Week 11: Damage is… complicated and end of term wrap up
This the final entry for this subject as it is now the end of term, and this reflective journal series is due for submission. As a consequence, this entry focuses on any observed changes in diary entries and a general evaluation of learning over the course of the term.
One observed change is the change from the first & second entries, and subsequent entries. I finally took on board the intention of the assessment, which was to be a self-evaluation, rather than a parroting back of the course materials, and anything that I particularly may have found of interest. During the Introduction to Law subject, that was the style of the self-evaluation that I wrote, which appears to be what that course wanted. For this subject, I instead have tried to evaluate my own learning, using the prompt questions that Anna provided as the basis for the posts.
I have also become a little more active on the forum than in the past, trying to help others when they are stuck, and also in order to clarify my own understanding of topics, which has lead to some interesting discussion. I have also enjoyed reading some posts that people have put up about how they have interpreted cases, other interesting cases they have found, and any revelations they have had where the ‘penny’ had finally dropped. I had a few of those moments, like when I finally realised the correlations between assault and battery in common low and assault and battery in Queensland statue (helps if you open your eyes and *look* at the document Anna posted – it was colour coded for a reason! 🙂 That is probably the biggest revelation for me… most of the rest of the time it was simply reading the material repeatedly, reading a couple of cases or looking for another explanation until the rationale or operation of the tort finally sunk in…
Over the course of the term I got much better at finding cases, and am pleased to admit there are very few cases that have eluded me – and I think those were available on other subscriber databases only, or required money I wasn’t going to part with to access. I finally realised how the Westlaw citation search worked… you only need to put the ‘155 CLR 1’ bit in… don’t bother with the year, and don’t include the title – and it invariably comes back with just the case you are looking for – if they have it. I became more familiar with LexisNexis and BAILII too, when looking for UK cases or journal articles.
I also have migrated to reading hard-copy case judgements – usually I just skimmed a downloaded copy on the screen, but now I print off the more interesting or more important cases, so I can litter them with highlights… Also good for reading of a morning when warming up in the sun 🙂 The only area I let slip was competition of tutorial questions – for some of the earlier questions I drafted full responses, but in later weeks only looked at the questions and thought of possible responses, or only did superficial responses. And I didn’t post any to the forum, so I intend to improve on that next term.
And for a brief look at this weeks topic of ‘Damages’, firstly, it was really good of Anna to organise a guest speaker to come in for the session. Although it was repetitive since we had just learnt the material, that in itself was good – more times the better – and she also explained how in practise in applied, not just in theory. There was talk of how you have to do different things at different times due to statutory obligations and limitation periods, and how it is important to find other (was it public liability?) cases similar to yours in order to join them in order to get the best outcome for your client – as this can overcome some of the limitations of statues such as workers compensation. I thought that damages would be relatively easy to determine – after all, it is compensation for damage suffered, isn’t it? Which is the root of the problem… the saying of ‘one persons junk is another’s treasure’ is a good analogy here. What value does a person put on the damage/harm/infringement-of-rights that they have suffered? What is reasonable? And how does that affect them going into the future? These are the sorts of questions that need to be considered amongst others when determining the damages that are awarded to someone (either as compensation or as a deterrent or simply an acknowledgement of the infringement).
Finally, attached is the second Student Questionnaire in order to compare my responses to this with the one I completed back in Week 1. Let me make it easy for you… there is little change. I was pretty confident of my skills and abilities coming into the course (perhaps a little too much – so the initial one might have been higher than it should have been), but I am happy with my progress, and look forward to sharpening my skills on my second helping of Torts next term. Now to go conduct more extensive research… perhaps some more How to Get Away with Murder and Suits?