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Law Diary

Intro

Welcome to Corpus Christi's Law Diary

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.

For more opportunities to learn about law at Corpus Christi, enter our Legal Reasoning Essay Prize and read about our annual Law Residential.

The students, teachers, and alumni of the College have been keeping a weekly law diary in 2017-18 and 2019-20, with new entries coming for 2023-24. These diaries record what life has been like for those studying or working in the field of law. We hope it will provide some insight for those interested in law, university, Oxford, of course, Corpus Christi. 

Michaelmas 2023

Week 0 MT 2023

This week’s entry is from Theo Coney, a third year law undergraduate.

It’s Fresher’s Week! Well, it was for the freshers… For me (an old, wise and, admittedly, tired third-year) it was a week of revision and exams. This week I had to sit two ‘collections’ (Oxford speak for mock exams) in Administrative Law and Jurisprudence. I am very much glad that they are now over and I am looking forward to beginning the term in Week 1. Although, I must admit, the 7am EU Law class on Monday is looking a little daunting – I cannot remember the last time I was awake before 7am, so I am sure that will be great fun.  

Besides revision and exams, Week 0 was a lovely opportunity to see all of my friends! The long 3-month summer break means that everyone is very excited to see each other once again. It was also great to meet the freshers and introduce them to life at Corpus. On Monday we had subject drinks, an informal event where people from across your subject can have a catch up and introduce themselves to the first years. On Tuesday I was at the Corpus Freshers Fair, attempting (fairly successfully – woo!) to get people to sign up to play rugby for the college this year. I’ve got a training session planned for this upcoming Sunday which, for some reason, is the start of the new week so isn’t caught by this diary entry (apologies, I am sure you would have absolutely loved to have heard about it).  

Besides this, Week 0 was fairly uneventful since tutorials, seminars and lectures don’t begin until next week. So I will indulge you with what I did over my summer vacation. In July, I, by chance, discovered that an important Trusts Law case was being heard at the Supreme Court in the near future. Realising this would be a good opportunity to get some revision in, I decided to head in Central London for the two days of the hearing. The case (Byers v Saudi National Bank) is part of long-running litigation following the insolvency of a company in the Cayman Islands.  

The central issue was whether a continuing proprietary interest was a requirement for a successful claim in knowing receipt. To the non-lawyer this is absolute gibberish. Please excuse that. Let me try with an example:  

Amelia owns a football but she’s going on holiday so she decides to give the football to her friend, Greg. Amelia tells Greg that he can use the football if he wishes but he must return it in the same condition and must do so whenever she asks. Greg is not permitted to do anything with the football outside of what Amelia has permitted. Suddenly, Greg moves to a different country which does not recognise Amelia’s ownership of the football. Greg meets Catherine and, accidently, kicks Catherine’s football into a river. In order to make it up to Catherine, Greg gives (Amelia’s) football to Catherine. When Amelia finds out, she demands that Catherine give the football back, but Catherine refuses, saying that Amelia does not own the football because the law of Catherine’s country does not recognise Amelia’s ownership claim.  

The issue is whether, despite the fact that Amelia does not own the ball in the eyes of the Catherine’s country, she can claim the ball back from Catherine.  

I look forward to reading the judgment when it is handed down by the court. But until then, I have plenty of work to be doing this term. I only have one year left here so I am determined to make the most out of it!

Week 1 MT 2023

This week’s entry is from Nayeli Partasides, a third year law undergraduate student

My preparation for term started on Saturday of 0th week. This term, one of my subjects is European Union (EU) Law. Reading EU cases took a bit of getting used to because the judgments of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) are not structured in the same way as judgments in English law. I sometimes find it harder to identify the reasons behind the ECJ’s conclusions. Having read a good amount of my first reading list, my first contact hour was at 7am on Monday morning. This was a two-hour class in EU law on the free movement of goods. I had initially dreaded such an early a start — the last time I woke up before 7am was to catch a sunrise, so my motivation was quite different. But the early start proved to be very beneficial for my productivity: it gave me an extra two hours in my day. 

On Wednesday, I attended my first commercial law lecture. We learned about contractual aspects of the sale of goods. In the evening, my friends and I went on a pub crawl. It was good to properly spend time again with everyone after the summer vacation. On Thursday I had my first EU law tutorial. I had to read my essay aloud to my tutor and received an oral grade on the spot. This was a new experience for me, but it was good as it pushed me out of my comfort zone. Friday was especially hectic because I convinced myself that 5 consecutive hours of lectures was an appropriate way to spend the day. I found myself running from a lecture at the law faculty to Walton street to attend two hours of Medical Law lectures only to return to the law faculty for two hours of EU law lectures. I have noticed that third year entails more contact hours in contrast to other years. I appreciate this because it gives more structure to the days. 

Week 2 MT 2023

This week’s entry is from Kian Rhodes, a first-year law undergraduate student

This week is second week of Michaelmas term, so all the lawyers have been busy doing tutorials, lectures or reading. I'm a first-year student, so the exams we sit are in the slightly odd time of mid-March and have the even odder name of "Moderations" exams. I guess a University this old comes up with a lot of random names over time... We are doing three subjects in those exams, criminal law, constitutional law and, just to continue the oddness theme, Roman law. Roman law is the foundation of most Western Legal systems, and gives us the chance to see how society and law are connected over hundreds of years. Corpus does all law moderation subjects concurrently which is unique to other colleges, and it is helpful as it gives you more time to revisit material before you have to sit the exams. In Roman, we have covered the sources of law (Kings, Praetors (a bit like a very early Minister of Justice), Emperors and even "jurists", a bit like academics more influential); we're going to move on to more technical rules about who owns property, how property is transferred and what the concepts of possession and ownership might mean. In constitutional, we are learning about the relationship between the executive, legislative and judiciary that makes up the UK constitution. In criminal, we have covered fault elements of a crime (for example, recklessness, the criminal state of mind where you foresee a risk of the prohibited thing happened, and go on unreasonably to take that risk). It's hard, but rewarding. One thing I would recommend to a prospective student is to communicate with your peers in tutorials outside of work and any older years that do law. One good way of doing this is to join the Law Society, as they organise events with other colleges and it’s a good way to meet the wider law community.

Week 3 MT 2023

This week’s entry is from Sam Luxton, a second-year law undergraduate student

Week 3 has been relatively quiet for me in terms of the workload – on the Monday I had my only tutorial of the week which was on Land Law. It has been a very welcome break from a busy previous week and weekend. Over the weekend I went to Liverpool to take a break from the ‘Oxford bubble’ as Professor Dyson likes to call it – this is a good thing to do every now and then throughout the term because it is easy to get bogged down in the work and it’s important to remember you have other things going on. 

Socially this week the main event was going to watch the university’s first team rugby game at Iffley Road against Harlequins (a massive Premiership side so was very eager to see them play). The stand and ground were as packed as I have ever seen it and it created a really great atmosphere to watch the game in. It was organised by the Corpus mens and women’s rugby team to go watch it and then head to the pub after so that all year groups can get to know each other better. Having nights like that are crucial for me to be able to have a good work-life balance. 

The rest of the week so far (writing on Friday) has been devoted to working towards a busy week because I’ve got tutorials on the Monday and Tuesday with 1 essay. The work for my Tort law tutorial especially has interested me as we look at, amongst other things, private and public nuisance. It may not sound too entertaining but it really illuminates how ‘owners’ are restricted to do things on their own land if it could affect their neighbours. 

Apart from that I’ve also got quite a busy weekend and start to next week socially as Halloween is on the Tuesday and so there are quite a few events happening between now and then. Times like these are when you can capitalise on the social elements of Oxford and as a second year I’m trying to make the most of it since the time I have left at uni seems to be flying by!

Week 4 MT 2023

This week’s entry is from Sonam Gordhan, a Departmental Lecturer at the Law Faculty, and a Tutor in Law at Corpus Christi. Sonam teaches Administrative Law and Constitutional Law for the college, as well as Environmental Law for the Faculty.

The clocks have changed, the evenings are darker and everyone has some form of the sniffles. That can only mean one thing - it's 4th week of Michaelmas! This week was a particularly busy one. My role at Oxford is as a Departmental Lecturer - that means I teach Constitutional law tutorials for the College, and run the undergraduate Environmental Law course at the Law Faculty. 

Monday

On Monday I held the first set of tutorials of the year with my undergraduate Environmental Law students. I spent most of Sunday evening reading my students' essays and reflecting on their ideas before the tutorial session. The topics they covered this week included the complexity of environmental problems, the challenges of developing environmental law, and the role of courts in resolving environment disputes. One of the joys at Oxford is the ability to explore ideas about the law with your students. Often the life of an academic can be quite lonely, and I find it energising to hear new and fresh perspectives on what can be tricky subject material.

Tuesday

I started the day with a run through Christchurch meadows. It was a beautiful morning; a little foggy after last night's rain but the sun was up and the rowers were out in full force! It was a nice moment of quiet before another busy day of teaching. For me the key to a productive day is some form of exercise, both for my physical and mental health.

