Why did you write The Case Law Compendium?
I wrote the book for a number of reasons, but if pushed for a single motivation it would be to enable law students to navigate and hopefully excel at law studying for their degrees. I could expand upon this, but that’s the shortest answer I can give you. In fact, the idea traces back to ‘The Black Letter’, which I created to keep myself busy while waiting to start my Master of Laws Course this year. Essentially I set out to read and write about a number of cases I had learned about, but not fully appreciated while at university, expecting nothing more from the experience other than to stimulate my mind, and put my thoughts out there for those who might stumble across this website.
However, something quite unexpected happened.
What was this unexpected event?
In the months following the launch of The Black Letter (Black Letter Publishing), my visitor statistics proved much higher than anticipated, and while I’m not talking hundreds of people per day, it was certainly better than I had imagined, however, it was the diversity of visitors that really surprised me. After calculating the numbers, I realised that people from over 104 countries had been to my website, not just once, but a number of times, and in fact this trend has continued since then.
This indicated that not only was my writing appealing, it was reaching students all over of the globe, and this international outreach really excited me. It was then that my wife explained how a book would the perfect way to genuinely help law students, especially given that I couldn’t be there in person to help them understand the complexities of case law.
So which kind of student was it designed to help?
Quite literally all law students everywhere. And while I realise that each country has its own laws and jurisdictions, there is clear evidence that English Law leads the way in this field, therefore the potential to assist overseas students is enormous. Make no mistake, The Case Law Compendium is much more than a book, it’s a study support tool that is unlike any law book I have ever read, and I say this with confidence, because had I found anything remotely similar to this whilst at university, I would have purchased it without hesitation.
What make this book so special?
A number of things make The Case Law Compendium special, but to summarise it best, I would say that the book immediately closes the gap between the subject of law, the university and the student. And because law is built upon cases, law undergraduates essentially have to truly understand the subject matter in order to fully appreciate why cases are applied, relied upon, examined and used as precedent, and why the judges consult them when advancing laws or reaching decisions that the layman might not agree with or understand, primarily because he stands outside this fascinating and compelling arena.
Institutionally speaking, most universities work to tightly scheduled timetables, and thus lectures are often overwhelming and confusing to freshers, largely because there just isn’t the time to explore case facets and themes, however, by having a copy of The Case Law Compendium at the start of their course, every student can instantly refer to the cases discussed and thereby recognise the essence of the matter, the positions adopted by the courts, judges and relevant parties, without losing their place in the topic or surrendering hours of laboured reading in order to keep up with the strict course requirements.
Though perhaps the most invaluable aspect of this book is that it can be purchased and read literally months ahead of the required modules while preparing the students for the lectures, coursework and discussions ahead. Likewise, by reading the two additional modules (family and medical law in this particular publication) students can enable themselves to choose their selective modules with confidence. It’s also important to note that many family law cases will encroach on child law cases, which will again help when it comes to deciding which optional module to take. After all, there is nothing worse than selecting a legal field, only to discover that it’s not quite what you had expected.
From personal experience, property (land) and European law were the two most complex, challenging and often unnerving of the modules, even to the point that teaching the subject proved hard and painful to endure, as again, the cases are frequently layered and overlapping, and therefore easy to misunderstand. Yet by reading around the cases using The Case Law Compendium, the challenges are instantly reduced and reader knowledge is increased in a way that underpins the university curriculum.
Having spent many hours writing this invaluable book, I cannot emphasise enough just how critical The Case Law Compendium is to all law students, especially those studying abroad, and it’s vital to remember that I have stripped away all the superfluous material, keeping only that which will impact and explain exactly what happened and why. This is an asset not to be overlooked, as the English court transcripts are frequently, if not always, unforgiving to traverse, and equally command absolute focus should the translation be correct.
So it makes the seemingly impossible, possible?
In a nutshell, yes. No matter how many ways you approach it, The Case Law Compendium defies traditional learning, because it marries the exactness of legal knowledge with the vulnerability of an uninformed reader, thereby producing something fresh and stimulating, a benefit unseen before in this context and specialised field.
In fact, this book would take anybody remotely interested in law, and transform them into somebody able to now see inside the subject in a way that transcends convention, and yet enables them to respect and embrace the process of law in a totally different way.
