My Experience In Public Law & Jurisprudence

My interest in public law and jurisprudence began as I researched for my extended essay (EE) titled: How did the Jekyll Island meeting of 1910 lead to the creation of the Federal Reserve System? I wrote about this topic because I am interested in history and the role of authorities in society. While writing my EE, I realised my interest for the way in which authorities gain legal responsibilities, the extent to which we can trust them and the legal system. I am curious about how laws function, why they were created and how the current legal system has been reached.

As I wanted to learn more, I decided to read Tom Bingham’s The Rule of Law. I found the chapters Law not Discretion and Human Rights, which amongst other things, talked about the unjustness of solving legal disputes by implementing discretion rather than applying the law, fascinating. The book made me recognise the importance of the law and how it influences the different aspects of our lives. The law seemingly reflects society’s values. Another aspect of law that captures my interest is its challenging nature created by conflicting laws, the evolving nature of laws and the ever-changing values of society.

News sources such as The Guardian, The Economist, and The New York Times, keep me up to date with demanding global legal issues. I find the effect of society’s changing values on recent legal disputes, such as the influence of the #Metoo movement on the current sexual-misconduct allegations against Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, engaging. The current legal issues that Ireland is facing regarding human rights laws clashing with abortion laws, also interest me. I find this issue intriguing because the values of our society are being tested. Legalising abortion only in cases where the health of the mother is at risk, we imply that the life of the mother is more valuable than that of the child. Does this not also clash with human rights laws?

As I am interested in how people think, I enjoy my Theory of Knowledge (ToK) classes where I learn about factors that influence people’s reasoning, such as emotion or ethics. This helps me to understand different viewpoints. ToK is also useful because it helps me strengthen my ways of reasoning by identifying my weaknesses, such as recognising when my claims are based on weak assumptions or on bias. I apply the skills I learn from ToK and knowledge from daily reading to MUN, which has proven to be extremely practical as it has equipped me with skills such as public speaking and recognising common fallacies in arguments.

Furthermore, I had some first-hand experience of legal issues that developing countries face. Last summer, I interned in a law firm in Papua New Guinea. This experience made me recognise the significance of the rule of law. Seeing the effect of a government that acts above the law as opposed to in the interest of its people, was an eye-opening experience of what Tom Bingham mentioned in Human Rights. Knowing that the constitution of the country is based on the constitution of Western democracies, I could not help wondering why it is that developing countries pose resistance to the rule of law. Witnessing the dedication, perseverance, and global awareness of the lawyers in the firm made me realise that this was really what I want to do as a career.

The challenge posed by the changing nature of the law and the existence of conflicting laws motivates me to become a lawyer as I am a person who enjoys intellectual challenges. Hence, I have chosen difficult IB subjects, such as HL Math, Economics and Biology. I joined MUN, which at the start was very challenging, as I initially feared speaking in public. However, it has given me confidence to defend my opinions. To balance academics, in my free time I play difficult piano pieces from memory. I believe my international exposure and desire to be challenged has prepared me for studying at tertiary level in the UK, where I can get a globally recognised degree.

18 March 2020
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