8 November 2006

NatRadio: Ignorance of Law

Below are links to my discussion with Kathryn Ryan on NineToNoon about ignorance of the law and mistakes: > NineToNoon: Law [archived stream] > NineToNoon: Law [mp3 podcast] And here's the favourite example I had in my notes but didn't get a chance to slip in:
For example: - a person is not guilty if they grew cannabis plants thinking they were tomato plants (mistake of fact); - however, a person is guilty if they grew cannabis thinking that growing them for medicinal purposes was lawful (mistake of law).

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Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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