I met with first year undergraduates studying Constitutional law. Constitutional law can be a tough one; understanding the nature of the UK constitution is tricky. I like to remind my students that it's a puzzle, and at the end of the course they have some semblance of a picture! I was also lucky to have time to pop into the 'Public Law Discussion Group' at the Law Faculty. Discussion groups provide an opportunity for academics to share their work on a particular topic. The groups are usually open to anyone, and this week I was particularly interested in going as the discussion was about the role of courts in public law. The talk provided plenty of food for thought for my own area of research, which looks at the role of courts in responding to climate change.

Wednesday

A quieter day, which meant I could spend some time working on my research. This is not glamorous work - this week it involved reading over writing I did last week, to check it made sense and to ensure the footnoting and referencing was accurate. On Wednesday evening, I attended a lecture on the regulation of financial institutions in the era of climate change. It was not only a fascinating topic but sparked lots of ideas to share with my environmental law students later in the week. 

Thursday

Thursday was back to teaching mode - preparing for my Friday seminar on the regulation of waste. Armed with the new knowledge from last night's lecture, I set about thinking of how regulation shapes our interactions with the physical world. This is particularly topical in waste law, because how waste is regulated depends on how we define it. As my students will find out, a definition has thus far proved difficult to pin down!

Friday

The final day of week 4 started with a 9am seminar on waste regulation. We ask students to bring a piece of clutter to the seminar to get them thinking about how law engages with objects that might mean a lot (or a little) to us. It's a nice way to get all our brains moving first thing in the morning. I then rush back to College to run the last set of tutorials for the week, before having lunch in College. We are very lucky at Corpus; the food is always delicious and generously portioned. Tutors eat lunch in the senior common room ('SCR') which is a great way to meet other members of the College who teach different subjects. After lunch, it's time to catch up on marking students' essays from the week. Oxford law students write essays very frequently; this can be tough but ultimately very useful for building essential writing skills.

Week 5 MT 2023

This week’s entry comes from Vrinda Vig, a first-year law undergraduate student

It’s Week 5 of Michaelmas! As a fresher, that means we are halfway through our first term. Wow, time really does fly. 

This was a quiet week, which allowed everyone to focus on their work. The week began with two lectures on Monday, one each in Roman and Constitutional law. This was followed by lots of coffee and readings in preparation for our Roman law tutorial on Thursday morning. The Roman Law topic for week 5 was Property and our tutorial focused on the different methods of acquisition of property in Classical and later Rome. After the constitutional and criminal law lectures on Tuesday morning, I worked with other first year lawyers as we attempted to solve our Roman law problem questions. Who knew discussion ownership laws from the 2nd century could be such a great bonding experience?

Once I had submitted the Roman law work for my tutorial, I was relatively free on Wednesday. So, I decided to spend the day finishing my weekly chores and enjoying with my friends. Despite the workload, I think it is possible to find time for oneself if one plans their week in advance. The tutorial on Thursday was extremely helpful as my tutor guided me through questions that were left unresolved as I worked through the readings. After the tutorial, I started my reading for the Constitutional Law tutorial next week, where we will consider the relationship between the Legislature and Executive and its effect on the balance of powers between different organs of the state. On Friday, the week concluded with a lecture in criminal law on complicity, a topic that is intriguing and challenging in equal measure. I am excited to engage with this topic further, as the lectures carry on to next week. It is also an exciting weekend personally, as I head to London to celebrate Diwali with my family. 

Week 6 MT 2023

This week’s entry comes from Mary-Kate (MK) Hubbard, third-year law undergraduate student

It’s 6th week!

To give some context to my week, I thought I’d explain the layout of the law modules available at Oxford. Aside from the three compulsory subjects you study in the first two terms of first year (which do not count toward your overall mark in final exams), all law students study seven compulsory modules (which make up the qualifying law degree), and two optional modules which you choose from the faculty selection to study in third year.

This means that the third year’s schedules look very different from each other, and this week was a particularly busy week for me! Whilst it has differed in other units, each of my modules this term respectively offer a lecture, class and tutorial, for each of the roughly 7 topics which the unit covers. 

I started Monday by walking to Lincoln College to attend my weekly EU class on the Supremacy of EU Law, which was a great insight into how EU Law actually affects the legal system of each of the member states. After a brief break, I headed to St Hugh’s College to attend my Commercial Law Class (one of my optional modules). This class is always one of my favorites - particularly because of its set up - with all 20 students who chose the module sitting around a large table, discussing the reading with a panel of the Oxford Commercial Law tutors. 

I had my Commercial Law tutorial on Tuesday morning at St Hugh’s - where me and two other students will sit with our tutor and discuss the assigned reading for the week, and work through example scenarios so we can learn to apply the law and see how it works with regard to practical situations. We also receive feedback on our essays and are able to ask any questions we had about the reading (no matter how silly the questions may seem).

On Wednesday I attended a Commercial Lecture at the Law Faculty and spent the rest of the day in the Law Library writing an essay for my EU tutorial which I had on Thursday. My EU tutorial set-up is slightly different to my other modules, whereby the EU tutorial is centered around mine and my tute* partners' essays which we read out at the beginning of the class. We then receive specific and more general feedback on the essays, allowing us to learn and target specific areas for improvement and overall understanding. 

On Friday I attended my first Competition Law tutorial (my second optional module), on the topic of Article 102. This article is a piece of EU Legislation which provides for how the EU (and by extension individual competition authorities) monitors and intervenes when an economic entity is abusing a dominant position on the market. More conceptually, this legislation allows for wider consumer choice by ensuring that one single brand cannot use abusive practices to force other competitors out of the market, and also promotes a higher level of efficiency and innovation in products as brands are able to compete in a fair market to try and produce the best product which will garner the most attention from consumers. 

*tute = short for tutorial

Week 7 MT 2023

This week’s entry comes from Charles Tang, a second-year law undergraduate student.

Monday
Woke up in the morning feeling breezy. It’s 7th week so term is almost over and this is the final push. Had one tutorial today so went and banged it out. It was a land tutorial and we learnt about easements which are so similar to servitudes in Roman law. An example of an easement is a right of way. I won’t bore you with the specifics but the tutorial went well and I left feeling pleased with my progress. 

Tuesday
We only have one tutorial this week so it is crucial I manage my time well. I went to the gym and the pub today but sprinkled in between were multiple hours of reading for next week’s tutorial. I am learning about covenants this time. Pretty nifty stuff. Covenants are contractual agreements that can attach to land and bind every subsequent land owner. Typically, they are negative so they prevent the land owner from doing something on their land. Reading can get a bit confusing at times but my theory is that since so many people before me have survived and eventually understood these concepts, I can do this too. 

Wednesday
Wednesday was a good day. Worked hard and enjoyed myself in the evening by going to a friend’s house. Like me, he is living out and so being away from college is great. We had a few drinks and went to Atik which is not my favourite club. Surprisingly though, it was a great night and even ‘Pitbull’ showed up. Though he was a look-a-like, he still captured my heart. 

Thursday
I hope you start seeing a trend here. My daily routine consists of waking up, working in the morning and afternoon. Going to the gym if that’s part of my routine and then a social event at night. If you ask me, that’s pretty chill. 

Friday
Off to London I go (after finishing my work though of course). Covenants are really confusing me so going to watch a lecture to hopefully clear things up. One of my friends is throwing a reunion so have to go to that. Overall, great week and perfect timing with the diary capturing this. 

Week 8 MT 2023

This week’s entry comes from Luke Blair, a third-year law undergraduate student.

Monday
Our 7am EU law class was unpopular when we first learned of its existence, but 8 weeks in we’re all used to the earliness of it. This week, the class was about the standing rules in annulment proceedings, which form a key part of EU public law. This is essentially about which applicants are permitted to bring actions for annulment, whereby the European Court of Justice will entertain challenges to the validity of a range of EU acts. What is interesting is that because EU law most of the time takes effect at the national level, a main way the European Court has its say on the validity of EU laws and acts is not through annulment proceedings, but references from national courts on points of EU law in dispute there. After the class, I enjoyed a coffee with some of the other 3rd years before retreating to the warmth of Corpus library to finish my EU reading and write up my essay ahead of the tutorial on Tuesday.

Tuesday
This morning I had my last EU law tutorial, which was in Lincoln College – for many of the modules we learn, the tutors are based at different colleges, which means getting to see inside some of the other colleges in Oxford. These particular tutorials follow a traditional format, whereby you read your essay aloud to the tutor and receive feedback on the spot. The detail and amount of feedback we receive on written work from academics is undoubtedly one of the many advantages of studying at Oxford. Before lunch, I gave myself a break from work and spent some time in the JCR (the undergraduate student common room). I then went to the John Radcliffe Science Library for the first time with some friends. It was newly re-opened this year so is a modern and practical space; we set up in one of the group study rooms, which we plan on using for revision sessions next term. 

