Secondary Law- The Power of 3

Storytellers have long known it, (Three blind mice, three little pigs,) politicians have often (ab)used it, (Education, education education)  isn’t it time for teachers to embrace the power of 3?

You’ve heard of the Bermuda Triangle, maybe even the Rhubarb Triangle, well let me present to you the tried and tested Legal Triangle. (Ok, ok, ok – I won’t labour the point) 

For many students learning law for the first time it is difficult to get a handle on the stream of information, mainly legal cases, which seems to flow on endlessly until the lecturer stops talking.  This ‘linear dissemination approach’ to knowledge is at best difficult to follow, often highly confusing and sometimes down-right tedious. 

I have introduced my classes to the Legal Triangles below to get them examining the relationships between cases. The theory is by analysing the inter-connections students will attain a more sophisticated knowledge of the legal concepts that inhabit the cases rather than focussing on the facts of the cases themselves. 

Task One

What do these assault cases have in common? (Answers below)
Chan Fook (1994)
Burstow (1997)
Ireland (1997)

Martin (1881)

Haystead (2000)          DPP v K (1990)                                                                        

What do these cases have in common?

Thabo Meli (1954)

Le Brun (1991)                                                      Church (1966)

A variation on the task is set out below.
Task Two: Odd One Ou
Which of these attempt cases is the odd one out?
Geddes (1996)
Tosti (1997)                                                        Shivpuri (1987)
This raises the bar a little. Now students have to discover the variation in the cases.

The answer here is open to wider discussion. Is Geddes (1996) the odd one out because it is a decision which fails to protect society? Or is it Shivpuri (1987) because his attempt was impossible in the circumstances?

Task Three:D.I.Y.
(There had to be a task 3…)
Students choose their own cases and design their own Triangles. They test them out on each other and explain their reasoning.
I have just tried this with my A2 groups and the triangles produced really sophisticated discussions, student-led and based on independent research. I stood back and watched.
( Answers: A, Assault may be committed indirectly. B, ABH can include psychiatric injury, C, coincidence of Actus reus and Mens rea.)

Nigel Briggs

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