June 26, 2006

MUSU in Liquidiaton v Darren Ray

Posted in criminal law, funny law, judgments and transcripts, university at 7:01 am by thelawthoughts

Every now and then a case comes along that makes one really laugh. Remember Darren Ray? For those of you who have been at uni for a few years, he was the guy who got elected to the Student Union by giving us all $8 vouchers to spend at the UBar in return for voting.

Anyway, he was supposedly one of the driving forces behind the spectacular collapse of the Melbourne Uni Student Union (the other guy was called Scott something, and tried to get elected to a City Council recently. Brimbank maybe?).

Darren Ray and Benjamin Cass, amongst others, were sued by the liquidator for breaches of fiduciary duty and conspiracy. This proceeding related to an injunction sought by the liquidator to prevent Cass publishing material on his blog, in contempt of court.

The injunction wasn't granted, so Cass can still publish whatever he likes about the liquidator's conduct in the proceedings. I'm going to be straight with you, I'm not going to read the whole judgment.

You can, if you like, because from the overview that I took, it seems an interesting case in the evolution in this country of liability for work published in blogs.

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June 15, 2006

Corps Law Revision

Posted in corporations law, university at 2:01 pm by thelawthoughts

I'm currently working up my notes for Corps Law on Monday. Yes, I know I am late. However, I am helped by the fact that note making is much easier since the Adler case.

Rodney Adler's behaviour provides authority for the behaviour required to breach just about every director's duty there is. When in doubt, stick in Adler as your authority. He is sure to have breached the duty you are examining.

Hope they are treating you nicely in jail, Rodney. 

June 10, 2006

Melbourne Uni Grad Degrees

Posted in university at 7:02 am by thelawthoughts

Much has been said about the coming changes at Melbourne Uni, where law, med and architecture are going to be offered only as post grad degrees. I think the discussion going on at Kalimna is fairly representative (and here for earlier post) and I agree with one commenter than nursing and teaching should be added to that list. Teachers who haven't studied something like literature, politics, history or higher mathematics are much less valuable than those who have done a full degree and a DipEd, in my humble opinion.

My starting point, as a current law undergraduate, is that every law and medicine student I know currently undertakes a double degree. Every single one. Medicine students must do a research year at Melbourne, which gives them a BMedSci. I did Commerce. Most of my friends do Arts. Holding all things equal, all that changes in the restructure is that students do their secondary degree first, and their primary degree second.

All this means is that people who don't know what they want to do can do an Arts or Commerce degree, thereby reestablishing those degrees as the classic first-choice liberal arts degrees. If they then want to be lawyers, they can go on at the postgrad level. People who want to be lawyers off the bat will do exactly the same thing. Nothing is lost, except reducing the number of law graduates, which in the current climate (being a grad this year and having been through the job application process) is not such a bad thing.

Under the changes, law students would only need to spend an extra year or so at university. People have been banging on about extra debt, but I think that is a bit of a furphy, on one proviso.

If Melbourne Uni were truly aiming at higher academic achievement, they would offer roughly the same proportion of HECS places as they currently do in the undergrad structure. This would mean no extra debt and in fact a reduction of debt, because students who undertake the law degree but do not practice are currently forced to pay back that degree. Students who get to the end of an undergrad degree and decide to be, say, a publisher, will not waste that extra three years.

My main argument with Harry Clarke's piece is his assertion that 'some bright students who know initially what they want to do will switch to dedicated undergraduate programs at other universities.' In my experience, plenty of people, including myself, know they want to be lawyers or doctors out of high school. Given we all do doubles, I cannot think of a single person I know who would have gone to a different institution because they could do law straight up, without having to do an Arts degree first. 

In the end, people often need to learn how to study, and giving these students the time to do this through an Arts or Commerce degree before tackling law can only lead to an increase in the quality of student work in the later law degree. Once students have the skills, they can tackle law in a much more meaningful way and Melbourne law graduates will be more sought after than they are now.