Wednesday 
In the morning, I made a start on my competition law reading for this week. The competition law that we have studied so far have been the provisions of EU law against anti-competitive agreements (such as where two or more companies form a cartel) and abuse of a dominant position in the market (for instance, by way of predatory pricing aimed at driving competitors out of the market). These have as their rationale the promotion and balancing of various economic objectives including consumer welfare, efficiency and fairness between businesses. After lunch in the college dining hall, I spent the afternoon in the Old Bodleian Library (or “Old Bod” as it is known). We are very lucky to have such a range of libraries to choose from and some of the libraries are really beautiful study spaces, especially the Old Bod, which is one of my favourites.

I stopped work early for the day, as tonight is Christmas Formal! This is a really special occasion and is always one of the highlights of Michaelmas Term. On the menu tonight is smoked salmon, turkey and Christmas pudding. Formals are reasonably priced, at £12 for a three-course meal, and at Corpus they are BYOB (of wine, or whatever you prefer). After the formal, I went to a friend’s birthday party at a popular bar in Cowley. 

Thursday 
Today had lots of reading in store, as I have two tutorials and a seminar tomorrow. The difference between seminars and tutorials is that seminars involve a larger group of students, around 15, while tutorials are typically just you and one or two others with the tutor. I also found the time to catch up with a friend over lunch. Tonight, I have our annual Corpus Law Christmas party to look forwards to. Here, our unofficial motto at Corpus really comes to bear: we take law seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously. Each year, there are snacks and drinks and light-hearted games – both related to law and completely unrelated. We also all get gifted stockings by Professor Dyson, which is another really lovely tradition.

Friday 
It was an early start today with rowing, which today, instead of a regular outing, was Pudding Races. This is a tradition wherein members of the club race in mixed boats we wouldn’t normally row in, with Christmas jumpers or other festive dress encouraged. I’ve dialled down my participation in rowing somewhat in light of this being my final-year, but in previous years it was a great way to get to meet new people in and out of college and Oxford college rowing, as the largest novice rowing community in the world, is a fantastic way into the sport. Bumps racing is also unique to Oxford and Cambridge and is lots of fun!  After this, I headed into the Law Faculty for my last environmental law seminar of term. Environmental law is an optional module I chose to study, which has lots of overlap with administrative law, EU law and tort law. It is highly dynamic and lends itself to controversy easily, making it a very interesting subject to study. Afterwards, I had my environmental tutorial, which was on planning law. One of the key reasons I first came to law was because I am interested in debates around the power and institutional competence of the judiciary, a debate which is definitely relevant to the determination of planning applications. Not long after this, I had my competition law tutorial, which finished at 6:00 PM. There is much to do over the vacation, but I’m looking forwards to some rest (deserved, I think!) before diving into revision and applications.

Hilary 2024

Week 1 HT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Janhavi Gupta, a first-year law undergraduate student.

This week was the first week of Hilary term (the second term of the year), but we’ve officially been back at university since last week. You have collections (essentially just mock exams) at the start of every term – aside from your first term in Year 1 of course – and so you have to come back to Oxford just before term starts to take them. It is actually quite a lovely time. As soon as you’re back with your friends and unpacking all your things, you really do settle in very quickly. This term is actually the term where first-year lawyers have their exams – these are called Law Moderations (‘Mods’ for short). As a result, much of the week was spent focusing on Roman and Criminal Law. Roman Law was on the types of contracts, and how they developed, as well as how this is relevant to the Law today. This is so interesting because you can track how Roman ideas have spread into European legal systems, which I absolutely did not realise had occurred before I came to university. Criminal Law was on ‘inchoate offences’. These are essentially crimes that people wanted to do, and often have tried so hard to do, but were not actually able to commit. It is a really fascinating part of the Law, because it makes you question what people should actually be punished for. Should someone be punished for planning a crime, but not actually going through with it? On Friday, I had my German Law class. I study Law, but I also actually study German Law alongside this (this degree is called Law with Law Studies in Europe). This means that I am on a four-year degree and will live in Germany in my third year (either Bonn or Munich for those interested), which is super exciting! We covered the “Bundespräsident”, who is the president of the German Federal Government. It is a really nice class to be involved in; I get no extra work from it, and we spend the entire time speaking German.

In the evenings on Tuesday and Thursday, I headed to Athletics between 5 and 7pm. I sprint, so I either do a technique-focused session or a speed session. I really love taking part in sports, especially rowing when the river is not flooded! It helps take my mind off things that I am worrying about and is always a good way to remind yourself that you have layers to you that extend beyond your academics. And there are the mental and physical health benefits, of course! Sport at Oxford is very accessible, both in your college, and out. I row through college, but I go to athletics on a university-wide level. I also met my college Mum to catch up. At Oxford, you have college parents. These are usually two people (or sometimes three, like in my case) who are in the year above you. One of them does the same subject as you, and the others do not. But they are essentially a source of guidance if you are ever feeling lost. To round off the week, there is no dinner in the hall on Fridays at Corpus, so my friends and I cooked together; this is always really fun and a nice way to hang out. And then it was my birthday and the birthday of someone else in my friend group too, so we all had a nice evening together. It was a very busy week, but overall a nice, structured start to term.

Week 2 HT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Musa Chishti, a third year law undergraduate student.

To start the week, on Monday, I had an Employment law tutorial on Equality and Discrimination. This was studied last term in a lecture and a class. The tutorial was a very interesting and I found myself somewhat at odds with others in the tutorial. This resulted in valuable discussion of the proper place and limits of the Equalities Act 2010. The central question was as to the proper role for Equality. The main question is in particular the extent to which it has an independent existence to persons receiving their rights, for whatever reason. Additionally, there remained question as to how far the right to autonomy must be preserved when drafting and construing Equalities law.

At the end of the week, on Friday, I had a virtual lecture about business taxation. This drew on themes I had already considered last weeks when studying taxation of employment. It will be consolidated in a lesson next week and then a tutorial later. The major doctrinal issues in this area are demarcation between business income and capital gains which face different tax regimes, and demarcation between business income and employment income. The major issue of policy and principle was whether there ought to be a difference between different kinds of income and if not, how such distinctions could be avoided.

Between these two days, like all week, I spend my time working my way through reading lists. This week I primarily read about avoidance, in preparation for next week's tutorial. Again, the subject was already studied in a lecture and class last term. The reading, in most cases, consisted primarily of reading the textbook to develop a general framework to understand the area, then move on to cases and articles which delve into detail. The main doctrinal issue in this case is to understand the complex case law in the 'Ramsay' anti-avoidance principle. There are two key issues in this area. Firstly, it remains unclear what the proper understanding of avoidance is. Secondly, it remains an issue as to the best way to prevent avoidance. Avoidance is of additional interest since it has significant in the public consciousness.

Week 3 HT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Sophia Roehr, a second year law undergraduate student.

My week started off with a Trusts class and tutorial. We talked about some of the conceptual underpinnings of Trusts law - it was quite a complex topic, but having discussions about it in class and being able to ask clarifying questions helped a lot. I spent the rest of the week preparing for our next Trusts class about the duties of trustees- this was, thankfully, easier. 

On Thursday, I went to my German Law class. I study Law with German Law and am preparing to go on my year abroad in Munich next year. We have weekly classes to prepare us for that taught by a German professor. We discussed the fundamental rights in the German constitution, especially the right to human dignity. Studying German law alongside English Law has benefits - for example, for our annual Corpus “Make your Case Night”, where each student and tutor chooses a case they believe is best and do a short presentation on it, I chose a German case, and ended up winning the competition!

On Wednesday, I went to a law society event with the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. I am currently applying for some law firm schemes over Easter, so I try to go to networking events when I get the chance.  The event was at a pizza restaurant, and we got to roll our own dough and make our own pizza! It was definitely the most unique networking event I have ever been to…

I also spent some time managing the social media account of the Oxford German Society, specifically advertising the Karneval Ball coming up. I am the marketing officer in the committee of the society. It’s a great way to meet people from across the university, get involved in fun events and feel like you are doing something useful outside of degree work. Usually, I would also be rowing for Corpus, but the river conditions haven’t been good recently, so that hasn’t been possible.

Apart from work, I got lunch with a friend from outside college at Ramen Kulture (would definitely recommend!), went to a cocktail bar near my accommodation and went to mega bop. These are parties organised jointly with other colleges, and are a great way to unwind after a week of hard work.

Week 4 HT 2024

This week’s entry is from Lauren Webb, a third year law undergraduate student

Monday

I went to the law library in the morning with Nayeli and Luke (two other third year lawyers) to catch up with some competition reading. I’m actually have meant to have finished all my content for the year, but I missed some work in first and second week. In my experience, tutors have always been really understanding that sometimes life gets in the way and so getting behind is really not something to worry about (and happens to absolute everyone at some point!). 

