Introduction To Law

A basic introduction to studying law

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Martin Luther King Jr

"Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress."

Past Papers & Questions

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Which one of the following statements best describes the ratio decidendi of a case?

  1. A legal principle drawn from the material or significant facts and the reasoning justifying the outcome in the case;
  2. a summary of the submissions of law made by the parties;
  3. an outline of the material or significant facts proven to the satisfaction of the court;
  4. A statement of the judge's opinion on the law which is strictly unnecessary to the decision

2. Which one of the following statements best describes obiter dicta?

  1. A legal principle drawn from the material or significant facts and the reasoning justifying the outcome in the case;
  2. a summary of the submissions of law made by the parties;
  3. an outline of the material or significant facts proven to the satisfaction of the court;
  4. A statement of the judge's opinion on the law which is strictly unnecessary to the decision

3. Which one of the following statements best describes a decision reached per incuriam?

  1. The decision has followed a judgment made by an inferior court;
  2. the judgment is being appealed;
  3. the judgment has failed to consider some vital authority which would have made a difference to the decision;
  4. the judgment contains no ratio decidendi.

4. In English law, it is possible for a magistrate to:

  1. Impose custodial sentences of up to 3 years imprisonment;
  2. sit in the Crown Court;
  3. hear appeals from the Lower Tribunal;
  4. do all of the above.

5. Which one of the following sentences best describes the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty?

  1. Judges may only overrule legislation by declaring it incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights;
  2. Parliament is the supreme source of English law;
  3. law made by Parliament is supreme to all other law;
  4. Acts of Parliament cannot be changed.

6. Which one of the following statements best describes the interpretive method of the mischief rule?

  1. Judges should interpret a statute with regard to the mischief it aims to remedy;
  2. judges should interpret relevant precedent to minimise the mischief done to both parties;
  3. judges should punish the mischief of parties who disobey the law;
  4. judges should avoid doing mischief to the common law.

7. Which one of the following statements best describes an EU Regulation?

  1. EU legislation directed to all member states but requiring each member state to enact its own domestic law;
  2. EU legislation directed to all member states and persons not requiring implementation by domestic law;
  3. EU legislation implemented into English law by the Human Rights Act 1998;
  4. a Treaty of the EU.

8. Which one of the following statements best describes an EU Directive?

  1. EU legislation directed to all member states but requiring each member state to enact its own domestic law;
  2. EU legislation directed to all member states and persons not requiring implementation by domestic law;
  3. a Treaty of the EU;
  4. a judgment of the CJEU.

9. If a High Court Judge sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division is unsure about a point of European law concerning the interpretation of an EU Directive, which of the following statements best describes the step which may be taken?

  1. No step is necessary because the losing party may appeal as of right to the Court of Appeal;
  2. refer the point to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom;
  3. refer the point to the CJEU prior to making any final judgment if this is necessary for the decision, taking into account the need for uniform interpretation across the EU;
  4. refer the point to the CJEU once judgment is made but only if the judgment might be in conflict with other decisions made in other member states.

10. Which one aspect of the rule of law is NOT directly affected by the reduction in civil legal aid resulting from the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012?

  1. Access to justice;
  2. personal liberty;
  3. protection of human rights;
  4. State compliance with international law.

11. Which major reform resulted from the Woolf Report?

  1. Increased legal aid for criminal defendants;
  2. the Civil Procedure Rules;
  3. changes to the appointment process for judges;
  4. the creation of the Supreme Court.

12. Which one of the following is NOT a duty owed by a solicitor?

  1. To treat clients fairly;
  2. to act in the best interests of clients;
  3. to obtain every client’s ideal outcome;
  4. to provide a proper standard of service to clients.

13. Which one of the following best describes the English civil legal system’s approach to ADR?

  1. Courts will have regard to parties’ use of ADR when deciding the merits of their case;
  2. parties must attempt ADR before commencing proceedings, and failure to do so may result in court fee sanctions;
  3. to ensure the adversarial process is upheld, parties should cease considering ADR after proceedings have been started;
  4. parties should consider ADR.

14. Which one of the following statements represents a utilitarian approach to law?

  1. Law should produce the best outcomes for the largest number of people;
  2. law should prioritise the interests of vulnerable minorities;
  3. law should uphold fundamental human rights;
  4. law should promote religious values.

15. Which of the following criteria must NOT be considered by the Judicial Appointments Commission in appointing judges?

  1. Legal experience
  2. professional and personal associations;
  3. character;
  4. gender and ethnicity.

Multiple Choice Questions 2

1. Which of the following Acts governed the 2012 legal aid reforms?

  1. Legal Aid Act 2012;
  2. Legal Aid and Access to Justice Act 2012;
  3. Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012;
  4. Providing Justice through Legal Aid Act 2012.

2. Which statement best describes an appropriate use of the purposive rule of statutory interpretation?

  1. To interpret ambiguous domestic legislation that was made in order to comply with an EU Directive;
  2. To interpret words in EU Regulations which are clear and unambiguous;
  3. To avoid absurdity in the commonlaw;
  4. To avoid the perception of judicial mischief.

