Posts Tagged ‘education’

Daily Little Law Links

February 25th, 2010

There is a higher education theme to today’s post.

The Times reports on the case of a lecturer who claimed unfair dismissal from Bournemouth University, which found another marker to review student papers after they had been failed by this lecturer and his colleague. Considered narrowly, the judgement seems to be a good example of an implied trust and confidence term being found, and more broadly raises questions about standards in universities. Law graduates, perhaps more than most subjects, are partially reliant on the perceived teaching quality of their alma maters’ in securing employment, so the doubts raised by this case are unhelpful. At least in theory Qualifying Law Degrees are monitored by the Bar Standard’s Board.

Which neatly leads on to Charon QC’s blog post on the BSB’s inspection of BPP. As this is quite an obscure subject, Charon’s take (as one of the founders of BPP) makes interesting reading. I find myself firmly on the fence with my thoughts. On the one hand, the free-marketeer in me thinks they should be allowed to sell the course to as many as they feel able to teach effectively. The BVC (now BPTC) fees are very high among all the London providers and well beyond the cost of studying a Master’s degree. More places and more providers would increase competition and theoretically lower prices. On the other hand, the next step for these students is a pupillage and there are (I think) roughly five BVC graduates competing for each available pupillage every year. Those four unsuccessful candidates are left with a very expensive postgraduate qualification of limited value for employment away from the Bar. Finally, basic self-interest makes me quite nervous about the idea of them being ultra-careful about the number of offers made this year (though I might reconsider that if it was me forced to sit on the floor during lectures!).

Lastly, yesterday I ranted about the Prime Minister and said that the topic warranted a post to itself. Well, MTPT has done just that, including comment on the guidelines, which were released today. Do have a read…

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Daily Little Law Links

February 24th, 2010

Some stories and brief thoughts, every one of these deserve a longer post!

  • This story from Big Brother Watch (and the report that it links to) is close to my heart – I very nearly did my dissertation on exactly this but was then distracted by libel, so I’m glad to read someone else’s take on who can now enter your property without a warrant. Rather positively from someone who murmurs about repealing the Human Rights Act 1998, Mr Grieve QC MP (Shadow Justice Sec.) seems equally alarmed and ready to close these particular doors.
  • Think about this scenario: Bernard, from Germany gets a rare temporary job in the London office of his bank. Over the year, the job becomes permanent and so he sends for his wife, Steffi and 13 year old daughter, Iris. Iris enrols in the local school and Steffi, supported by her well-paid husband, stays at home and bakes cakes for a few years. Two years after his permanent move, Bernard is dispatched temporarily to the New York office. Steffi and Iris remain in the UK, being uncertain of the duration of the placement and not wanting to disrupt Steffi’s schooling. Bernard then loses his job in New York, but cannot stand to be parted from his new mistress, Anna and moves into her apartment in New York as well as filing for a divorce from Steffi.

Steffi has no qualifications and is still learning English. Her parents in Germany are dead and her only other living relative is a sister living Australia. Iris is about to sit her GCSE Exams.

Should we a) Immediately deport Steffi and Iris back to Germany or b) Pay Steffi Job Seekers Allowance and Housing benefit until she finds a job so that Iris has a roof over her head to finish her education? Fortunately, as a lot of people read the Daily Mail, it doesn’t actually matter what you think, because the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided years ago that the most important thing in my little story is the stability of Iris’s education. Iris cannot live alone, and so the state must support her mother to facilitate her continuing education. This is the idea that has been affirmed in yesterday’s judgement of the ECJ which the BBC report here and the Daily Express splashed the story on their front page as:

WHY BRITAIN IS SPONGERS’ HEAVEN” followed by “MEDDLING EU judges sparked outrage last night after giving scrounging foreigners the green light to sponge thousands of pounds from British taxpayers.

To bring my little story closer to the facts of the case, and the true reason for the ire of the Express, imagine Steffi was originally born somewhere in Africa. The judgement can be found here: London Borough of Harrow v Ibrahim C-310/08

  • We’ve heard a great deal about the PM in the last few days, but for me it is this that I find most offensive: Gordon Brown: don’t legalise assisted suicide.
    The link is to an article about the PM writing in the Telegraph about the dangers of softening the law on assisted suicide, targeted at the Director of the Crown Prosecution Service who is about to release new guidance on the issue. It is not his position that offends me, but his cowardice. As Prime Minister and leader of a party with a large majority in Parliament, he is free to create almost any law he wants. The idea of him as a noble bystander, pleading with the CPS to protect our grandmothers is repulsive. If he felt that strongly about it, legislation could be passed in weeks to make it absolutely unquestionably illegal to assist anyone’s death in any way, by any means. He doesn’t feel that strongly, and he doesn’t want to come out on the wrong side of a lose-lose debate in an election year, despite the CPS and the Supreme Court saying the law needs clarification (that’s judicial speak for “Parliament – do something!”). I don’t care who he’s rude to, or what he throws around his office, but to duck this issue is just shameful. Because of this, the Director of the CPS has to unpick the existing mess and decide who (legally) gets to live or die – I really don’t think the Prime Minister has any right to tell him how to do it.
  • Finally, and surely of no interest to anyone outside legal education, the Bar Standards Board has published its report into how BPP coped with its over-subscribed year in 2009/2010. I think the report reads quite well for BPP, though the students clearly benefited from the BSB’s intervention. Hopefully more reports will go up before this year’s offers go out next week. The page containing the report is here.
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