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Archive for April 16th, 2009

Obvious and Tangible Cheating…

Obvious and Tangible Cheating…

The Oxbridge Training Contracts saga continues with Oxbridge Training Contracts demanding that Simon Myerson QC pay attention to their demands… I quote from Mr Foster (representing OTC)
The following comments refer to the blog ‘Integrity and a Suitable Place for It’ posted on your website on March 31st, 2009.The blog is both highly deceptive and defamatory and we demand its immediate removal, the deletion of associated comments and that you print a retraction making very clear the deceptive nature of the comments printed there hitherto.” (See: Integrity – The Man speaks)

Myerson, clearly unruffled by Mr Foster’s demands,  refused to comply and responded: Integrity – the deadline passes and Moving on.

In his his latest “Moving on” blog post, Simon Myerson makes a number of particularly important points in relation to cheating – first, in relation to paying organisations like OTC to write pupillage application forms  and, secondly, in relation to the even more serious issue (in my view) of paying porganisations to provide answers to tailored essay questions.

The fiction, of course, is that OTC and similar organisations (which they make clear in their terms and conditions) are simply providing students with these answers for their private research. They go further and say that it is a breach of their terms and conditions for students to use these answers for any other purpose than private research and include submission of such answers as their own work for university or law school course work.

Given that these tailored, bespoke, answers cost £200 or even more per answer depending on whether the answer is 2.1 or First class standard, or delivered seven days or seven hours later, it does not take a genius to work out that students are (a) using these bespoke answers and passing them off as their own work or (b) may be tempted to use the material as a substitute for their own research  or (c) are using the work as research and then ‘modelling’ their own answers on the answers provided. In all three cases the student is cheating. There is really no other term for it. Many, if not most, institutions make it clear to students that they may not have any third party assistance with assessed coursework.

Myerson, rightly, makes this observation: ” I extend this to the writing of essays – whether by way of ‘model’ answer or otherwise. The test is simple: if the teaching isn’t good enough at your institution then you should be able to recover the cost of your payment to OTC by way of legal action for breach of contract. If you wouldn’t sue then you shouldn’t use what you’ve bought. Try working harder.”

Simon Myerson QC is a member of The Bar Council and is actively involved in the matter of Bar education. His blog posts on this issue are worth reading – as are the comments written by prospective barristers. Myerson’s Pupillage and How to Get It blog is a first class resource for any prospective barrister. I have no hesitation in recommending it.

[I gave Mr Foster the opportunity to talk about Oxbridge Training Contracts in a podcast. If you wish to listen to it – click here]

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The news is up on Insite Law.  No new law reports – Easter vacation.  OI shall do an update of UK blogs either later today or tomorrow.

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