How to use lawmentor.co.uk?
Lawmentor is a major resource for law students. Not only does it cater for A/S and A2 law students but also
supports law students at different levels.
The site is modern and up to date and user friendly design is intended to make the subject more accessible. The site has been designed with ease of use in mind and lends itself to use by Sixth Form and College students as well as students undertaking self study
This FAQ contains valuable insight into the way other people use the site and may offer a solution to your problem before contacting us.
- Can I adapt any of the essays to suit my requirements?
- How can I use the Glossary?
- Can I purchase a textbook after reviewing the book on Lawmentor?
- Can I make use of the contents of any of the blogs?
- In what ways can I make use of ideas generated from a blog?
- How can I be sure that the essay or other material will get me the grade I want?
- Can I adapt the essays and make them my own?
- How can the reviews about books help me? What should I be looking for?
- In what ways can I use the hyperlinks?
- Will I lose marks if my spelling is not up to scratch?
- When to study ?
- What are 'boolean search operators'?
Yes. You are encouraged to use any downloadable essay as a starting point. You can choose to discuss the work with your tutor and you may agree on how you might want to personalise the work and make it your own. You may wish to demonstrate your own knowledge and understanding by emphasising or developing particular points or adding new ones.
You are able to use the Glossary in many different ways. For example, you could use the Glossary to check your understanding of a word or phrase as and when you are reading material on the site. Alternatively you may go straight to the Glossary and the word or term you wish to look up.
You are assisted in this process by the use of tagged words which appear both in the article you are reading and on the right hand side of the page. If a tagged word is used then this may be something you wish to check out whilst you are on the page to confirm your understanding.
The descriptions used in the Glossary are intended to be both informative and readable without being too technical in nature. This is likely to lead to a better understanding and hopefully encourage you to build upon your knowledge and enable you find the confidence to use the word or term, with authority, in your own work.
There may be some occasions when the extract from the Glossary itself could be used in it's own right or added to or put together with other terms relevant to a topic to be used as a future revision note for yourself.
Yes. If you are interested in purchasing a textbook after reviewing it on Lawmentor, you simply click on the details near the top of the page on left hand side. This includes an image of the book, the title, author and publisher, number of pages and the date published as well as the best price.
The link will take you to a linked page with Amazon Books. Once there you can review the details of the product again and to purchase the book you simply follow the 'add to basket' and 'proceed to checkout instructions'.
However, remember to be guided by any recommended reading lists you may have been issued with, and do not forget to consult your tutor if you have one, as they may well have a view about the best book/s to suit you and your course.
Yes. You are free to use the content of the blogs for your own academic purposes. If you intend to use any quotation or statement in whole or in part then do not forget to make the source clear in your work. The blogs are there to be read and to inform and generate interest. The articles or the sites to which they are linked may provoke interest and a desire to find out more on your part in which case they will have served their purpose.
Be sure though to credit the sources in a responsible and accurate way.
The blogs are deliberately written about a range of legal matters which are of general national importance. In addition all the blogs are written about subjects which are relevant to specific topics and study areas, such as sentencing, law reform, murder, the use of tariffs etc. By reviewing articles from time to time you will be able to pick up on any matters of concern which relate to the topic you may be studying at the time. Additional blogs are made each month.
This will provide you with the opportunity of demonstrating your awareness of recent developments and concerns in your work. Such an approach shows that you are serious about your subject and your learning.
You may be studying a particular topic and you may need to get some ideas about an aspect or issue. This is where the blogs come into their own in that they are topical and are intended to give an insight into matters which may be of public concern or debate. You may identify issues or questions arising from the articles which may encourage you to carry out further reading and research. The blogs are related to a range of links in which further information can be found.
The blogs are a mixture of fact and opinion and should encourage you to feel that you can comment and speak about current issues in an informed way without getting too bogged down or becoming overwhelmed with too much information. You are in control of how much material you use.
You may be asked to carry out background reading around a topic for later discussion with your tutor or others within your student group. Using the blogs may enable you to come up with material which is useful information in itself but also capable of generating a lively and meaningful discussion or debate.