After lunch, I went to the old bod library to do some more reading. Halfway through, I went to a coffee shop with a few college friends to try a ‘cruffin’. Luke had previously described it to me as an ‘insane eating experience’ and it certainly did not disappoint! 

In the evening I had rugby training. One thing I really like about University Sport is that you get to meet a much wider variety of people than you would just at college. For example, after training I had dinner with two friends: a sixth year medic and a second year criminology masters student. 

Tuesday 

In the morning I did some more competition reading, this time at the Taylorian library. I had lunch in college and then went back to do a bit more reading. 

In the evening, we had ‘make your case night’. Corpus Law Society - which everyone studying law at Corpus is automatically a member of - holds events throughout the year organised by the tutors. In this one, we had to choose a case and explain why we thought it was the most important case ever. After the judge (Eleanor Sharpston) declared the winner, we went back to Liz’s office (Liz is one of the law fellows at Corpus) and had pancakes cooked by Professor Dyson (the other law fellow at Corpus). I always really look forward to these events, and they are great chances to get to know law students in other years and the tutors. 

Wednesday 

I spent most of Wednesday writing an essay for competition law. However, in the evening, I had a rugby match against Cambridge. The big match against Cambridge is Varsity, but we play them in BUCS (the uni sports league) twice as well. The match was tight. With Cambridge leading in the 80th minute, we managed to score in the final play of the game to bring the game to a draw. Hopefully we will manage to score one more point in Varsity! Afterwards, we had food in the rugby pavilion and then a ‘crewdate’ with squash. A ‘crewdate’ is just what we call two Oxford teams having a social with each other.  

Thursday 

On Thursday morning I grabbed coffee with a college friend before working in the Corpus library. I met my brother, who is studying at Oxford Brookes University nearby, for lunch in town. It’s actually really nice to have him around - albeit not too close to be annoying!

That evening, a few members of both the women’s and the men’s rugby team caught the train to London for ‘The Challenge’. ‘The Challenge’ itself is a super silly event where the Captain of the Oxford Blues (first) team stands on the stage and challenges the Captain of the Cambridge Blues team to the Varsity Match, which is the annual fixture that we play against each other. Although it is objectively silly, it is a really fun event: it’s held in our sponsor’s offices with lots of free food and drink. Both the men’s and the women’s teams then headed to a private members club in London (it has a reciprocal membership with the sports club in Oxford, meaning that we were allowed in even though no one was a member) which was really cool. After struggling to meet some noise standards in the club, we all got the train back to Oxford together. 

Friday 

On Friday morning I had to take my car to a garage. The bus took a lovely scenic route back to the city centre motivated me to head straight to the library when I got back. I then met two rugby friends for lunch in Vinnies. Vinnies (or St Vincents) is the name of the sports club in Oxford. People are nominated to join the club based on their sporting accomplishments, but you can visit even if you aren’t a member. It’s located right next-door to Corpus, so it is really convenient for lunch. 

In the evening, I had rugby training. Vinnies were holding a ‘Women in Sport’ cocktail evening and so a few friends and I - being women in sport - headed there afterwards for about an hour.  

Week 5 HT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Zain Parvez, third-year law undergraduate student.

This week marked my final essay and tutorial for my law degree. In my mind these deadlines still seem another year away.  I have had the greatest three years at Corpus, with monumental highs and lows. The uniqueness (or bubble) that is Oxford, brings such intense feelings and emotions that go beyond seminars, lectures and readings.  Amongst the undeniable pressure this degree brings I am reminded by one of my favourite quotes; “I wish there was a way to be reminded when you are in the good old days, before you’ve actually left them” from Andy Bernard in the US office. 

The last three years has provided me with an opportunity to grow – not only as a student and lawyer but has shaped much of who I am – surrounded by amazing, interesting and unique people, but also in an environment that pushes me beyond what I thought I could do. In that sense, Oxford is a really special place.

As I mentioned, my last ever essay and tutorial was for EU competition law, an option module but one of the subjects I have enjoyed the most whilst here. This week saw us debating themes in policy, political economy, and market regulation – the chance to draw upon theory and content from outside my normal scope of a law degree is why I chose the module. Competition law draws upon multi-faceted social science disciplines, in order to understand how to regulate a competitive market, therefore it is open to much interpretation as to the best methods of enforcement and is certainly not as ‘black and white’ as many other areas of law. 

As I walked out of the tutorial with two friends from Corpus, it was a strange feeling having completed the content part of our degree. The countless essays, late nights and very early mornings had all led us here, and in the blink of an eye. The rest of our time here would be spent revising and going back over the countless tutorials which spans the three years – each one associated with a distinct memory and each one that was once the focus of that week in my life. 

Unlike other Corpus lawyers, I still have work due at the end of this term. I am writing a dissertation which counts as one of my final year options. Though a new option and taken by only a few others - I could not recommend it enough. It has given me the opportunity to explore something I am very passionate about, outside of the normal scope of Oxford teaching which has provided me a breath away from the hectic pace of the law degree. To be able to think creatively, deeply and feel like I have all the time in the world to craft my own opinion makes a change from tutorial essays. 

I am exploring the field of digital regulation – assessing the effectiveness of the UK’s data protection legislation (Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR) in challenging automated decisions made by government. I am looking at the 2020 A-level scandal as one of the examples of ADM used by government – and where it went horribly wrong, leaving students powerless and their futures crushed with a seemingly arbitrary decision. The feeling of powerlessness and apathy caused by a so obviously flawed decision, where the law could not come rescue, has driven me to explore this field. Without intervention, this could become the norm. Being able to have one-to-one access to experts in their field, in both an academic and pastoral setting is one of the gifts of Oxford that strangely become normal. The trade-off is dealing with the free time, lack of structure and having to self-teach areas of law – which sounds a lot harder than it is especially when it comes to the EU GDPR.  This is a field I hope to explore after Oxford and being able to write my dissertation on a field of my choice has allowed me to test my passion for it and extended projects. 

Sadly, my bubble of reflection was burst on Wednesday; 6am wakeup for our 7am EU revision class. Though the cruel time of 7am certainly dampened my week, the class was extremely helpful and done out of the kindness of our tutor to accommodate our schedules at the only time we weren’t busy. This was a revision session going over our “collection”, a mock exam taken at the end of a module. EU law is regarded as one of the most difficult modules in the law degree, and though it is challenging, it allows you to draw on many different skills, subjects and disciplines – it is a good way to wrap up the three years here, almost drawing together constitutional, administrative and tort law into one. Right after the class, collectively as Corpus lawyers, we got breakfast in the covered market, to signify the end of our 7am sufferings. The rest of my day consisted with reading, catching up with friends in the library and in the evening a group of my friends cycled down to Tap Social in Botley to see the Keith Fairbairn groove collective jazz night. The night came highly recommended and the groove collective certainly did deliver, though we did get forced to dance. 

Thursday was a well needed mid-week break for me. As I often lose track of time and end up working on weekends, a mid-week break is necessary. I met friends for coffee in the morning – one of the joys about oxford is the wonderful food, coffee and things to do at our disposal – especially with living in town centre where everything is walkable. 

Outside of my degree I am involved with the music scene at Oxford. The key to surviving Oxford is having a passion outside of your degree – where you can unwind, escape and meet others from across the university. This year I have taken over the Oxford University Electronic Society – less of a society and more a group of friends who are interested in anything underground and electronic! OUEMS hosts beginner DJ workshops, music production workshops that has featured DJs such as Object Blue as well as a fortnightly Open Decks. 

Thursday was the last Open Decks session I would be running – a platform where we give upcoming student DJs the opportunity to play Infront of a crowd for the first time and on professional equipment at a club. The night runs from 9pm to 1am and features 30min slots from all sorts of DJs – afrobeat, garage, jungle, house and experimental techno. It is one of the only spaces in Oxford where anyone can play anything and is truly welcoming to everyone. Newcomers are not scared of making mistakes and with non-male beginner workshops, more diversity is being encouraged at the grassroots. 

Through Open Decks I was able to get gigs across Oxford and build up to sharing line-ups with professional DJs I look up to – albeit opening slots! I will be ending this term by opening Simple Oxford, an events series running for over twenty years through hosting some of the biggest names in electronic music – it has certainly shaped much of my own music taste, especially as one of the rare electronic music nights in Oxford. Music has always been my escape and being able to now perform in front of crowds, with the trust and confidence of promoters, to share my weird music taste to the enjoyment of others has been one of the best things I’ve done.  OUEMS sessions allow me to give back to the group that helped me so much, and as I leave, I hope that the society will continue for many more years! 

