Legal Research and Method (LRM)

Teacher: Nicholas McBride

Reading book: McBride, Letters to a Law student, 3rd ed

Content:

Day 1 (August 9):

今天的主要内容其实是一个非正式的开学,由HKU JD的项目负责人鄭建韓(Thomas Cheng) 简单地介绍一下JD的基本情况,让大家相互熟悉一下。但是McBride也在,他在这个简短的Joint Introduction Session结束之后,便开始一个一个地点名,然后让每一个人做一个简短的一分钟左右的自我介绍。下面呢……,下面便没有了。

Day 2 (August 10)—Seminar 1

今天是正式开始上课,开宗明义第一课便是McBride的LRM。McBride是剑桥的教授,属于Pembroke学院,据他课上说,因为英国都是10月之后才开学,所以他就利用之前空闲的时间来HKU教教我们LRM和之后的Torts。McBride一看就是一个典型的英国佬,浓重的英式口音,慢条斯理的讲话速度,以及中年男人几乎都有的大腹便便的肚子,不过很好的一点是他没有秃顶,这对于英国男人来说,已经是非常好的了。

和其他大学课程一样,这第一堂课差不多就是一些介绍性的知识,比如法律怎样改变这个世界,法律怎样改变律师,法律是是什么样子的之类,不过大家也都很煞有介事地在做笔记,我看了看坐在前面的女生记得详细的笔记,不禁感到非常汗颜。

在快下课的时候,我们便被安排了下一次课要准备的内容,给了我们六个讨论题目,我们需要从正方和反方都准备一下怎么寻找说服对方的理由。

1, ‘If it is not a crime to commit suicide, it should not be a crime to assist someone to commit suicide.’ Discuss.
2. ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.’ Should the law place any limits on what words we can use?
3,”Rich people own nothing to poor people.”Discuss
4. ‘The sole focus of the criminal justice system should be on crime prevention.’ Discuss.
5. ‘The notion of animal rights is pure nonsense.’ Discuss.
6. ‘Democracy creates as many problems as it solves; it is certainly not the panacea that many people assume it is.’ Discuss.

后来我和几位女生组成了一个学习小组,我们各自把各自写的答案上传到google drive上,然后看看大家都是什么样的风格,来决定以后学习小组的合作方式。我用了周六一天的时间把这六个问题每一个都写了一篇Essay,尤其是那个关于民主的问题,更是越写越兴奋,还扯上了波兰立陶宛王国。不过写完之后,才发现我没有按照老师的要求写,我只从一个方面论述的,但是实在累地不能继续写了。周日的时候,看到其他小组成员陆续上传了她们的答案,人家都是从两个立场来说的,看来还是女生细心,女人能在职场上打败男人,还是有其合理性的。

同时,这门课的参考书就是McBride所写的Letters to a Law Student (第三版),虽然课上不会直接讲参考书的内容,不过把要求读的章节读完了之后,还是很有助于帮助了解课上的内容的,反正我是很老实地把这些章节都读了。

Day 3 (August 15)—Seminar 2

今天上课先是讲了将上一节课遗留下来的东西,比如Darksides of Law 之类的,都是一些普及型的知识。然后就花了剩下的时间来分析了一些Essay questions,题目如下:

1. ‘If it is not a crime to commit suicide, it should not be a crime to assist someone to commit suicide.’ Discuss.
2. ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.’ Should the law place any limits on what words we can use?
3. ‘Rich people owe nothing to poor people.’ Discuss.
4. ‘The sole focus of the criminal justice system should be on crime prevention.’ Discuss.
5. ‘The notion of animal rights is pure nonsense.’ Discuss.
6. ‘Democracy creates as many problems as it solves; it is certainly not the panacea that many people assume it is.’ Discuss.

讨论了很长时间,其实主要是讲如何把自己的Argument讲地有逻辑性,其实看看Letters to a Law student就可以,里面就讲的很详细,比如花的时间最多的第一个问题,主要就是讲“只有一个前提,是推不出结论的”,所以需要“Fill the Gap”。这些其实我在本科已经上过一年的逻辑学,再加上以前准备LSAT的时候也训练过,没什么难度。不过课上大家都讨论的挺热烈的。

Day 4 (August 17)—Seminar 3

本节课McBride开始教我们怎么看Case了,主要有两部分,第一部分是怎么利用网上的资源找自己想要看的Case,出了Westalaw之外,还有许多网站可以查Case,比如

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations
BAILII (British and Irish Legal Information Institute) –neutral citation
CommonLII
UK supreme court

其中有一些是Neutral citation,是指那些只在网络上发表,没有纸质版的Case,这些Case没有页码,所以说是“中性的”。

第二部分,就是带我们一起做了几个Case的biref,不过基本都是老师自己在上面brief,我们只能照抄他的答案,要真正学会Case Brief,还是得靠自己以后实打实的在具体的课上来做,不能走捷径的。

