Top critical review
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I cannot comprehend the positive statements this book has received
on 24 December 2012
This book was purchased specifically due to the praise, but I have been left disappointed- so much so that I've now sold it on.
I primarily purchased it to study defamation, privacy and confidentiality, but after reading the relevant chapters I had to give up.
The key issue for me is that a good student law textbook is comprehensive on both teaching the law and engaging in an academic discussion. Both of these are needed so you have a full understanding and so you can tackle any question on the subject, whether a problem or essay.
However, this book is overwhelmingly concerned with discussion, and comparative to other books, very scant on the strict law. For example, a tort textbook I have (which I don't regard highly) dedicates 6 pages solely on the `injury to reputation' aspect of defamation. This book barely has 1 page. This continues when I compare other key areas.
It also categorises information in odd ways therefore you can't dip in and out of the book to read/revise a particular point, which is key for a student. E.g. the burden of proof is tucked away in the `History' section. Similarly, the brief injury to reputation discussion is also in `History'.
Why? They of course have a history, but using that notion so does everything. The tort book has a burden of proof and injury headings in the context of following a claim from start to end, so you can find them immediately. And relevant history is dealt with in those same headings. I despair at what the reviewers must have been reading to consider this "accessible". Unless you think to look in `History' for the current law (instead of the more appropriate `General framework for defamation' section, which is where I was looking) then you'll quickly become confused.
These categorising problems continue throughout the other sections of the book I read, as does another gripe which is the long-winded case details with little discussion of the actual decision. I found in the Privacy and Confidentiality chapter, particularly its discussion on Art.8 balanced with Art.10, a long description of the facts of various cases, only to then have a sentence at the end saying- the court held Art X was/was not infringed.
You would have thought a detailed explanation on why the court balanced the Articles the way it did was a given, but not so. Maybe the author wants readers to read the cases themselves. But in that case why give such a long description of the facts (sometimes 10-15 lines)?
As with defamation, I had to use another book which critically discusses the same cases and more to understand the application of the law- a necessity for me should I find a problem question waiting for me in my exam.
I don't know whether this trend continues in every chapter as I simply wasn't getting enough out of the book to continue reading.
It isn't a bad book as such- there is insightful and useful discussion if that's mainly you're looking for. But a comprehensive and accessible student textbook from which to learn the law it certainly is not.