Friday marked the end of the week and end of the teaching part of my degree. I started the morning with a visit from the welfare dogs. Fifth week is “welfare week” across college, where the JCR (Junior Common Room) runs various welfare activities for the college from free ice cream, knitting workshops, movies and of course welfare dogs. The rest of my day felt like time ticking down to my final 4pm competition tutorial – I spent the afternoon researching the debate on Chicago school economics, neo-Brandeis anti-trust analysis and whether merger control should be abolished in EU anti-trust law. The evening tutorial was quickly proceeded by dinner with college friends and then a charity fundraiser which then led to the college BOP – “big organised party” in our college bar. Though never the best musical showcase in Oxford, Corpus BOPs are always fun (and memorable) nights. The closeness of college, amplified with the small cohort does no way mean a poor social life – the lack of numbers is certainly made up for with the size of the characters in college. 

In all, the night served as a fun mark to end a significant part of my life – I will miss tutorials and really miss my time here. I constantly remind myself back to Andy Bernard’s words – remind yourself that you are in the good old days. Through all the struggles of work and tutorials, it can seem hard to remember that these one day would just become faint memories. I didn’t think Friday would be the day that I thought back to my first week, leaving my first roman law tutorial with my head spinning, but I look back fondly at the times I was so stressed, confused, and naïve. Hopefully, the end of finals can bring me the same rose-tinted reflections!

Week 6 HT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Jacob Harvey, second year undergraduate law student.

Monday

I awoke in rather the spirit of anticipation, for it was time for the termly Presidential Collection. One of Oxford’s many traditions, it is a short meeting with one’s primary tutor, the President of the College, and the Senior Tutor, to discuss how one is progressing through one’s work and through one’s life as a student. It progressed uneventfully, and it did have the advantage of leaving me more alert for the morning’s seminar. Mitch, my tutor for the law of trusts, has the group enjoy both a seminar with all of us and a tutorial in small groups on Monday, which is rather useful due to the complexity of the trusts. Though enjoyable, I do tend to find myself realising fairly quickly in the seminar that I know far less about the topic than I thought that I did, then learning in the tutorial that which I believed that I knew. 

The topic was tracing, which is the practice of following assets as they transmute from one form to another. I did enjoy the fact that part of tracing involves following quantities of money across various accounts, which involved a little bit, albeit only a touch, of mathematics. That was something that I had been missing somewhat. Later in the day, when I had dinner with a friend who did mathematics for her degree, we had a fun chat about the matter. In the evening, I had a theological discussion-group, which was The Search, covering the topic of the person of Christ. All in all, it was a busy day, but it was an enjoyable one.

Tuesday

Though not part of the weekday, it is necessary to briefly outline some activities on Sunday. I am the Vice-President and the Secretary of the JCR (Junior Common Room), which is the association of the undergraduate students at Corpus Christi. This means that I attend and help to lead the JCR meetings, which occur biweekly on Sundays. My main responsibility is to compile minutes for those meetings, and that particular meeting was covering a series of constitutional changes, which are a rare intersection of my degree and the JCR. With that in mind, I spent Tuesday editing and writing sixty pages of minutes, as the meeting did proceed for a while. One of the reasons that I took the job was that I am possibly the only person in the JCR who quite enjoys this sort of task.

I also had a Zoom call with my sister on Tuesday, which was a pleasant catch-up. And, quite unexpectedly during the call, I received via email the result from my Collection on the law of tort. I was pleased with the result, an upper-middle two-one, since it had been occupying my mind a tad. Finally, at the end of the day, I began the reading list for jurisprudence. This didn’t involve very much, just a brief skim and scan over what I had to read and making a list of what I had to do.

Wednesday

With my preparations on Tuesday, I was able to go fairly directly to the Law Library after breakfast for the reading on jurisprudence. This might be my favourite subject that I have done in law thus far, closely competing with constitutional law, and this topic was particularly interesting. It was about the interactions of law and morality. The reading asked questions about whether there was a moral obligation for everyone to obey the law, or, if not, for some persons, and, if so, to what extent this is a binding moral rule. 

Therefore, I had quite some fun writing the essay, which I did on that day. I answered the question of whether the moral obligation to obey the law might depend on the behaviour of others. I wrote that it was not able to do so, though on grounds that I would now consider to be spurious, as is often the way with jurisprudence. With that done, I also filled in some available times for College photographs, since there were some pictures being taken of various students for the purposes of publicity. This was part of working through the email backlog that I tend to acquire: the main disadvantage of membership in the University’s societies.

Thursday

This was something of a busy day. In the morning, I recapped some work on jurisprudence, having not had time to complete the extended reading prior to writing the essay, that took until the mid-afternoon, where one of my favourite Corpuscular traditions takes place daily. JCR Tea, every four o’clock, is a great space to relax from work. In my particular case, it was time for my application to Returning Officer, which is the appointed role in the JCR, responsible for Constitutional interpretation. I had decided to apply, so I wrote that while chatting with others hoping to do the same.

In the afternoon, I had a rehearsal for a play in which I am working as crew, run through the Oxford University Drama Society, which is, in my opinion, one of the best societies in terms of consistent fun. This meant that I couldn’t make Doctor Who Society, which is a typical staple of my Thursdays. Instead, after the rehearsal, I went to the JCR-MCR Lighting Talk, which is a series of short talks given by the JCR and MCR. The talks were hilarious, merging factual content, or at least the well-disguised imitation thereof, with all manner of puns. The best one was the tale of the migration of eels, which was far more amusing than it sounds. Finally, I went to the pub with some friends to finish the day.

Friday

On Friday, it was time for my jurisprudential tutorial, on the matter of the intersection of law and morality. I do enjoy these tutorials, because they involve the sort of debate and arguing that first inspired me to study law. We had a great conversation, mainly about what it meant for a moral obligation to be overridden by a supervening one, particularly in the context of a legal obligation being overruled by an exigent situation. Then, I returned to College for a break from work.

In that break, I attended a meeting with the College’s Sustainability Coordinator, in my capacity as Vice-President, with the JCR’s Environment and Ethics Officer. We discussed the plan for the next few months, including some administrative tasks that had accumulated. I also received, actually during that meeting, though I only looked at it later, the agenda for Student Council. Mostly unconnected to the JCRs, with Corpus JCR actually having recently disaffiliated, Student Council is associated with the Student Union, and it passes a variety of motions on a range of topics. I therefore spent some of Friday looking through these in preparation for attending the meeting at Corpus’ Delegate.

Week 7 HT 2024

This week’s entry is from Frantisek Jezek, a fourth-year law undergraduate

It is the penultimate week of my final term of teaching, before taking finals next term. I did not have a tutorial this week, which was a pleasant change of pace from the rest of term, and a good opportunity to consolidate some of the material I have learned this term studying Public International Law, and Civil Dispute Resolution. 

More excitingly, I hosted a good friend of mine from home for the better part of the week. I showed him all around college, and Oxford, including dining in hall and even some conditioning training with another college’s boat club. We also spent some hours playing table tennis in the college’s gym, and he is unfortunately still better than me.

The second part of my week was focused on preparing for my final tutorial in Public International Law, which will be on State Responsibility. International law, unlike domestic law, has no enforcement mechanism in the form of a binding Supreme Court or police force, which means that compliance with the law is often left to states’ good will and political goals. Even ascertaining the state of the law is not just about reading treaties or judicial decisions, but an exercise in analysing past state practice. This makes Public International Law opaquer and more flexible than most other areas of law, which is both fascinating and perhaps necessary for the existence of an international legal order.

Finally, on Sunday morning I went to Gloucester with Worcester College Boat Club to get some water time, which has been scarce in Oxford this term due to poor conditions on the river. I am hoping that conditions improve by next term, so that I can row in Summer VIIIs for a final time before graduating.

Week 8 HT 2024

This week’s entry come from Professor Matt Dyson, Fellow and Tutor at Corpus Christi College. Matt is a Professor of Civil and Criminal Law

Week 8 comes three times a year, but always manages to both creep up on you, slap you in the face. It's a time to try to get everything done that you need to with the law and with teaching, complete University and College administrative duties while the place is most active, and, for this term ("Hilary"), to try to make sure you stop to sniff at least some of the flowers poking up around Oxford. I taught on a few of the days, mostly third year subjects or graduate student students, including the last seminar in a paper I lead on, Advanced and Comparative Criminal Law. I get to teach the first years two of their three subjects, but we slightly advance the syllabus, so we finish their teaching at the very start of week 8, with their other subject, so they have at least a little time to focus before their exams in week 9. I also got to meet the third-year law students for individual meetings to see how they were doing, and, if needed, remind them of how much they have done and how much potential they have (a lot, and, a lot, respectively). There were also a range of University and College committees, most significantly, the Governing Body of the College, where the Fellows, as trustees, work to make sure the institution is doing its best, both to continue its 500 years legacy of scholarship and education and, on a daily basis, try to make it the best place for staff, students and academics it can be. At the end of the week I went to Leiden for a day, as part of my Faculty role as Director of the Institute for European and Comparative Law, since they are longstanding partners. Indeed, a Corpus student spent a year there two years ago, and loved his time. I was commenting on the work of their postdoctoral and early-career scholars, learning about what they were doing, and renewing bonds and friendships: a very good way to end the week and the term!