Day 5 (August 23)-Seminar 4

这节课继续进行上一节课没有完成的Case Brief,不过和上一节一样,还是老师在上面自嗨,我们只能机械地巴拉巴拉地记了。

之后便一起看了一个简单的Torts小案例,会利用到之前看的那几个案例之中的原则,所以如果之前那几个案例没有好好读的话,听起来会很吃力。最后又讨论了几个抽线的问题,我觉得很无聊。

Day 6 (August 24)-Seminar 5

这是倒数第二节LRM了,但是最后一节得等到9月14号才上,下周二就要接着上Tort Law了。这节课主要讲了讲怎么看Reading List,其实也是为Tort Law作准备,因为就是针对第一节Tort Law的数目来讲的。法学院的数目主要就是三种:一是案例,二是法条,三是其他文章。最重要的当然是案例了,需要仔细地看,还要做Case brief,法条大致了解即可,不需要记忆,考试的时候也是可以看的。其他的文章主要是一些学者对一些法律问题的新看法,有助于加深对相关法律的了解。

此外,还布置了最后一节LRM的作业,就是让2-3人一个小组,针对一个案例做个Case Brief或者Comments,我和另外一个华政毕业的女生分了一个经典的刑法案例R v Collins,这个案例情节很让人无语,估计只有英国这种腐国才会有,另外一个当时我面试的时候问到的案例R v Brown也是一个很让人无语的案例。R v Collins是围绕一个男人到底有没有强奸一个女人的问题的案例,讲一个女的喜欢裸睡,裸睡的时候还他妈把窗户大开,恰好另一个男一直都注意这个女的,当天晚上就爬到她窗口,看到她裸睡得样子,顿时性致勃发,就脱光衣服,蹲在窗台上,如果按照常规的节奏,下一步应该是男的上前把熟睡中的女的强奸,然后男的被捕,判刑。但是这个时候剧情发生了转折,女的忽然醒了,然后也看到了趴在她窗台上的裸体男人,正常的女人这时都应该大叫才对,可这女的竟然以为这人是她男友,还让这男的上床,然后一起发生了性关系,结果这个过程中,她才发现不是她男友,才开始反抗,逃跑。虽然这个男的还是被捕了,并且在初审的时候强奸罪名成立,但是在上诉法庭,法官认为本案事实模糊,缺乏Mens Rea,而且陪审团也没有得到正确的指引,最后推翻原判,那个男的无罪释放。是不是很无语?我的搭档都拒绝上台讲解了,因为里面的很多词汇女生不方便说出来。下面我把我做的Case Brief贴出来。

R v Collins
[1973]-Q.B.-100

Summary of facts:

The complaint was a young lady of 18. She was asleep nakedly in bed which was near the window of her bedroom. She was with her boyfriend and had taken certain amount of drink in that evening. The defendant, a 19-year old young man, climbed up through a ladder and looked into the window and saw the complaint in bed. He then undressed and crouched on the window-sill. The claimant woke up at 3.30 or 4 o’clock, without turning on the light. She saw the defendant in moonlight but could not remember whether defendant was on the outside of the window sill or on that part of the sill which was inside the room. Assuming that the defendant was her boyfriend, the claimant knelt at the bed and beckoned him in and then they had sexual intercourse together. She later realized that the defendant was not her boy friend. After she turned on the light and went into the bathroom, the defendant vanished.

The defendant was arrested, sued and convicted with of burglary with intent to commit rape at Essex Assizes according to section 9 (1) (a) of the Theft Act 1968. He was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment and then appealed against the conviction.

EDMUND DAVIES L.J.

Proving the defendant to be a trespasser in tort law is not equal to proving the defendant committing burglary in criminal law, which required the defendant to have the mens rea, meaning that crown need to establish that the defendant, at the moment entering the bedroom knew that he was not welcome there or, being reckless as to whether he was welcome or not, was nevertheless determined to enter. The crown did not prove the mens rea and in the first instance trial, the jury were never invited to consider whether the defendant did enter the bedroom, knowing well that he had no invitation to enter or reckless of whether or not his entry was with permission.

Therefore, the defendant’s appeal was allowed and his conviction was quashed.

Day 7 (September 14)-Seminar 6

最后一节的LRM要等Nick把他负责的那六节Tort上完之后才上的,主要就是让每个小组的人讲了讲负责的Case,我也稍微讲了讲R v Collins,说实话这个案例很猥琐,只有英国才能出现这种案例。然后这门课就完了。 这么课其实相当于一个Workshop,并不计入成绩,但是还留了一个作业,只有PASS/FAIL,一般来说,所有人都会pass的。

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