Law Reading Challenge

Mar 09, 2020




As part of a new reading initiative, law students were set a law related challenge with the promise of a prize for the first three correct entries. Students needed to read a (lengthy) legal judgement from the case of R v Bentham [2005] HL to identify some key elements of the decision. These were (in Latin), the “Ratio decidendi” (the reason for the decision) and the “Obiter dicta” (other things said). Students also needed to find reference to the correct rule of statutory interpretation used by Judges to interpret the Firearms Act 1968.

The facts, in brief, of the case are that the appellant broke into the house of his employer in the early hours of one morning, with the intent of committing a robbery. Towering over the victim in bed, the appellant had his hand inside his zipped up jacket, forcing the material out, so as to give the impression that he had a gun. He demanded money and jewellery, threatening to shoot the victim if he did not comply. In fear, and believing the appellant had a gun, the victim handed over some possessions.

The appellant pleaded guilty to robbery, but appealed against the charge of possessing an imitation firearm under Section 17 of the Firearms Act. The question for the students was, according to the House of Lords, did the appellant “possess” an imitation firearm, with the actual question of interpretation being, could he in law possess his fingers?

Three students successfully completed the challenge: Gracie Trotter, Harry Hyland and Ryan Kelly. They all received a book as a prize, titled “The Secret Barrister”.

Miss Davies, Team Leader of Law

Post by Angela