http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2017/12/student-essays-how-to-write-good-piece.html

Students
often ask me how they can write a good essay (which would also make them
eligible to receive a good mark). 
This
is a question that is not always easy to answer, also because when structuring
and writing an essay there is arguably more room for different types of
approaches than what is, instead, possibly the case of so called ‘problem
questions’, ie real-life scenarios in which students are asked to provide legal
counsel to a fictional client.
I
have tried however to come up with some sort of informal ‘checklist’ 
[available here] of issues that law
students may want to consider when approaching and preparing to write an
essay. Any feedback and comments on how to improve the ‘checklist’ are
very welcome!
This
is part of my “student materials collection” which IPKat has covered
in previous instances and can be found here.
So,
student essays. Here we go:



How
can the checklist be applied in practice though?

Here’s
an example:
Let’s
assume that you need to write an essay that has the following title:
In my judgment the test
of quality has been re-stated but … not significantly altered by Infopaq

(per Proudman J, NLA and Others v Meltwater and Others, [2010] EWHC
3099 (Ch), para 81): do you agree with Proudman J that the decision of the
Court of Justice of the European Union in Infopaq, C-5/08 and its
progeny has left the traditional UK standard of originality unaffected?
How
do you use the checklist? Point-by-point. So:
1.   STUDY
THE RELEVANT ISSUES UNDERLYING THE TOPIC OF YOUR ESSAY, AND UNDERTAKE
APPROPRIATE RESEARCH (LEGISLATION, CASE LAW, SCHOLARLY LITERATURE, ETC)
In order to write an essay of this kind
you should be familiar at least with issues such as:
1.    
the traditional understanding of originality in UK
copyright law;
2.   
the limited harmonization of the originality
requirement occurred at the level of EU legislation;
3.   
the decision of the Court of Justice of the European
Union (CJEU) in Infopaq;
4.   
post-Infopaq CJEU case law,
including BSA, C-393/09; FAPL, C-403/09 and
C-429/08; Painer, C-145/10; Football Dataco,
C-604/10; SAS, C-406/10;
5.   
the scholarly discussion of whether and to what extent
CJEU case law has affected the standard of originality for works other than
software, databases, and photographs (for which the originality requirement is
already ‘author’s own intellectual creation) under UK law.
2.   READ
THE QUESTION: WHAT ISSUES NEED TO BE CONSIDERED AS A MINIMUM?
As a minimum, this essay requires one to
consider:
1.    
the Meltwater High Court decision;
2.   
Infopaq;
3.   
post-Infopaq CJEU case law;
4.   
the traditional UK understanding of originality;
5.   
the impact of CJEU case law on the UK test for
originality.
3.   IDENTIFY
FURTHER ISSUES THAT COULD IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR ANALYSIS
In order to appreciate the full extent of
CJEU case law on UK law one could – for instance – refer to other UK decisions
(following the High Court decision in Meltwater) that have tackled
the originality requirement
4.   ONCE
YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DISCUSS, ORDER THE VARIOUS POINTS IN
THE WAY THAT YOU FIND MOST EFFECTIVE
These are the points that at this stage
you have identified as being deserving of consideration:
·     
the Meltwater High Court decision
·     
Infopaq
·     
post-Infopaq CJEU case law
·     
the traditional UK understanding of originality
·     
the impact of CJEU case law on the UK test
·     
other UK decisions (after the High Court decision
in Meltwater) that have tackled the originality requirement
You have now to order them in the way you
think is going to serve your analysis best: be strategic!
5.   START
WRITING, FOLLOWING THE STRUCTURE THAT YOU HAVE CREATED AND BEARING IN MIND THE
NEED TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE SUPPORT (LEGISLATION, CASE LAW, SCHOLARLY
LITERATURE, ETC) TO EACH AND EVERY SUBSTANTIAL POINT YOU MAKE
6.   OTHER
POINTS THAT MAY LOOK SUPERFLUOUS BUT THEY ARE REALLY NOT
a.     GRAMMAR
Simplicity is a virtue, also when you
write: avoid passive forms, complex and long sentences … In other words:
clarity is your goal. Double check whether what you have written can be
expressed in a more concise and clearer form. If so: make changes.
                         AND
SPELLING
For instance, writing “author’s own
intellectual creation” as “authors own intellectual creation” does not look
great …
b.    REFERENCING
Several universities indicate a preference
for certain referencing systems, eg OSCOLA. While it is important to follow
these indications, what is key is really to keep it consistent: if you have
chosen a way to reference a certain kind of source, eg journal articles, use
the same system throughout the whole essay.
c.     FORMATTING
Again, there might be some guidelines at
University/School level. In any case, while looks might not be all you need in
life, the appearance of your essay can be important: make your work look good,
not just substantially sound!

d.   READ,
RE-READ AND RE-RE-READ WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN: BE AS CRITICAL AS POSSIBLE
 TOWARDS YOUR WORK, SO THAT OTHERS WILL NOT NEED
TO BE 

               Reading your essay 1-2 times after you have written it is clearly not enough.

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