Trinity Term 2024

Week 1 TT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Sotirios-Olousegkoun Maragkos-Aouomouti, a third-year law undergraduate student.

It was my last first week in Oxford, but many of us finalists spent the vacation here, so it was slightly anti-climactic. On the academic side, I spent most of it working in either the Old Bod or my room, which I have been enjoying more since I moved my desk to face the window now that the sun is out. We had our first revision sessions, Trusts Law and Land Law, and I was happy to see they were with Lincoln College, whom we have been sharing teaching with occasionally since first year. Revision classes seem to be incredibly useful so far, though they can quite rudely remind you how much you don't know. Surprisingly, they were also very interesting, and not just because I was learning for the first time things I should have a year ago. From discussing new cases that have come out since we were being taught, to bringing in ideas from other subjects like Jurisprudence (legal philosophy) or Constitutional Law, they felt, at times, more like a conversation about a shared interest than a lesson.

On the social side, I spent most of Saturday at WadStock, a music festival at Wadham College that hosts different student bands and is quite popular with Corpuscles*. This year it was raining for much of it, but it made for a nice atmosphere in the end. It can be difficult to be present when you haven't not thought about exams in weeks, but Matt always tells us to treasure our 'lasts' and I have found my time with friends to be increasingly valuable as exams approach. 

*Corpus Christi students

Week 2 TT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Ebony-Coco de Lara, a first-year law undergraduate student.

As I reflect upon this week, the second week of my last term as a first year that is, what comes to mind are the conversations, connections, I have engaged in and enhanced over the last five days. This is even despite the many, countless even, hours I have spent, hidden away in the lower section of Corpus’ library – graveling over intense, long-lasting lists of cases. As, in amongst the convoluted judgements spanning dozens of pages and the ‘hoity-toity’ language of textbooks, it is apparent to me that what really has made this experience particularly memorable are the people whom I have had the absolute privilege of meeting. The ability to cultivate, and nourish, genuine relationships built on fraternity and deeper understanding. 

A dinner-side discussion hunched over a plate of food, piled to the brim with what I am sure are the best roast potatoes in Oxford (though not as good as my mum’s), attentively listening to my friends’ opinions on national identity and personhood is just one example of such a revelation. Conversations so engrossing and immersive that, almost every day of this past week, my friends and I have been directly (and politely!) escorted out of hall by the college staff – only to continue these same conversations elsewhere.  

My participation in extra-college societies and events, too, have proven to provide similar situations. As a newly-appointed editor for the ‘Comment’ Section of Cherwell (Oxford’s oldest student newspaper) I can do this further. This position affords me the opportunity to converse and collaborate with a range of different, like-minded and politically sentient people from throughout the University. Ultimately resulting in a much-needed challenge to my preconceived opinions and an ability to gauge a unique perspective on the most pressing topics of today – whether that be on topics closer to home, involving Oxford itself, or on that a lot further from here, in Westminster. I find working both jointly with my fellow editors and on personal projects extremely rewarding. Regularly seeing my face in print, not in a narcissistic kind of way (obviously), has been an interesting experience too.

In fact, one of my biggest achievements of the past week (other than managing to survive the previously alluded to reading list, of course) links to such collaboration. This Thursday my first ever article, and a sort of ‘pet-project’ of mine, was published on the Cherwell website. I sincerely hope that the contents of my article, and the debate that it prompts, may encourage other interested people, throughout the University and beyond, to hold conversations just as stimulating as the ones I have been privy to this past week. 

For it seems that genuine conversations between friends, or collaborators, (whether on matters of current the socio-political climate or the latest Netflix drama) are the direct catalysts of honest, open, and worthwhile friendships.  

Week 3 TT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Hannah Benson, a second-year law undergraduate student.

It’s the third week of Trinity Term in Oxford and term is well under way! Trinity is by far the best term, mainly because of the weather and this week we’ve really started to see the best of the weather. The sun shining definitely helps to lift everyone’s mood and is a great motivator to get your reading and essays done so you can enjoy the sunshine. 

My week has not been too busy this week. I only have one tutorial this week so only one essay to write. This term I am studying Administrative Law and Jurisprudence. Jurisprudence is the theoretical study of law. It is very different from any module I have studied in the past as most our compulsory modules are practical and are based around the legal decisions themselves. Normally we spend our time reading cases and statutes and our questions are based around what the law actually is. In jurisprudence it is more about why the law is and rather than reading cases, we are reading legal philosophy and asking much more philosophical questions. At first, I found it difficult to get to grips with a subject that I found abstract and that was different to anything I have studied before. That said, jurisprudence really gives you a chance to think about law in an entirely different way. Administrative law, on the other hand is much more practical. This is a public law module which means we are looking at the legal relationship between the individual and the state, not in a criminal sense but decisions such as social security and immigration for example. administrative law is a branch of public law, which specifically ensures that the bodies of government are administering their power in a way that is fair and are not abusing this power as such. Many of the cases we read are individuals asserting that a public body has not acted fairly and the courts review the decision of the government body and decide as to whether they have acted fairly.  For administrative law we have one tutorial every week and for jurisprudence we have 3 tutorials spread across the term. This week there was no tutorial for jurisprudence so my week was focused on administrative law. For most tutorials there is an essay to write which must be handed in before the tutorial. Each week we will look at a different topic. There will be a reading list prepared by our tutor with the relevant cases and articles we need to read to prepare for the tutorial and write the essay. This week’s topic looked how courts decide cases of review differently based on whether there has been an error in law or an error in fact. An error in law could mean that the decision of the public body contravenes what has been set out in statute. An error in fact means that the public body has made a mistake in terms of the specific facts of that case. Courts are more willing to overturn the decision of a public body where there has been an error in law than where there has been an error in fact. My essay discussed whether this distinction between errors in law or errors in fact is particularly useful. I hope that summary of the tutorial topic made some sense. It is particularly difficult to summarise a topic that took me 4 days to complete the reading and essay in a short diary entry. However, administrative law and public law more broadly will be something that you study if you decide to take up law at university. It is also a subject that you will frequently see make headlines in the news. For example, the recent Rwanda bill that has been passed and how that played out in the Supreme Court. It is a fascinating subject but also difficult to get your head around. However, this is what makes law in general a fascinating subject to study. It constantly challenges you and the way you think. Each module is in its own way different and requires a slightly different approach. Administrative law tends to make more sense each week as each topic builds on the last and at the start it is difficult to see a clear picture but with determination and the will to work through the reading and figure out what is going on makes the work engaging and rewarding. 

My tutorial was on Thursday this week so I started working my way through the reading list on Sunday. It is always good to start a topic with the lectures. The lectures for Administrative law were given in person last term but are recorded so we can watch online. Lectures really help to give an overview of the particular topic and make the reading make much more sense, having already got a picture in your head! I would then read the relevant part of the textbook, again to give context and then start reading the case law and the articles. All the reading expected to be completed is sent out by your tutor who will teach the tutorial and mark your essay. The essay title is something you should have in mind when completing the reading so you can form an argument. By Wednesday, I was ready to write the essay and on Thursday I had my tutorial. Tutorial essays normally take a couple of hours to write but the planning is normally done alongside the reading itself. You are basically forming a picture inside your head of the topic. Sometimes navigating through the reading by yourself can be confusing and it can seem like things don’t make sense but this is where the tutorial comes in. The tutorial is basically a discussion with your tutor and one or two peers about that week’s material. It is not meant to be a lecture but a chance for you to ask questions and your tutor to ask questions. The tutorial helps to piece things together and fill in any gaps in your understanding. Not understanding things is okay and it is easy to forget that law is a difficult subject but having the opportunity to discuss this with your tutor is what helps it to all make sense in the end! 

After my tutorial I spent Thursday evening at the JCR committee dinner. This was a celebration for everyone who was part of the JCR committee last year. The JCR (junior common room) is basically the Oxford way of referring to the undergraduate body of the college (all of the students in Corpus completing their undergraduate degree). The JCR committee is elected by the students and is basically Corpus’ undergraduate student union. I was on the committee last year so we had a formal dinner to celebrate our work. As well as your degree there are lots of different things to get involved with at Oxford outside your subject. I also run the Yoga society at Corpus. Classes happen every Tuesday at 9pm in college and our instructor is funded by the college. This is a great way to manage stress and look after wellbeing. Having this on a Tuesday really helps the flow of the week. Friday has been spent planning my week and getting started with my jurisprudence reading as I have both jurisprudence and administrative next week. I also attended a talk organised by Oxford Law Society and Oxford Human Rights Society which discussed the Rwanda Bill. This was chaired by Dr Ronan Cormacain who is legal counsel for the Northern Ireland Assembly and Welsh Government and Dr Peter Walsh who is a researcher in migration studies at Oxford. Opportunities like this are a great way to explore your subject in different ways and hear from experts. As well as this, lots of my working time has been spent in the Corpus garden working. This one of the best parts about Trinity - working outside! I plan to take full advantage of this over the weekend before a busy Week 4. 