3. Complete the sentence: When a conflict of interest arises between two of your clients, obtaining clients’ consent to your continuing to act...

  1. Will always make it ethical for you to continue to represent both clients;
  2. May in some circumstances make it ethical for you to continue represent both clients;
  3. Will make it ethical for you to continue to represent only one of the two clients;
  4. Is irrelevant to whether continuing to act is ethical.

4. Which of the following statements best describes the core role of the Lord Chief Justice?

  1. To represent the views of the judiciary and to ensure that the judiciary receive appropriate training, welfare and guidance;
  2. To discipline judges for poor standards of judicial decision-making;
  3. To ensure the fair and effective allocation between litigants of court time and other resources;
  4. To draft amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules.

5. Which of the following is a formal requirement for becoming a Magistrate?

  1. An oath of allegiance to the Church of England;
  2. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent;
  3. British nationality;
  4. None of the above.

6. The decision in Pepper v Hart enables the court to receive evidence of statements in Hansard in limited circumstances. Which of the following statements best describes those circumstances?

  1. When the legislation is ambiguous or obscure;
  2. When Hansard reveals clear statements about legislation’s intended interpretation made by a minister of state;
  3. Whenever debates on the legislation appear in Hansard;
  4. When Hansard reveals clear statements by a minister of state about the intended interpretation of ambiguous or obscure legislation.

7. Which of the following should NOT be an objective of an advocate making a bail application?

  1. Persuading the court that the defendant you represent is unlikely to commit another offence;
  2. Persuading the court that the defendant will attend future court hearings;
  3. Persuading the court that the defendant’s sentence should be reduced;
  4. Persuading the court that imprisoning the defendant would negatively affect their family.

8. Which of the following is a necessary element of the rule of law?

  1. Judges and defendants shall be equally subject to the law;
  2. All litigants should be funded by the State;
  3. Judicial review is only necessary when there has been a breach of an individual’s human rights;
  4. Statutes must always pass through both Houses of Parliament.

9. Which person or body has responsibility within England and Wales for courts, prisons, probation and constitutional affairs?

  1. HMCTS;
  2. MOJ;
  3. The Supreme Court;
  4. All of the above.

10. Barry wishes to appeal a decision by the Court of Appeal. His case concerns the relationship between an English Statute and a European Union Regulation. Which court would hear his appeal?

  1. The European Court of Justice;
  2. The European Court of Human Rights;
  3. The Court of Appeal (Superior Division);
  4. The Supreme Court.

11. Complete the sentence: The UK is a...

  1. Monist state;
  2. Tripartie state;
  3. Dualist state;
  4. Monestry state.

12. In the context of civil procedure which of the following best supports 'natural justice'?

  1. The court referring the dispute to ADR;
  2. The exchange of statements of case, disclosed documents, and witness statements;
  3. An injunction;
  4. The availability of a legal representative acting on a CFA basis.

13. Which of the following statements best describes Lady Hale?

  1. She is the only woman Supreme Court Justice;
  2. She is one of three current Supreme Court Justices who have never engaged in legal practice;
  3. She is the only Supreme Court Justice who did not obtain a degree from Oxford or Cambridge;
  4. All of the above.

14. The case Annison v Nolan has the citation ‘[2012] EWCA Civ 54’. Which of the following is NOT true about the case?

  1. The case was heard on the 54th Day of 2012;
  2. The case involved an appeal of a previous decision;
  3. The case involved a civil matter;
  4. The case has a neutral citation.

Problem Question

Frederick is the owner and operator of ‘Freddie’s Fishmongers’, and is the occupier of the premises for the purposes of the law. One of the key attractions of the shop is its large crab pool, from which customers are able to select fresh crabs. The pool is 2 metres wide, 2 metres long, and 1 metre deep.

In response to a number of customers dipping their hands in the crab pool, Frederick installs a sign beside the pool reading ‘Watch out – pincers about!’ and advises customers to stand back from the pool.

Frederick also plans to put rubber bands on the claws of the shellfish, but is distracted when the shipment of lobsters he ordered arrives. One lobster is a prize catch named Herbert, which weighs 10kg. Frederick adds all the lobsters to the pool and then closes the shop for the day, locking the door to the premises.

Shappi, aged 15, is dared by her friends at school to take a selfie while in the pool at Freddie’s Fishmongers. At 10.30pm that evening, she prises open an unlocked window at the front of the shop and quietly enters the premises. Upon confirming that she is alone in the shop, and keeping the lights off to ensure she is not caught, Shappi jumps into the pool.

Herbert attacks Shappi and removes four of her toes.

Shappi wishes to sue Frederick for damages.

Advise Shappi

In your answer, you should consider:

  1. The legal status of Shappi and the significance, if any, of this status;
  2. any legal duty owed by Frederick;
  3. whether Frederick has discharged any legal duty;
  4. the likelihood of Shappi succeeding in her claim.

Use the following materials to help you answer the question: