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Tag Archives: Courtroom

General Update / PhD Thesis Submitted

There has been somewhat of a lengthy gap since I last posted anything here, mainly due to the last few months being the busiest I have ever had in some eight years at UWS. Since my last post I have been working in Rwanda, London, Aberdeen, Tilburg, the Hague, and will be travelling back to Rwanda in four weeks time. Lecturing, and in particular marking during the February – June semester was also significantly busier than had been predicted at the start of the year, leaving me little time for additional activities such as writing here.

Then came the summer and although I have taken a significant amount of annual leave, in reality I have only had one (yes one) week off since June, with the rest of annual leave having been taken in order to completely ignore all other work matters and concentrate on nothing else other than completing my PhD thesis (on the subject of contempt of court in facie curiae, courtroom environment, courtroom behaviour, Human Rights law, comparative law, and other linked areas). And so, for three weeks of annual leave taken I was in reality physically in my office with the door locked simply working in private. I am delighted to say that I successfully completed my thesis and submitted it just before the end of August. This should now be in the process of being sent to examiners to consider prior to a viva examination hopefully sometime around November.

Trying to complete a PhD whilst working full time has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do in a working sense, especially so with the exceptionally limited time that one is able to devote to it in reality during any of the teaching semesters. I would never say to anybody not to embark on this same endeavour, however I would make it absolutely clear that it will eat into your personal time significantly, it will require significant dedication and self-motivation, and it will in all likelihood leave you both physically and mentally exhausted at points. BUT – once it is all over, even in advance of any sort of result or feedback, it will feel worth it when you have a final bound thesis, effectively a finished book, in your hands, knowing that it was something that you created (albeit with some assistance) all by yourself.

Of course, whatever the result, good or bad, I will post here with an update in due course once the thesis has been examined and viva taken place.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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HEA – Teaching Development Grant – Update December 7th

This is just a short update on how the HEA project (Legal Education – academic or practical? The use of flexible learning to compare undergraduate students observing professional practice with those learning in a traditional academic setting) I am leading has been going.

Thus far, as suspected, of the participants there have been a few students who have been inconsistent in terms of attendance, but on the other hand at each of the two locations (Paisley and Hamilton) there have been a core group that have attended either all sessions, or indeed missed a maximum of one. The students that have missed sessions have all indicated that they will (or in some cases have) voluntarily attend an additional court session to ensure that the total number of hours spent in court will reach the minimum threshold to ensure fair comparison across all participants.

As of the end of today (Friday 7th December) there will have been ten court visits in total, to a large range of court types including:

– Solemn trial (Trial with judge and jury)
– Summary trial (Trial with judge alone)
– Custody court
– Summary court (where accused has pled guilty)
– High Court of Justiciary (Trial with judge and jury)

At both Paisley and Hamilton there have been cases with witnesses giving oral testimony, and also physical evidence presented. In at least two sessions there have been objections lodged by one of the counsel based on the evidence being presented.

From my own observations, it would be possible to have answered a number of the questions the students have been asked to attempt to answer, whilst there have been other areas that a limited amount of information might have provided an indication, for which a student may be able to find the answer with a little investigation. There are other questions which I would not expect the students to have been able to answer yet unless they have taken the initiative to source answers elsewhere.

There has been some adaptation to the original research plan as initially there were seperate days scheduled for feedback sessions, however due to time constraints this was restructured to instead seek feedback and ask questions directly after each court visit. In many cases there have been questions to clarify what has been observed, or probing questions to lead on from questions raised during the course of the session.

The final court visits will be next week (week beginning 10th December) with a final focus group (to be filmed) thereafter. It is expected that an interim publication will be possible in January following the observation of the focus group and analysis of student responses to set questions. A further update will be made on this site prior to the end of January.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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