Week 4 TT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Connor Champ, a second year DPhil Law student

Week 4 means we’re halfway through the final term of the academic year. As a research student my studies are less tied to terms but it’s always surprising how quickly they fly by. 

Late last week I met with my supervisor to discuss one of my draft chapters. It’s always great to get feedback and meant that this week I had new things to research. My thesis looks at the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) so is quite broad in scope and I often find myself looking at areas of law I’m unfamiliar with. This week I examined equality and discrimination law which I hadn’t studied in-depth before. Getting into it was challenging but will ultimately be quite rewarding ­– part of the fun of legal research is discovering new things. 

In between research I managed to do some other things as well.   

Monday

Monday afternoon I was asked to speak at a forum run by NATS (providers of air traffic services in the UK), they were interested in how autonomous aviation systems will be regulated in the future. Unfortunately, this meant I couldn’t make the Finalist’s Tea. Every year the college law tutors put on a tea to wish all those doing exams well. As part of the tea there is also an annual group photo (which usually involves props). I’ve missed out this year but am consoled by the fact that there’s always next year. 

Tuesday

On Tuesday, I found out that an academic collaborator has secured a venue for a workshop I’ve been helping with. The workshop (on automated decision making in the public sector) is relatively soon and it had been proving impossible to find somewhere to hold it. We’re quite lucky to have found somewhere in central London at short notice. Even better though, the venue has catering which means I’m off the hook in terms of organising tea and sandwiches for attendees.

Wednesday 

I met with some contacts from organisations wanting to use AI. I do this regularly as talking with organisations trying to get to grips with AI gives me a better sense of the regulatory issues and new ideas for research.

Thursday

I travelled to London to meet with an academic mentor of mine. We discuss how life and work and get a better sense of what a future career in academia looks like. A couple of years into my DPhil I’m starting to think about what’s next. It’s good to get a variety of views about future careers and there are also plenty of people at Corpus and the law faculty I talk to regularly about this. I usually get lots of good advice. 

Friday 

A comparatively quiet day which I used to do some more research and planning for next week. I had another draft to get to my supervisor, a presentation to prepare and I spent some time looking at what seminars were on at the law faculty next week. I usually prefer working in the law library on days like this but found that all my source material was available online and so opted to work from home. My decision might also have been influenced by my new coffee machine but it’s hard to say. 

Week 5 TT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Warin I-Sarakitgoson, a second-year law undergraduate student.

On Monday morning I continued some of the remaining reading I had for my mini-option in Jurisprudence. The mini-option is a small course within the Jurisprudence module that second-year lawyers undertake halfway through Trinity Term. It entails choosing a sub-topic within the Jurisprudence module in which we will write an essay on during the summer vacation at the end of second year. I chose the topic “unjust laws and regimes” which looks at the justifications to disobeying the law and how this should be carried out, as well as looking at different case studies of civil disobedience. I chose this topic because of my interest in the interrelationship between law and politics which this mini-option gives me the opportunity to explore in some detail by looking at the obligation to obey the law whilst also reflecting in the nature of law and seeing how this plays out in real life. 

After I completed my reading, I decided to go punting with some friends. Trinity is my favourite term because the weather is nearly always sunny and there are many activities Oxford offers during this season. Punting is somewhat of an Oxford tradition, and it is a great way to destress and hang out with some friends in the sunshine. 

Tuesday is the day I attended my first class for my mini-option. This was held in a lecture room in Oriel College. It was not really a ‘class’ as such but was more of a lecture with the opportunity to jump in and ask/answer questions to clarify the first set of readings. This was an interesting class as not only did it build on my prior readings I did on Monday but also on the readings I had done in Jurisprudence on the relationship between law and morality. 

The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday was spent in various Oxford libraries doing my tutorial reading for Administrative Law. This week’s focus was on human rights and proportionality review of human rights violations. I enjoyed this week’s admin readings as it concerned the method for reviewing and protecting fundamental rights. This is the aspect of law which many people (at least I had) view the study of law would involve and it did not disappoint! I ready many cases to do with human rights infringements and who/what bodies have a duty to act compatibly with the Human Rights Act and this module, all in all, has been much less technical and more tangible than some previous modules I had studied in the past. 

On Thursday I then had my Admin tutorial which was useful in consolidating the readings I had done throughout the week and clear up any misunderstandings. 

The Friday and Saturday of 5th week were spent in London with various bits of tutorial readings sprinkled in throughout the day. 5th week is known for its ‘blues’ since it is slightly past halfway through the term and people tend to feel a bit burnt out. I find that going home to see home friends and family is a healthy way of reassuring myself that I am doing okay and grounding myself. Whilst in London I also attended a UCL ball. This was quite an enjoyable experience, having never been to a ball outside of Oxford. I found myself comparing the ball to the previous balls I had attended at Oxford, and it was a rather candid reminder of the grandeur of Oxford events in comparison, and how privileged I am to have the opportunity to experience so many impressive events during my time here so far. Though the UCL ball was a lovely experience, it is hard to reach the magnificence of any Oxford black tie event.

On Sunday I headed back to Oxford and continued my Jurisprudence and Admin law readings. During the afternoon I briefly attended the Corpus Tortoise Fair. This is an annual event held at Corpus in which different tortoises from various colleges race each other. It was very fun despite the rain which served as a reminder for me to head back to the library to resume the forthcoming week’s tutorial readings. 

Week 6 TT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Megan Scoltock, a second-year law undergraduate student.

Monday

The start to 6th week was uneventful – albeit very realistic. I spent the majority of the day cracking on with some administrative law reading, followed by an evening run around the lock and an early night. 

Whilst it won’t be the plot of a film anytime soon, it always nice to slow down in what are otherwise rather intense terms – both in terms of workload and social events (they are not – unless you want them to be – mutually exclusive). 

I personally have had quite a packed schedule recently, travelling to and from London for various shows (e.g. Wicked, Les Mis and Olivia Rodrigo); the proximity of Oxford to London is super convenient for escaping the Oxford bubble for an evening and I try to take the opportunity whenever I can. 

Tuesday

Tuesday morning involved more administrative law reading, however the afternoon brought a change of pace in the shape of a jurisprudence seminar. Our focus this week was on whether a citizen has a duty to obey unjust laws, having regard for the various forms of disobedience – spanning from conscientious objection to violent revolution (pretty interesting stuff). 

Although I had planned to end the day with another run, the weather had other ideas. Given I didn’t fancy starring in the live action remake of flushed away, I instead spent the evening on FaceTime to my brother. 

Wednesday

On account of yesterday’s raincheck, my Wednesday began unreasonably early so as to squeeze in a morning run. My playlist evidently had a sense of irony when it played Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” approx. 5 mins down the road (I was, in fact, nowhere near half way there). 

However, the one upside to an early run is spending the rest of the day feeling superior to everyone lazy enough to be asleep at 6am (i.e. me every other day of the year). Naturally, I carried this new-found superiority complex with me to my desk where I sat down to do start a new topic in administrative law. 

Given it was a brand-new topic, I opted to start with the lecture which provides a helpful overview, of which I will build upon through reading the cases and articles. Whilst lectures are held live every term, they are also helpfully uploaded online, which is my preferred mode of consumption given that my brain refuses to pay attention to anything below x2 speed. 

Then, at around 5pm, I headed to college to do some pottery painting with my friends. This was one of the many JCR organised events that take place each term and was a really nice way to take a break from work and try something completely new (I will however be telling everyone that my 8-year-old goddaughter painted my bowl). 

Thursday 

Thursday consisted of attending my only tutorial for this week. Whilst ordinarily tutorials will involve a corresponding essay, this week happened to be one of the rare occasions where there was no essay due; instead we were told to split the material for the week and prepare a presentation on our respective topics.

The overall theme of this week’s tutorial was procedural fairness in administrative decision-making. My presentation specially focused on issues of bias and reason-giving – more specifically, how courts adjudicate cases of bias in administrative decision-making and whether there should be a general duty to give reasons when making administrative decisions. 

Friday

On Friday it was back to the regularly scheduled programming of administrative law reading. Whilst writing this down I have noticed that like my week sounds rather repetitive – which is to some extent true given that a law degree involves a LOT of reading – however, in the interest of portraying an accurate picture, I do also want to note that each case and each article brings with it new ideas and new topics to grapple with. So, whilst I may have spent the week solely focused on one module, the diversity and complexity of administrative law means that my work is not as monotonous as this diary might make it seem. 

Anyway, after reading for a few hours, I headed to my shift at Corpus library. Whilst Oxford students are not allowed to work during term time, there is often an exception made for working within college (such as in the beer cellar, library or as a student ambassador). We usually only work a couple of hours a week but it’s a nice way to earn a little extra money to fund fun activities during term. 

Weekend

The weekend was much of the same, so I won’t bore you with specifics. I suppose I’ll just end on the note that if you are reading these diary entries wondering whether to apply to Oxford – just do it! The only way to guarantee you won’t get in is to never apply in the first place. I personally never believed I was good enough for Oxford and yet here I am – living proof you are capable of much more than you know!

