Combinations of A level subjects “blacklisted” by LSE

Saturday 31 May 2008 at 9:18 pm | In News | 9 Comments

Several top universities – Russell Group members – “blacklist” certain subjects that they do not consider preferable for students to have studied as undergraduates. Obtaining a combination of “blacklisted” subject may hamper admission to the London School of Economics (LSE).

Cambridge University’s website does not include Law on such a list, but does state: “For many courses, prior knowledge of certain subjects is required… Some courses (e.g. Law, Oriental Studies, and Philosophy) do not require you to have studied the subject before.”

However, this year, LSE considers Law a “non-preferred” subject. But, this only applies if it is part of a combination of subjects from their “non-preferred” list. So, you are less likely to be offered a place if your three A levels are Law, Business Studies and French, because Law and Business Studies are on the list. But a combination of Law, Maths and French would be OK, because it only includes one “non-preferred” subject.

Just one subject at A level in the LSE “Non-preferred list”, may not be a problem, and they are certainly less fussy about what subjects you did at AS.

The following are in their “Non-preferred list of subjects”.

  • Accounting
  • Art and Design
  • Business Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Dance/Theatre Studies
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama/Theatre Studies
  • Home Economics
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Law
  • Media Studies
  • Music Technology
  • Sports Studies
  • Travel and Tourism

It appears they will not count at all General Studies or Critical Thinking at A level towards your total score.

LSE go on to say that they are looking for other qualities beyond A level subjects and grades, such as ability and motivation.

The LSE website “Non-preferred list” is here.

Wi-fi for the courts

Saturday 31 May 2008 at 8:59 pm | In News | Post Comment

Most Crown Courts in England and Wales now have wi-fi computer connections. Lawyers will now be able to look up legal references on their laptops. Jurors, victims and witnesses, will have access to work, business and leisure pursuits in-between court hearings. Even reporters will be able to file copy. What’s more, the courts service has paid for the wireless equipment to be installed in 67 courts. Courts will receive a percentage of the revenue from BT Openzone.

Real chilli hot stuff – judge

Friday 23 May 2008 at 7:31 am | In News | Post Comment

In September 2006 Judge Khan came to the public attention because of the “real chilli hot stuff” case, involving sex videos, blackmail and a illegal Brazilian cleaner.

Well, this matter has been brought to a close when the Lord Chancellor and LCJ issued a statement saying the matter would not be investigated further. Judge Khan has a serious illness and is unlikely to return to work and Judge J had retired on medical grounds. Newspaper report here.

Judicial diversity … not working

Monday 19 May 2008 at 8:12 pm | In News | Post Comment
An article in today’s Guardian suggests that the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) has failed to reverse the record of diversity in the Judiciary.
In 2006 when JAC started work 14% of judicial posts went to black and Asian applicants, and 41% to women.
Since JAC it has fallen to 8% and 34% respectively.
Guardian report here.

Criminal Justice Bill received Royal Assent on 8th May, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 finally is law

Saturday 17 May 2008 at 6:17 pm | In News | Post Comment

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 will (amongst other things):

  • introduce a new criminal of offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation
  • clarify the law on self defence, articulating the state’s responsibility to stand by those acting in good faith when using force in self defence
  • introduce a minimum tariff of two years for prisoners serving indeterminate public protection sentences
  • end automatic discounts for offenders given an indeterminate sentence after the initial sentencing decision has been judged unduly lenient
  • give powers for courts to make dangerous offenders given a discretionary life sentence serve a higher proportion of their tariff before being eligible for parole
  • create a presumption that trials in magistrates’ courts will proceed in the event the accused fails to appear
  • Introduce a new offence of possession of extreme pornographic images
  • provide for non-dangerous offenders who breach the terms of their licence to be recalled to prison for a fixed 28 day period
  • create a Youth Rehabilitation Order – a generic community sentence for children and young offenders, this will target the causes of offending behaviour and will simplify the current sentencing framework
  • create the Youth Conditional Caution for young offenders
  • bring compensation for those wrongly convicted broadly into line with compensation for victims of crime

Some of the sections of the Act commence on Royal Assent, some two months later, some by Commencement Order.
Many changes to the syllabus will have to be made.
Almost as if the draftsman wanted to confuse students, section 9 amends section 142 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and states the purposes of sentencing offenders under 18 the word deterrent is not used, but implied in ‘prevention offending’.

Legal aid suffers major set back in drugs case

Tuesday 6 May 2008 at 10:56 pm | In News | Post Comment

The Times reports that a convicted drugs offender has escaped a confiscation order for up to £4.5 million of his assets because legal aid barristers would not take on the case for the fixed fee of £175.25 a day.

Read the article here

Again, the Court of Appeal asks for reform of law of murder

Sunday 4 May 2008 at 5:12 pm | In News | Post Comment

R v Diamond [2008] CA
[Reform of murder and associated defences]
This case is of interest because the Court of Appeal quoted Professor Sir John Smith in his commentary on R v Criminal Cases Review Commission ex p Pearson at [1999] Crim LR 731:

“A striking feature of the cases reviewed is that so many of them involve prosecutions for murder where, subsequently, the appellant has sought to adduce fresh evidence to support a defence, not raised at the trial, of provocation or diminished responsibility. The present law invites this problem. An accused is entitled to put the prosecution to proof of the whole of its case but it is not practical for him to raise alternative defences as is–or used to be–possible in civil proceedings: “I did not kill him; but, if I did, it was in self defence, or, if not in self defence, under provocation–or at least diminished responsibility”. Naturally the accused will go for a complete acquittal if he thinks there is any possibility of it which may preclude him from raising other, perhaps more plausible, defences. The courts have almost fallen over backwards in discerning evidence of defences not expressly raised or even disclaimed in order to ensure that justice is done, but there are limits and this will be a continuing problem for the courts and the Commission. There is a solution. The abolition of the mandatory penalty for murder could, and I now believe, should, carry with it the abolition of the defences of provocation and diminished responsibility. The rest of the law of offences against the person has many serious imperfections but the absence of these defences is not one of them. The matters to which they relate can be dealt with perfectly well at the sentencing stage. Unfortunately, as debates on the mandatory penalty in Parliament have demonstrated, this is a subject on which emotion and prejudice, not reason, prevail.”

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