- Reading time: 3 minutes
- Price: Free download
- Published: 23rd February 2021
- Price: Free download
- File format: Text
Law may be viewed as a social construct: it is socially defined and therefore subject to change. Yet our views on what the law should represent can differ as moral judgments are neither absolute nor universal. Jurisprudence intrigues me: Hart’s ‘The Concept of Law’ prompted me to consider how far the law should go in upholding ethics and to question the power the law wields in shaping our own moral compass. Reflecting on the legal implications of contemporary issues has allowed me to recognise the difficulty the law faces in taking a moral standpoint in a pluralistic society. The dynamic and thought-provoking nature of law is where the subject’s appeal lies for me and I am keen to learn how it has been shaped by economic, social and political factors to reflect society’s shifting attitudes and modern challenges.
My enthusiasm for legal reasoning was sparked when I entered the Peter Cane Prize and analysed the subtleties of S.6 HRA 1998. Researching the Act enabled me to appreciate that legal decisions may not be solely justified by rational argument, but on occasions determined by a more subjective and individualised understanding, for example the controversial interpretation of ‘public authority’ during the Leonard Cheshire case. My interest in human rights was further strengthened when I was selected by my school to work as an ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust. Visiting Auschwitz and speaking to survivors cemented my belief in the importance of promoting a fair, unprejudiced and tolerant society.
Keen to experience law in action, I shadowed a solicitor and witnessed a corporate culpable homicide case. I found the case particularly interesting as, unusually, the accused was an individual in a non-managerial position being charged under corporate law. Observing the workings of the court was fascinating and I found myself instinctively scrutinising the nuances of opposing arguments. Driven by this interest, I evaluated the Scottish three verdict legal system as my modern studies higher assignment and argued that the ‘not proven’ verdict should be abolished due to the difficulties the court faces in reaching a fair judgment when a second acquittal verdict is available. I also constructed a written legal argument to a bank seeking compensation for actions which I believe contravened the Data Protection Act. Acquiescing to my argument, the bank conceded wrongdoing and made appropriate reparations, giving me confidence in my abilities to form a cogent argument.
My role as elected president of a large student-run debating society has developed my communication, presentation and organisational capabilities. Moreover, coaching pupils to consider different arguments and speak strategically has developed my creative problem solving skills. I led a team that came second in the UK-wide John Stuart Mill Cup and I reached the quarter final of the Donald Dewar Debating Tournament, demonstrating my ability to construct a well-reasoned argument and present a motion in a persuasive manner. I find language fascinating: notably its capacity to be manipulated to communicate subtleties and construe different interpretations which portray implication, supposition and conjecture. I also play violin and piano to grade 8 level and perform in bands and orchestras, demonstrating time management skills and an ability to balance my interests with a full academic schedule.
Independent learning appeals to me and I feel that I would be well suited to university life: I self-studied national 5 French and I am now teaching myself Latin. I find academic conversations stimulating and I particularly enjoy debating moral and philosophical issues in my social science classes. Reading law will inspire, challenge and foster my love of social thought and coherent argument and I hope to thrive in its academic rigour.