This has been taken into account when preparing the material and resources. The material has been made available with the appropriate course in mind i.e. A/S or A2 etc. However you do not just have to take our word for it. A great many of you will have a tutor and it is always important to discuss the level of your work with your tutor so that you have some idea whether you are on the right track. This is especially so, when you are new to a subject.
The material has also been provided with a range of abilities in mind. You are invited to adapt the work to suit your particular needs and the expectations of yourself and others. It has been good practice for some time to discuss work in draft form with your tutor before it is submitted and this would be appropriate.
Your tutor would be able to explain to you what was expected of you in terms of an anticipated grade and from a practical point of view what this actually means e.g. the length of work, number of points raised, the depth or detail required etc. This feedback should help you work towards the level and grade you are happy with and, if you need to improve, what you need to do to achieve this.
Yes. You may have some idea of what is expected of you from instructions given to you by your tutor or from feedback given to you from previous work. This will help decide how you can personalise the work to suit your needs.
It may be that the related links inspire you to do some extra research and this will ensure that the work acquires an input from you in your style. You should also feel free to change and substitute words and phrases with words which you might normally use and which reflects your understanding and familiarity with the work. This will personalise and customise your work helping to make it unique to you.
There may be specific parts which you may want to highlight or emphasise and again you should feel free to do this.
It should also be borne in mind that the material which you choose and select is there as a starting point and is not intended to distract you from what should be part of a learning experience. The resources are there as part of this experience. The resources are there to help you but they should not be and cannot be a complete substitute for your own work.
The reviews can help you in a number of ways.
The review will often say something about who is likely to benefit from the book in terms of the type of studies they are undertaking as well as it's style and the content. The review may mention updates, changes and additions especially covering changes in the law.
Here is a review as an example for Criminal Law by Elliott & Quinn:
The review by Student Law Journal tells us that it provides a broad picture or 'overview' it does not just cover specific areas.
If you picked up the book you would probably look at the blurb on the Back Cover, in this case it suggests the book is a good introductory book or place to start. It would be appropriate for A Level studies as well as other exams. A book targeted at too high a level is likely to be unhelpful for what you want it for. If in any doubt ask your tutor.
The review goes on to tell you that law reform issues on each chapter are included as well as questions and answer guidelines and summaries intended for revision.
You can quickly tell what changes have recently been made to the edition as the review mentions important changes -the Serious Crime Act 2007 has been added for example.
Finally, you are given some brief information about the authors. And remember if you have been given a reading list for your course be guided by your tutor - they are likely to be familiar with the titles of any books that are likely to be suitable for you and the course you are about to undertake.
Elliott and Quinn’s Criminal Law 7th edition is an established, reliable and popular textbook, covering English criminal law comprehensively, but concisely.
Elliott and Quinn: for the best start in lawThe best selling Elliott and Quinn series of law textbooks give you a great start in your legal studies. Each book:
Explains the law clearly so you have a good basis for further study.
Relates the law to the wider world so you understand its relevance.
Guides you on how to answer questions so that you can succeed in exams.
Elliott and Quinn’s Criminal Law 7th edition is an established, reliable and popular textbook, covering English criminal law comprehensively, but concisely. This lively, clear and accurate guide to the law will help you to understand the subject quickly.
· Assessments of law reform are included in every chapter so that you understand the context of law-making, essential for successful study.
· Useful further reading and internet references will help guide your research in the subject, and achieve a deeper understanding.
· Over fifty question and answer guidelines in the book and on the website will help you to hone your exam performance.
· Short summaries in each chapter will help you to remember the key concepts for revision purposes.
The book has been updated throughout with new and relevant case law and legislation. Recent important changes to the law have been fully analysed, including:
- The Serious Crime Act 2007
- The Fraud Act 2006 creating a new general fraud offence.
- The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
- The Law Commission’s proposals to change the law on homicide.
- The case of R v D (2006) looking at homicide liability for a suicide induced by domestic abuse.
About the authors:
Catherine Elliott is a qualified Barrister and Senior Lecturer in Law at City University. She has extensive experience of teaching law and research interests in manslaughter and the defence of consent.
Frances Quinn is an award-winning journalist, with a particular interest and experience in law.'
The hyper-links are there to help you as you explore the blogs and essays. You will find that they relate to the article or page you are looking at and enable you to carry out further reading around a subject without having to log out of Lawmentor and search for and log into another site. Lawmentor has done a lot of the work for you so that you can concentrate on getting on with your reading and browsing related or linked items.
This may in turn provide you with sufficient additional information to enable you to add to or place more emphasis upon certain issues depending on what you have been asked to read and write about by your tutor.
Any tagged items operate in the same way and are intended to relate to the topic you are reading about on the page before you. If any term or word is new to you it is possible to look up the meaning of the word before carrying on with your reading.
In some places the hyper-link will provide you with the opportunity of going to Bailii in order that you can find out more about relevant cases on the topic you are reading about. This saves you time in that you are able to do this directly without first having to log out and onto another site. Once you are on Bailii you follow the instructions on that site depending upon the type of search you are making.
To assist you further, in some places, Lawmentor enables you to go straight to a cited case saving you the trouble of having to search for the case yourself e.g. AirdaleNHS Trust v Bland (1993), when you are reading about murder.
The hyper-links will also help you to keep your work up to date and topical.
In addition there is a link to Europa - The Official Website Of The European Union for those of you who may be studying European Law as part of your studies. Amongst other things it provides up-to-date coverage of European Union affairs and essential information on European integration. Users can also consult all legislation currently in force or under discussion, access the websites of each of the EU institutions and find out about the policies administered by the European Union under the powers devolved to it by the Treaties.
Your tutor will also be able to guide you over this issue. Most examining boards award or allow marks for grammar and spelling. The examiner has to mark to a criteria but it simply is not worth annoying the examiner by not appearing to bother or care about spelling. Try and keep the examiner on your side by showing that you have tried and you do care.
Attempt to avoid the obvious mistakes - misspelling words that come with the territory, namely, legal words or terms which you can be sure will crop up in the exam. This is a law examination after all. There is probably nothing worse than misspelling common legal words or getting phrases wrong. Examiners are only human and it might raise thoughts about what you might have been studying for the duration of your course.
Examples might include such obvious words as 'ratio decidendi', 'obiter dicta', 'stare decisis', 'manslaughter', 'homicide' and not 'homocide', 'hierarchy', etc.....
The question paper may use important terms and words in the question itself or you may be given a quotation or extract as a source. If so you may be able to look back at the exam paper questions and check your spelling.
Having enrolled on a course at a sixth form or an FE College. You will have a timetable and contact time with your tutor.
In addition to attending your course, you will need to set aside times when you will study. It is advisable that you earmark times which are convenient and achievable. These sessions of studying should also be at regular times during the week.
It is best to think about regular study throughout the course. Reading around a topic just prior to, during or after a topic is considered to be most effective. Do not leave it too late as you will never get round to reading about a topic and it ceases to be enjoyable.
If you undertake reading and research as you progress through relevant topics you can always make a note of any difficulties you may have and raise these with your tutor. You are also likely to be able to absorb the information more easily if you have recently read about a subject before discussing the same subject in class.
If you and your fellow students read up on the topics you are covering with your tutor, you can benefit from chats and discussions with those students who you know will have done some reading. Your fellow students are a resource just as much as your tutor.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary plagiarism is 'the wrongful appropriation or purloining and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas… of another'.
There is no shortage of views about what amounts to plagiarism and you only need to search the internet to find many helpful answers. For example Dictionary.com say it may be defined as 'the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work'.
There will be occasions when you may need to borrow or refer to the work of someone else. There is nothing wrong with this provided you acknowledge the source. Indeed the ability to carry out research is encouraged as part of academia and students and academics are often expected to support their work by referring to the ideas of others. Plagiarism is different. Plagiarism is wrong and care must be taken to ensure that you do not plagiarise someone else's work intentionally or otherwise. Always give credit for the work or ideas of others.
There is software available to help you protect yourself against this problem. The problem is well known and if you require additional information then you can invariably seek guidance or advice from your tutor.
