No rest for the wicked

I’ve quietened down on the blogging (both writing my own posts and checking out other people’s posts) because I’ve been preparing my lecture notes for this semester. I’m teaching a new and different subject (Equity), so my brain cogs have been straining and creaking a bit, but at least it is one of my equal three favourite law subjects.

My other favourite subjects are Property and Restitution. As I’ve said before, I’m a sick puppy in this regard. I tell my students that these subjects are three equally delicious slices of a fantastic legal pie. They tell me I’m nuts (which may or may not be true – decide for yourself). My friend once threatened to throw me out of her car if I mentioned the word “resulting trust” again – her brother (who was also in the car) made the mistake of asking me what it was…

Anyway, just thought I’d take a break from preparation to note the strange and interesting fact that I seem to get a few hits every day from people who put “getting out of jury duty” into Google. I once wrote a small post on the subject of crazy excuses people use for getting out a jury duty, and I am guessing this is what attracts the hits. I guess there are a lot of people around the world who want to get out of jury duty? I wouldn’t recommend using any of the ones linked to my post: “My budgie is sick and needs looking after” just isn’t that convincing.

I think I am a nosy parker. I would actually like to be on a jury, but unfortunately they don’t allow lawyers on juries. The group dynamics of a jury would fascinate me as much as the case itself. I would also love to know what laypeople thought of Court proceedings. My knowledge of the law taints my own impressions – things that probably seem quite nonsensical to a normal person seem quite logical to a lawyer.

I only ever saw a Court proceeding once as a layperson (not a lawyer or law student). It was a Magistrates’ Court session in the UK; we were on a school excursion. Afterwards, a Magistrate gave us various case examples and asked us to guess the outcomes were. In every single case, our class came to the opposite conclusion to the actual decision. We would have locked up the lady who seduced the boy scouts and we would have found no negligence in the case of a young driver whose drunken passenger stuck his head out of the window and died as a result. I came out thinking that the law was terribly unjust and that I would never ever be a lawyer. Famous last thoughts.

I had forgotten about that trip to the Magistrates’ Court until I began to write this post. It’s salutary to remember how strange the law can seem to other non-lawyers. And that sometimes, the legal constructs we put up to guide decisions are against the instinctive reactions of ordinary people.


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Filed under courts, criminal law, society

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