Week 7 TT 2024

This week’s entry comes from Jake Pronger, a first-year law undergraduate student.

With Trinity term (Oxford’s third term) coming to an end, the main preoccupation on student’s minds is exams. Not so for first year lawyers. We took our Law Moderations (first year exams) last term and so this term is less stressful for us as we have more time to explore the immense number of extracurricular opportunities which Oxford has to offer in the lovely sun; whilst, of course, also keeping on top of our Contract and Tort readings! Week 7 also means that my first year is nearly over which is a truly surreal feeling. It has made me reflect on the position I was in this time last year as I was preparing my application for Oxford and how reading the law diary entries (I always knew I wanted to apply to Corpus since attending the Law Residential here) really allowed me to envisage what the day-to-day life of a law student at Corpus entails which is what I shall try to convey in this entry. 

Monday

In actuality, the Oxford week started on Sunday because of the way my timetable has been arranged this term. Every other week we have tort law tutorials on Tuesdays with essays due at 7pm the evening before. This meant that in order to get the essay done on time I had to prepare the large reading list containing statutes, cases, and academic commentary in advance so that I would have sufficient time to prepare, write and proofread my essay. This might sound a bit overwhelming at first, but you soon get into the swing of things after having to submit so many essays throughout the terms. A way of thinking about it which I find helpful is that thousands of other people have had to go through this before me, so surely, I will be able to get through it too! Anyway, this week’s readings concerned causation in the law of Tort which is the area of law concerned with civil wrongs. This is most likely the area of law which people typically envisage given that it results in law suits like those which you might see in Netflix dramas where if the tortfeasor (a funny word for the person accused of doing the wrongful act) is found liable (responsible for the harm), they have to place the claimant (the person whom the act was done to) in the position they would have been had the ‘tortious’ act (wrongful act) not been committed. All these funny sounding words may seem hard to grasp your head around at first but after a while you come to understand them in the same way you slowly begin to understand words in a language you are learning for the first time. To my mind this is what makes studying law so rewarding, after all lawyer’s trade in words and by studying law, you are learning the language needed to engage in the legal conversations happening all around you. Without this knowledge, you are unable to steer this conversation in the direction you want in order to impact a positive change. 

Midway through the day I had my mandatory Moot at the Law Faculty. A Moot is essentially a fictitious court case where you get to play at being a barrister and argue the best case possible for your client. This moot was part of the Legal Research and Mooting Skills Programme run by the faculty as a way of helping us to build the advocacy skills lawyers use in the real world. It was fun to be able to rebut the arguments put forward by the opposition in my role as the Junior Respondent as this meant I had to go last and argue why the appeal should be dismissed by the judge. It might seem scary when a judge interrupts you to ask you to clarify a submission, but they are really just trying to get to the root of your argument in a relaxed and friendly environment. I really enjoyed this opportunity and hope to take part in some of the many moots offered by the University next year.

With Corpus being a central college, I then made the short walk back from the St Cross building (where the Law Faculty is located) and started writing my essay which usually only takes a few hours as long as you plan your essay whilst you are doing your readings. After printing and submitting my essay bang on the deadline, I went to bed exhausted. It might seem strange to have to print a hard copy of an essay in 2024 but I find that the physical commitment helps me to keep organised as I know I can’t just lie in bed and send it to my tutor via email. 

Tuesday

I start the morning before tutorials preparing questions which my tutor (Prof. Dyson) diligently provides as well as a mind map to help consolidate my readings. From what I gather, this is something unique to Corpus tutorials but is very helpful especially when dealing with conceptionally difficult topics like causation. This was a challenging but rewarding tutorial given that I had come into it with a jumble of cases where the courts has been willing to find that there was a link between the duty owed by the defendant and the damage which was suffered by the claimant. Tutorials are really good way of identifying underlying legal principles which can be applied to specific fact patterns in problem questions which is easier than trying to remember every case on your reading list. What I drew out of the tutorial was that where there are multiple causes of a particular harm which pass the ‘but for’ test (i.e. but for the defendant’s actions would the claimant have suffered the harm), the common law process extends or truncates (cuts off) the scope of liability based on principles established in previous case law. For example, in problem questions you often get quite outlandish facts and in the problem question for this week an incompetent doctor had amputated the wrong leg of the claimant after his other leg had been injured by two previous people. The issue was whether the two previous defendants could be liable for the further injury caused to the claimant by the doctor’s negligence (the failure to take the proper care required of you). A case called Hogan v Bentinck West Hartley Collieries (Owners) Ltd (1949) held that the amputation of the claimant’s thumb amounted to a break in the chain of causation (in the fancy Latin this called a novus actus interveniens). Applying this to the facts of the problem question, by analogy with Hogan, the doctor’s negligent amputation constitutes a break in the chain of causation, absolving the previous two defendants of liability for the harm caused past this point. This is important in the real world because tort law seeks to not only compensate victims but to make the point that people should not be expected to ‘put up’ with certain actions by others and so establishing where this line is drawn allows us to lead more regular and ordered lives. 

After the tutorial I was starving so decided to grab lunch with my tutorial partners in Corpus’ lovely hall. The food in hall is always good and it is a great way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while because, corpus being a smaller college, it is inevitable that you will bump into someone you know.

Wednesday

I have a more relaxing day today given that the start of the week had been pretty intense, so I arranged to meet with a friend for ‘coffee’ (my taste buds are not that matured yet, so I just had a peach iced tea) in one of Oxford’s many lovely cafes. It is important to set aside time for friends because things can get quite stressful here and having an outlet for that stress is better than letting it build up. I took her around Corpus’ amazing grounds (the only college with a sun dial by the way), and we spent some time together on the room terrace at college which was lovely in this glorious summer weather. As I mentioned earlier, I have additional free time available to me this term especially since lectures finished last week, so I have exploring unique career opportunities provided through our excellent career’s department. This is really helpful for me because I think I’d like to be a barrister and finding work experience for this is quite hard, so I spent some time applying for mini-pupillages which were being offered. These are essentially 2–5-day placements at barristers’ chambers (where barristers work) where you get to shadow a barrister get firsthand experience of what the job entails. This is quite a daunting process because it feels as if I am taking a big step into the grown-up world which I am so not ready for, but the process is made a lot easier by all the support the University provides such as being able to meet with barristers at alumni events and finding out what they really look out for in applications. 

Thursday

The end of the week begins to mirror the start of the week but this time the readings were for contract law which is the type of law which regulates when an agreement between two or more parties creates certain legal obligations which must be performed in a certain way. I continued my readings for this week in Corpus’ beautiful 16th century library before heading off to the Student Union for some training on the new role I’ll be taking on. In my role as Social Sciences Divisional Representative, I’ll have to flag problems affecting the student body on a university wide level and so I had to learn the best way of going about this as well as meeting my wonderful team. There are so many ways to get involved in improving the student life here at oxford that there is truly something for everyone.

Following this meeting, I walked back to college through Oxford’s bustling streets and noticed another great thing about Oxford. Everywhere you turn there is a piece of history be it the Radcliffe Camera (the large circular library frequently pictured here) or the Ashmolean Museum, if I am ever feeling down, I know I can go on a walk and stumble across a beautiful building or pub which is probably older than the United States of America. By being amongst such rich architecture and history, I am reminded by how lucky I am to study here, and all my other problems suddenly don’t seem as pressing. When I got back to college in the afternoon I had online Spanish classes because I study law course II which is an option here at Oxford that allows you to study abroad in your 3rd year in various European countries. I will go to a university called Pompeu Fabra and can’t wait to be in Barcelona ‘studying’ by the beach!

Friday

Today, I woke up bright and early to do some final edits to my contract law essay before handing it in (via email this time) to my tutor. For the last two terms we have had tutorials in Corpus which I think is really useful when you are just getting to grips with the first 3 modules (Constitutional, Roman and Criminal law) but this term we have contract tutorial in Brasenose which is fun because this is where the film ‘Saltburn’ was filmed. In this tutorial we focused on the doctrine of ‘Frustration’. This is important to contract law because it sets out when a contract can be set aside when unforeseen circumstances render contractual obligations impossible, or radically change the party's principal purpose for entering into the contract. As it is a Friday, I think I have earned a well deserved break and so after taking part in the ‘democratic process’ at the Oxford Union (a large debating society who are having elections today), I think I will go to the pub with some friends and enjoy an evening in the sun, if you are so inclined, I would particularly recommend ‘The Bear’ which is Oxford’s oldest pub established in 1242 and right next to college. 

Second year, I look forward to what you have to offer!

Former Law Diaries  

Law Diary 2017-2018

If you would like to see the diary entries from the academic year 2017-2018, you can find them here.

Law Diary 2019-2020

If you would like to see the diary entries from the academic year 2019-2020, you can find them here.