By way of example, I recently practiced this approach with a Spanish acquaintance, unfamiliar with law, and yet after explaining a case that was connected to her country, she completely understood it, much to her surprise and my delight! In fact I have had quick success with everyone that I’ve tried this with, even explaining constitutional and European law to grandmothers in their seventies!
Because of this, I am supremely confident that once opened and digested, the readers will revel in their new found insight, while law students will keep the book firmly nestled inside their backpacks as their degrees unfold.
Who else can benefit from The Case Law Compendium?
Law lecturers, solicitors, postgraduates, professors, in fact anybody with a passing interest in law and the cases that help shape it.
Lecturers can refer to it to brush up on legislation and case discussions, they can even use it to copy key citations for presentations, in order to help explain the matters without taking up precious student time.
Solicitors can use it to remind themselves of key cases that might be useful when in court, and take advantage of the best citations when reaching out to the wisdom of the judges.
Postgraduates can use it to refer to cases that might be relevant for thesis or assignment arguments, or again, as a quick refresher of that which they would have already learned.
Professors, much like lecturers, can always rely upon the expeditious breakdown of case material and thematic content to help illustrate how laws have been influenced and outcomes altered, or even as a stimulating read on occasions where they feel compelled to remember how laws function.
Lay readers can simply delve into all the major topics without committing to a degree course, hopefully going on to study the subject in greater detail with increased confidence, or knowing it’s not the subject for them, while whatever the outcome, everybody wins.
Will it ever be sold in eBook format?
Having looked at the practicalities of this, I am sorry to say this is not an option right now. Those reasons stem from the fact that unlike fiction ‘novels’, the layout of the book requires the reader to note the citation references when reading and referring to it, which is not an option for Kindle devices and other associated electronic readers, besides, there is nothing like having a printed book beside you when working, as I can qualify, having proof read the book myself, and also having used it to quickly refer to court details etc. during the writing of this debut publication!
The Key Citations? What can you tell us about this aspect of the book?
One of the prerequisites of written legal text is that the student must include judgment citations relevant to the argument or theme discussed. This is a process that can require hours of laboured reading in order to find the most powerful statement relating to the case in hand. For those new to law, this is a huge challenge in itself, and so ultimately the only way to find these quotes, is from reading the case transcripts, documents that can run from ten to literally hundreds of pages, particularly in appeal cases, where there will be a number of judges commenting, as opposed to one in preliminary hearings.
In European law, there are also the opinions of both the Advocate-Generals and the Courts, again requiring valuable time in order to find the best, most relevant and impactive quotes possible.
By having personally analysed all 150+ cases during the preparation of the book, I have selected only the most relevant quotes before including them at the conclusion of the case studies.
In some instances, there are only one or two, while in others there are many more, a factor solely dependant on the judges themselves, who, when reading the material and organising their verdicts, offer knowledge that is purposeful to the matter.
This aspect of the book is quite simply essential, not only because the citations are there to both read and use, but because they have been fully OSCOLA referenced, thereby easily inserted into coursework without the need to find out the exact page number, judge name, court, and hearing date. This is yet another time-saving feature that everybody can benefit from, including undergraduates through to professors of law, while in the former example, academic grades are naturally reliant upon accurate referencing when impressing the markers.
So that’s three unique selling points rolled into one!
Yes it is, but the book goes far beyond that, it inspires the reader, opens the subject up and allows for everybody to discuss what it really means to go to court, or to apply law in our everyday world, even giving insight into how matters end up in front of judges, how institutions operate, governments function, criminals try to avoid punishment and small accidents become huge lawsuits.
What would you like to say as a closing statement?
I would close by saying to anybody remotely curious about the various laws of both England and Europe, and especially those about to begin their law degrees, that ‘The Case Law Compendium’ is quite simply the only purchase they will need to make outside of the core text books required by the universities, and while it will certainly provide buyers many hours of stimulating and enlightening reading, it will also serve as a tool that can be used again and again as their legal knowledge increases.
This alone makes The Case Law Compendium the best law study resource available anywhere in the world today, which is perfect, as it is live on most Amazon sites and ready for shipping to any country.
The book is also being actively marketed to literally thousands of leading bricks-and-mortar retailers, university libraries and online bookshops around the globe, so even if you don’t want to shop online, you can simply walk in and pick a copy up, borrow it from your campus library, or just order it through a book store.