Techniques for Law Student

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#1 19 September, 2016 - 12:36
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Techniques for Law Student


Hello guys,

this is my first post, so first things first: warm 'hello' to everyone. I've been following threads on this forum, for a while and before I'll ask question, I just wanted to say that I have read most of the existing posts concering mnemonics and law on this forum.

I'm a 3rd year law student at one of the universities in UK and up until now I have been managing quite ok with memorising the material. However, now grades started to really, really matter, so I also have to improve my memory.

Now, through the summer, I have been reading about mnemonics (Moonwalking with Einstein, Ad herenium, The art of memory, The book of memory and whatever academic paper I could find on the internet) and learning basics of it too. So as things stand, I have developed Major system for numbers between 0-99, which is working pretty well as for a beginner (just to give you an idea what level am I on, I can memorise 100 digits in about 5-6 minutes), I also developed very basic PAO system for standard deck of cards (with this I haven't had that much practice as with numbers, but deck of cards, probably goes in about 6-7 minutes). I think my association and imagination techniques are decent. But now, the uni started back on, I started to struggle with adaptation of the techniques to the material.

First thing, is memorisng cases: I understand that names of the cases might be memorsied through associating party names with some famous/made-up characters, then putting them in memory palace (ideally in the area where similar cases are placed too). Facts of the cases can be recalled as written in Ad Herenium, by simply imagining facts of cases. I get that. But now... What is expected from me is not to know the party names, year and facts of the case, but most importantely what's the outcome of the case and what comes out from the judgement (usually judgement of the case is about 15-20 page long, there are more important and less important passages, but that still a lot). I'm not at the level in which such amount of information can be converted into one image. That's my first problem, any ideas about how to deal with that?

Second thing is that law is not only memorising cases and statutes, but also legal theory, which is, bascially philosophy. Very abstract ideas, for me, very hard to convert into an image. Any tips about that?

Basically, my question comes down to this: which techniques would be the best ones to learn for person in my situation? Memorising words? Journey method? How could I use tools I already have (Major and PAO) to combine them with Loci, or Journey method to transfer all information into one image?

I do not want to memorise textbook, because I believe that studying law is not purely about memorsing, but about shaping a judgement. However, if I could learn cases, legal rules and tests quicker, I'd have more time for such. I also have about 30 minutes to 1 hr every day to practice mnemonics. That's the way I've been doing it for past month and a half.

Thanks very much for any kind of help!

30 September, 2016 - 18:37
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Joined: 2 years 8 months ago

Can you provide a few specific examples? Then we could brainstorm different ways to approach the memorization.

Also, check these discussions for information on memorizing law-related topics.

1 October, 2016 - 09:48
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Joined: 1 year 3 months ago

Thanks very much for your response!

So, for example, from a law of Evidence, and burden of proof in Criminal Cases, special defences:

Lennie v HMA
I don't need to know the facts of the case, but i need to know that responsibility to prove the case is on the Prosecution. But responsibility to prove alibi is on defence.

I'll give couple of examples from the same kind of cases:

Owens v HMA
self -defence burden of proof lays on defence.

Lambie v HMA
If self defence is proven, the Prosecution case must fall.

Carraher v HMA
If the prosecution established that accused commit particular crime, it's not for them to go any further and show that the accused was fully responsible for what he did. It's for the defence to make good their defence of partial responsbility.

The case list for this course has 250 different cases, when most of them are against HMA (Her Majesty Advocate), but not all of them. Added to it, you have rules comming from the statute, for example:

275 Exceptions to restrictions under section 274.

(1)The court may, on application made to it, admit such evidence or allow such questioning as is referred to in subsection (1) of section 274 of this Act if satisfied that—

(a)the evidence or questioning will relate only to a specific occurrence or occurrences of sexual or other behaviour or to specific facts demonstrating—

(i)the complainer’s character; or

(ii)any condition or predisposition to which the complainer is or has been subject;

(b)that occurrence or those occurrences of behaviour or facts are relevant to establishing whether the accused is guilty of the offence with which he is charged; and

(c)the probative value of the evidence sought to be admitted or elicited is significant and is likely to outweigh any risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice arising from its being admitted or elicited.

(2)In subsection (1) above—

(a)the reference to an occurrence or occurrences of sexual behaviour includes a reference to undergoing or being made subject to any experience of a sexual nature;

(b)“the proper administration of justice” includes—

(i)appropriate protection of a complainer’s dignity and privacy; and

(ii)ensuring that the facts and circumstances of which a jury is made aware are, in cases of offences to which section 288C of this Act applies, relevant to an issue which is to be put before the jury and commensurate to the importance of that issue to the jury’s verdict,

and, in that subsection and in sub-paragraph (i) of paragraph (b) above, “complainer” has the same meaning as in section 274 of this Act.

Now with cases rarely actual wording matter, as it's about the general prinicple. However, with statute the exact wording is essential to remember.

I hope that's enough! Thank you very much for your answer.

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