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 while attending university. I could expand upon this, but that’s the shortest answer I can give you.
In fact, the idea traces back to my website ‘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 across a range of fields, primarily those that I had learned about but not fully appreciated at the time. Not expecting much 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?
Over the coming weeks and months after starting the site, my visitor statistics were higher than anticipated, and while I’m not talking hundreds of people per day, it was certainly better than I had imagined, but it was the diversity of visitors that really surprised me. After sitting down to calculate the numbers, I realised that people from over 104 countries had been to my website, not 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 from all corners of the globe, and it was this international outreach that really excited me. It was then that my wife explained how a book would the perfect way to genuinely help those students, especially given that I couldn’t be there in person to help them understand the complexities of 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 students in overseas is enormous. Make no mistake, The Case Law Compendium is much more than a book, it’s a study support tool that is unlike anything I have ever seen, simply because had I found anything remotely similar whilst at university, I would have purchased it immediately!
Why? 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 law, the university and the student. And because law is built upon cases, the students 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, 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 cases facets and themes. Yet by having in advance, a copy of The Case Law Compendium, every student, no matter how capable, can instantly refer to the cases discussed, observe the essence of the matter, the position taken by the courts, judges and parties present, 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 awesome part of this book is that it can be purchased and read months ahead of the modules, thereby preparing the students for the lectures, coursework, discussions, in fact just about everything relating to that field, which is an advantage that’s been unavailable until now. Likewise, by reading the two additional modules (family and medical law in this publication) students can get a taste of what’s involved, allowing themselves to choose wisely ahead of time. 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’s nothing worse than electing an optional module, only to learn its not what you quite 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 (this was quite common and merely serves to undermine the potential for learning). Again, by reading around the cases well ahead of the curve, the challenges are instantly reduced and reader knowledge is increased in a way that underpins the university curriculum.
I cannot emphasise enough just how critical this book is to all law students, especially those studying abroad, and it’s vital to remember that I have stripped away all the material superfluous to the reader, keeping only that which will impact and explain exactly what happened and why. This asset is not to be taken lightly, as any experienced student will attest, as the court transcripts are frequently, if not always, unforgiving, and so command absolute focus if the translation is to 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, producing something fresh and stimulating to read, 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.
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 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 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 law functions.
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 and with increased confidence, or knowing its not for them, 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. The reasons for this 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 the 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 my work, something that put a huge smile on my face when I realised how invaluable ‘The Case Law Compendium’ really is!
The Key Citations? What can you tell us about this aspect of the book?
One of the requirements of written legal text, is that the student must include within their work, judgment citations relevant to the argument or theme discussed. This is a process that can take hours of reading, in order to find the most powerful statement relating to the case in hand; and for those new to law, it is a huge challenge in itself. The only way to find these quotes, is from reading at length, the case transcripts, which can run from ten to literally hundreds of pages, particularly in appeal cases, where there will be a number of judges as opposed to one. 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 best and most valued quotes, before including them at the conclusion of the case studies. In some cases, there are only one or two, and in others there are many more, this is 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 invaluable, not only because the citations are right 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 page number, judge name, court, and hearing date etc. This is yet another time-saving feature that everybody can benefit from: including undergraduates through to professors of law.
Wow, so that’s three USP’s (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 to our everyday world, even giving insight into how matters end up in front of judges, how institutions operate, how governments function, how criminals try to avoid punishment, how small accidents become huge lawsuits, the list is endless.
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 far and wide, 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 unequivocally makes it 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 by quoting the ISBN No: 978-1-5272-1320-3