to Professor Reinhard Zimmermann, who was visiting from Germany. They will be using his (epic) book on Roman law next term, and he kindly signed and dedicated the books for the book loan scheme. I had to miss the Graduate Student welcome dinner and drinks, very sadly, but was there for the Undergraduate welcome dinner on Friday. But that was after a party in my rooms for all the law students, particularly to let the undergrads mingle, chat and nibble. The Law Society diligently obtained snacks, and after introductions, we got down to some serious chatting.

It's now Sunday evening, and I’ve done all the updates I need for my lectures next week, done my first half marathon (Oxford city centre was closed for the day) and am trying to be done with a book chapter on criminal law. So, just a little more rush to finish. Then again, next week is the first tutorial, in Roman law… just thinking about that helps me get excited again.







Network Design