Rive Gauche: Garrow’s Law – More ‘Cod Law’ – A bit of Contract Law? – and more.. including some nonsense…

Professor JR Spencer QC University of Cambridge, has pointed out that the latest episode of Garrow’s Law was a travesty.

“The first instalment of the new series of Garrow’s Law (The weekend’s TV, G2, 14 November) showed William Garrow, habitual advocate for the underdog, defending the madman Hadfield, accused of high treason for shooting at King George III. It was a travesty. The heroic defender who secured Hadfield’s acquittal was not Garrow, but Thomas Erskine. Garrow was indeed involved: but as junior counsel for the crown. So his role was precisely the opposite of the one the BBC assigned to him.”

The Prof is, of course, correct – but I am not over bothered.  It is only telly after all.

RollonFriday.com continues to be the scourge of the law schools with their latest revelations about the College of Law…

Exclusive: College of Law agrees compromise over student fees dispute

The College of Law has shown an unlikely chink in its armour by offering a compromise to settle a claim against a student for non-payment of its fees.

Recently the College’s solicitors, Nelsons, have been claiming the full amount of fees from students who accepted a place on their courses but then withdrew before the course started. But there is at least a glimmer of hope for students who would prefer not to fund Ferraris for the College board without ever having received a single lecture in return.

One student has told RollOnFriday that when he cancelled his place after the CoL’s deadline, Nelsons pursued him endlessly for £4,080 in fees. Eventually he gave in and sent them £2,000, saying that that was all he could afford. And while Nelsons wrote back to say that this wasn’t acceptable, it did indicate the College would be prepared to take £3,080.

Read more…

Interestingly.. as one commenter on the RollonFriday site pointed out – one assumes that the College of Law is suing for loss in Contract Law for the students who withdrew -  which raises questions of mitigation (Did they fill the place withdrawn from?) and damages for loss sustained et al.   [From memory - law schools are validated to run courses for a specific number of places.  I assume that the College of Law is subject to a maximum on each validated course]

I taught Contract law for 30 years.  In fact I have a free textbook online with lectures on the subject.  I seem to recall there are five general principles which I quote from my book:

8.2 Damages for Breach of Contract – General principles

The general principles applicable to damages claims can be summarised as follows:

1. Breaches of contract are actionable per se

2. The object of damages is to compensate

3. There is a requirement to mitigate loss

4. Damages can be recovered only for loss sustained

5. The loss must be caused by the breach.

I would have thought that the College – even in these dark days – would have had no difficulty filling the  ‘withdrawn from ‘ place on the course. Puzzling.  I may have to revise my own knowledge of penalty clauses, terms and conditions, object of damages and quantum.   I have downloaded The College of Law terms and conditions for some light bedtime reading.

It being Friday – and Rive Gauche day – here is something not only from ‘left field’ but orf the farkin planet.  The film shows a group of ‘freemen’ (and assorted tin foil hat wearers ?) arresting a ‘treasonous judge’ and seizing a court.  This is world class nonsense – the claimant standing on the table asserting some fantastic cod law, citing Magna Carta and claiming that HM The Queen will back him up.  Remarkable and well worth a watch to see how little some people know about our  law. The comments on the YouTube film are ‘revealing’.

Just to take you unawares – I am slipping in a bit of sensible law.  Neil Rose at Legal Futures is always worth reading if you want to keep up with what is going on in the world of practice and alternative business structures et alThis latest piece is worth a look.

Is it time to split the Law Society and the SRA?

I particularly enjoyed this tweet from Neil Rose…

And still in the realm of the serious…  but interesting… this from the United Kingdom Supreme Court blog caught my eye as I took some Gin and Mango juice on Thursday night: It is a truth universally acknowledged …

… that white men in possession of large fortunes are overly represented on the bench. Yet, while it is easy to label the judiciary as “too white, too male, too posh”, constructive solutions to the situation have proved difficult to implement. The 2010 report on judicial diversity recognised that “there is no quick fix to moving towards a more diverse judiciary … Sustained progress on judicial diversity requires a fundamental shift in approach from a focus on selection processes towards a judicial career that addresses diversity at every stage.” It is hoped that the current inquiry being carried out by the Lords Constitution Committee into the appointments process contributes a step towards this shift in approach.

Read more…

One of the “great unspoken problems” about human rights law

Rosalind English, 1 Crown Office Row, writes: “... is at the core of Jonathan Sumption QC’s  FA Mann Lecture.  His central point is not human rights as such, but our misconception of Parliament and the perceived need for judicial constraints on the action of the state.”

Given that Jonathan Sumption QC is about to take his seat in the Supreme Court after finishing the The Battle of The Oligarchs case – the post is worth a read.

And this from Editor of Legal Week, Alex Novarese is excellent: If judges don’t want to get involved in politics, maybe they should stop giving speeches

I enjoy popping over to Alex Aldridge’s latest blog Legal Cheek.  We share a taste for winding lawyers up – and, on occasion,  each other.  This latest post from a young woman seeking a training contract is interesting: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

The hidden burden of the general counsel role

Paul Gilbert, writing in the Lawyer blogs section, states: In another life I once held positions as general counsel in two major companies and so watching the News International phone hacking story play out in the press and on television I cannot help having a thought for Tom Crone and wondering what he must be going through now and what it was like for him when he was at N.I.”  Read more…

Well.. mustn’t overdo the law for Rive Gauche… so.. on to other matters of interest…first:  the Human Condition…

A selection from the tabloids: Drunk zoo visitor ends up in hospital after climbing into monkey enclosure ‘to playPilot causes mid-air terror scare by locking himself in toilet and then sending passenger ‘with Middle Eastern accent’ to cockpit for help| PC Anthony Wallyn is Britain’s tallest police officer at 7ft 2in

And… on that note... Salut to you for Friday… orf for a bit of BBC Question Time and read the ranters view of it on twitter..


5 thoughts on “Rive Gauche: Garrow’s Law – More ‘Cod Law’ – A bit of Contract Law? – and more.. including some nonsense…

  1. Part payment of a debt ??? Would they accept a hawk or a robe or payment in York?

    Time was the judges were prohibited from making speeches etc. under the old Kilmuir rules. I am glad that they speak out nowadays but they must be prepared to take some flack if they do. Generally speaking, I think they actually do take the flack quite well and it is a healthy thing.

    As for the “freemen” – is it not time that we stopped treating their court antics as something of a joke. This kind of behaviour should be taken much more seriously.

  2. The question of mitigation of damages/’filling the place’ at the CoL surely only applies if there is actually a limit to the number of places available (and that the limit has been reached); if there is not then every person who pulls out is indeed lost revenue.

    Experience would suggest that this is not the case. I and many other students have applied for, obtained and accepted a place at the centre of our choice at or after the start of term. The impression I received was very much that if you had the money then there was a place for you.

    I also seem to recall – although the details escape me – seeing statistics on the number of LPC places available that suggested that the College had massive surplus capacity. I can’t find a source for that precisely but a quick Google suggests that there are, across the sector, twice as many LPC places available as there are students enrolled.

  3. Pingback: Why would BNP activists be at a “freemen on the land” stunt? | Head of Legal

  4. Simplywondered: why is it a penalty clause?
    Unless you think that the LPC is full then the loss to the College of someone pulling out is fees – marginal cost of teaching that person. Given that the marginal cost of teaching one student in a large classroom must be fairly low then they are losing something approaching the fees that they charge. Doesn’t sound like a penalty, but rather a pre-estimate of damage.

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