You may come across the term 'Boolean search' and wonder what that's all about. There are some helpful hints about how to use these words or terms as part of your search. Here is a start. With Boolean searches or operators, in addition to simply using your chosen words you add or combine words or phrases by using the key words AND, OR, NOT and NEAR. The effect of using these additional words (known as Boolean operators) is to limit, widen or otherwise better define your search.
If you look up any information about these Boolean search operators and what they do, you will learn that most search engines directory sites use these Boolean search principles in any event. Depending upon your particular skills as an internet user you may find it helpful to be aware of the effect of these Boolean search parameters.
- The Boolean search operator AND is equal to the "+" symbol. The effect of using AND may narrow your search and make it a more specific search by combining terms; the search will retrieve documents that use both the search terms you have used, as in the example:Avon AND Somerset.
- The Boolean search operator OR is the default setting of any search engine. The use of OR will broaden the search and all search engines will return all the words you type in, for example Avon OR Somerset.
- The Boolean search operator NOT is equal to the "-" symbol. The use of NOT will also narrow a search by excluding certain search terms, as in the example Avon NOT Somerset.
- The Boolean search operator NEAR is equal to putting a search query in quotes, i.e., "Sweet Fanny Adams". You're essentially telling the search engine that you want to include all of these words, and in this specific order.
This is just a start, there are a number of helpful sites on the web.
It is not a good idea to make a separate list of cases and then put them at the end of or in a different part of your answer or essay rather than at the point to which they refer.
Always be guided by your tutor but it is a question of balance. Too few cases and you may lose marks. To try and include too many cases may be unrealistic as you may not remember them properly or you may not be able to include something about the point of law for which they are important or something about the facts of the case.
It might be better to use the important cases or ones which support your style or approach. For example, if you enjoy introducing counter arguments, then you may wish to support these with the views of dissenting judges or from cases where a different approach was taken.
For instance in the first extract there is only a limited reference to the facts. The issue of locality as a factor in private nuisance is not properly addressed.
'In Sturges v Bridgman (1879) the court decided that a private nuisance existed and this has been followed in other cases. The basis of the claim was that noise from the defendant's property interfered with the claimant's use of his land.'
Whereas in the following example the facts of the cases help illustrate what amounts to a private nuisance. In addition there is also a reference to the issue of locality and the opportunity is taken to mention the well known words from the case which students of tort law may well remember.
'In many ways it is often easier to explain what amounts to a private nuisance by giving an example of what has been held to amount to an indirect interference. In Sturges v Bridgman (1879) noise was held to be sufficient nuisance. The facts of the case were that a doctor moved next door to a confectioner. The confectioner had produced sweets, for sale, in his kitchen for many years. The doctor used his own property for private practice. However, the loud noises from the confectioner's industrial equipment could be clearly heard and this disrupted his use and enjoyment of his land. The locality of the area may be a material consideration and what may be acceptable in one area may not be in another. This point was made clear in Sturges v Bridgman by the now famous words 'What would be a nuisance in Belgravia Square would not necessarily be so in Bermondsey.......'
This is a common concern. In the event that, on the day of the examination, you cannot remember the name of the case you should not be deterred from including a mention of the case in your answer. Most, if not all, examining bodies use the process of positive marking so you should not lose marks simply by forgetting the name of the parties to the case providing you show, by what you do write, that you knew the case but simply forgot the name on that day.
It is as well to have a ready solution which you feel comfortable using. You can also ask your tutor for advice as this will probably be a familiar question put to them by students.
A possibility instead of risking using the wrong name might be to write 'In a leading case.......', ' In a famous case......', or 'In a well known case......'. This will lead you to briefly mentioning the facts of the case and then the point of law involved.
At times it may be useful if you were able to make the point that you understand the importance of the ruling in the case in question by using words to emphasise its importance.
The same sort of point can be made to the reader by mentioning the name of the Court i.e. Supreme Court, House of Lords as it once was or the Court of Appeal as this shows your awareness of the importance of the Court's standing in terms of the court hierarchy and the matter of judicial precedent. A hiearchy is important if the concept of judicial precedent is to work. Equally important is that there is a reliable and recognised system of law reporting in order that precedents can be cited as appropriate.
