Constitutional & Administrative was today, the first of the six “serious” GDL exams (Con & Ad, Contract, Tort, Equity & Trusts, Criminal, Land. We also have a Case Analysis and Statute Analysis, which aren’t particularly serious) Revising for it was slightly less of a
Russian roulette game than the other subjects: we know there’ll be one essay on a Constitutional topic, one Human Rights essay-or-problem-question, and one Judicial Review. As with most subjects, we studied three topics, our choices being guided by a) careful statistical analysis of past papers, b) our tutor dropping heavy hints as to what would come up and c) further to b), some of our comrades got him drunk and asked him nicely what to revise. So we were fairly sure Parliamentary Sovereignty, Article 8 and Illegality were safe bets, and if not, well, we were fucked. I hadn’t realised quite what a weight of worry had built up until I opened the paper and found that the right questions were there.
Parl Sov went alright. As law goes, it’s nicely waffly and theoretical, always assessed by essay, with a set of obvious points to include (Dicey’s precious, specious theory of PARLIAMENTARY SOVEREIGNTY, and the principal challenges to it: the EU/Factortame, Human Rights, Jackson) but sufficient leeway for my inner Arts student to pontificate and bullshit and bring in other arguments where available (ie: as a purely legal theory which doesn’t take into account practical or political factors it’s inherently irrelevant to the real world.) It went alright, I think.
I was somewhat worried about the Judicial Review problem question. In most problem questions you have a sort of sequential process, lots of principles which you apply one after another, and while you need to remember a case for every authority, it is possible to miss authorities as long as you remember the principles. Whereas for Judicial Review there are like fourteen different parallel principles which you have to apply to the facts at the same stage – so some minister acting out of turn can be done for ultra vires, and mistake of evidence, and relevant/irrelevant factors, and all sorts of other stuff, in a hundred little mini-sequences like legal whack-a-mole, and you never think you’ve got all of the buggers. (One of our authorities is a case from 1925 which says that public authorities have a duty to pay their employees as little as they can get away with.) But I remembered the prelims, I hit the obvious bases, I think I had the correct authorities – it was more right than wrong.
Article 8 – the most conventional problem-questiony answer of the three – was not my finest moment. I’m sure it was passworthy – the pass mark for Con & Ad seems to be “come in, write your name and a couple of random cases, 40%” – but I wouldn’t like to say beyond that.
I have no idea, overall, if that paper was commendation-worthy or just a pass. In this, it mirrors my entire GDL experience so far. But I guess I win either way: a mere pass on the GDL (and I am going to pass) is a qualification with significant academic street cred, a commendation is just that but better. (A distinction? hahahaha piss off.)
Contract on Wednesday. Onwards and downwards.