You are probably nearly there. You need to devise a study plan which takes into account your sources of information, what times to set aside for private study and how much you want to get done in the time you have.
In addition to attending lessons at your sixth form or college and taking notes, you will need to set aside some time for reading and making sense of what you are studying. You need to understand the law if you are to fully enjoy the subject.
You will need to think about how much time to set aside - from the start of your course. Your tutor can provide valuable guidance and advice but it may be that you do not need to think of spending hours and hours. Little and often is much better than hoping to get all of your reading done in one go. The chances are that if you leave it to the last minute you will not enjoy it.
Think of study periods of about 30 to 40 minutes at a time - any more will probably be ineffective. You will be reading in order to understand the topic, so tell yourself you have done well and you have done what you intended to cover. After your break you may feel able to study for another period but keep it in mind what you need to cover.
Areas for reading and study may be lecture notes, materials from a textbook, cases or statutes, the views of leading academics or areas recommended by your tutor. Learn from your early experiences at studying and adjust your plan or time that you set aside according to your needs. Remember if you have any particular problems or difficulties make a note of them and discuss them with your tutor. You will find some areas of the law easier to understand than others.
Start as you mean to go on.
Early on in your studies you will want to think about what resources you are going to need in order to do well in your chosen subject. This may be in your sixth form or college for reading or research and access to information generally, and lecture notes and course textbooks. Your tutor will probably emphasise the advantages of using a range of resources to ensure that you have sufficient information and detail at your fingertips when you familiarise yourself with a topic and attempt written essays and the like.
Be honest with yourself and make a note of the sources of information that you will use and manage during the length of your studies. Your plans need to be realistic.
You will quickly find the benefits of using the internet to find case reports and references to current legislation. There are also a whole host of government websites and many others with invaluable sources of information.
If you are using Lawmentor you can use these links without having to leave Lawmentor (see FAQ In what ways can I use the hyperlinks? above).
You may be able to access the internet at your sixth form or college and you may also be able to access the internet at home. It is often the case that e-learning is available at your place of study, enabling you to send work to your sixth form or college for your tutor to check and provide invaluable feedback. Plan your studies and your reading and research accordingly and think about what works best for you.
Soon after starting your course your tutor will probably say something about the need to keep notes. You should always be prepared to listen to their advice as they will have valuable experience of how to go about keeping notes.
At the very least you need to be organised in the management of your notes and other materials such as handouts and articles etc. Law is a subject which can produce notes and materials and these are probably best managed on a topic basis. You will need a folder or file of sufficient size to enable you to keep your notes and materials separate according to the heading of the topic you are studying e.g. English Legal System - Judiciary, The Legal Profession, Lay People in the Legal System, Provision of Legal Services and so on. Do this as soon as you can. It is important that you do not put off this process. You will need a standard set of A4 tabbed dividers and a folder.
This will enable you to stay in control of your notes - don't let the notes and materials control you. As you finish each lesson instead of 'filing' any note or handout in your rucksack never to see the light of day again, file them away in each section of your folder. Have your folder with you when you go to lessons - you may need them for reference or if you want to ask a question about something you are unsure of. Have your folder in front of you in class unless your tutor tells you otherwise.
Being organised in this way will pay dividends later in the course when you are preparing to answer a past paper question or revision nearer the exams. You will not have to waste time searching through your whole room to find that piece of paper you know you have seen somewhere if only you could find it! You will have all your notes and papers in one place for you to read through and refresh your memory.
It is generally accepted that making and keeping notes is part of the learning process. Your tutor will probably have something to say about the benefits to you of effective note-taking, but here are some of the main points.
If you make your own notes as part of your lectures it helps to emphasise what is important about the point or topic you are studying. Very often these additional points come from class discussions and may not be found in a textbook as such - they are part of your understanding and reflect your work. Having worked hard to understand the significance of a point or issue, how else are you expecting to remember these points or issues when you come to revision?
The amount of notes you keep will be a matter for each individual but even underlining or highlighting key points has a value.
You will do better if you are able to help your understanding and preparation with effective note taking. Try and make sure your notes (however brief) are clear and make sense to you and are likely to do so several months later when you come to look at them again. Use headings, as this will help when you are looking for a topic when it comes to revision.
Let's face it, are you realistically likely to be able to remember huge chunks of text from a textbook? Even if you were, could you write it out in the time allowed and would it answer the question? I very much doubt it. When making notes, as you read through a text book, you should aim to summarise the key points as you understand them to be. Use your own words as much as possible - as you will find that this helps during revision when you refresh your memory before an examination. It is more difficult to revise from other peoples' work or words because you may have to spend time trying to understand the notes instead of skimming through.
Many tutors encourage an approach whereby you create the necessary notes around a topic or question area to provide you with the right level of information and detail for the grade of answer you want.
Law is a subject which does require written communication skills but so do many others. Just remind yourself of the reasons why law, as a subject, is important to you and what you might want to do in the future.
Many students commencing a legal course, especially if they are studying law for the first time, feel anxious about whether their writing skills or study skills will be good enough. There are some things you can consider doing.
You may have the opportunity of talking about this at the interview stage when your sixth form or college is inviting applications from prospective candidates such as yourself. During the interview you will probably be told about what the entry requirements are e.g. GCSEs and the grades, English and Maths. This is probably the time when you could raise your concerns. The teacher interviewing you is likely to be one of a legal team and, as such, is likely to be familiar not only with the course you are interested in but also how the course is delivered and what is expected of you in terms of written work.
Take the opportunity to ask, do not wait until after you have started the course. If you are required to hand in written work to your tutor at some stage in the course, make sure you fully understand the question asked, and if not, mention this to your tutor so that they can clarify any issues you may have. Once you are clear about what you have to do, make sure you have your notes and any other materials which you require for your answer and then make a plan of the matters you intend to include in your answer.
Your tutor may give your class guidance about how to set out a written piece of work - take on board any such advice. When your marked work is returned to you, make sure you read through any feedback from your tutor and think about areas where you have done well and areas for improvement. Don't expect to be able to perfect your approach in one go.
There may be support systems in place in the sixth form or college that are able to provide specific advice or support with your writing skills. Your tutor is probably the best person to help you.
You may be returning to study, in which case most tutors take this into account and realise that, as a returner, you may need help or support concerning your study skills.
As we are talking about skills remember these can be developed and improved - and you will have a good reason for investing time and practice to bring them up to the level you and your tutor are happy with, namely, your wish to study law.
You have a blank piece of paper! You need a plan or strategy to help you get started and to overcome concerns about where to start and what to write. Here is a practical suggestion. Have the question that you are answering in front of you. This determines the topic and what you need to do.
You need to make sure you can recall to your mind sufficient information and detail to answer the question. Set out below is a list of useful headings with related points under each heading. The list suggests a sequence or order, which in turn probably lends itself to the flow or order of your essay. The notes contain some detail but will benefit from you putting your stamp on it, so you may want to add more detail. This will enable you to take ownership of the note.
Some students find lists helpful whereas other students are more creative and find diagrams more useful when it comes to remembering a number of related points. Try turning the list into such a diagram adding cases or examples as they occur to you.
A typical question might be:-
Question: Discuss the recruitment and selection of Judges and the work they do.
1.Recruitment & Selection
- background 'old boy network'
- Courts & Legal Services Act 1990
- 'advocacy requirement'
- Judicial Appoint' Comm'
- Public School - Oxford/Cam
4. As law makers
- Parliament's role - elected MPs, democratic processes
- Judges are unelected, undemocratic
- judges cannot consult (Green Paper, White Paper)
- Senior judges/ Courts but Court of Appeal limited
- even Supreme court acknowledge law involves social as well as legal matters (C a minor - age of criminal liability)
- Practice Stat' - independence
- Cases: Anderton v Ryan overruling R v Shivpuri
5. Differences in approach?
- Lord Denning v Lord Scarman
- progressive v traditional
- literal approach v purposive or integrated approach? Examples?
- views of well known figures
e.g. Baroness Helen Kennedy QC, Cherie Booth QC, present Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge etc
- issue of widening 'pool' from which candidates can be chosen?
- issue of gender, ethnicity