Writing your introduction
Together with the conclusion, the introduction is one of the most significant pieces of a dissertation that you have to get right. A well-written introduction can make all the difference between a first class and an upper second.
If you take just one thing away from this series of posts, it is this. You can develop a better stream of communication with your reader, forming a better relationship, if you tell them what you are going to say (introduction), say it (main body), then tell them what you have said (conclusion).
So, to the introduction, set the scene as fast as possible then tell the reader what you are going to say, but don’t be so amateurish as to write “I am going to discuss X, Y and Z”. Be more indirect. Suggest, for instance, that there are problems with the law that need to be resolved.
Long since inevitable initial encounters, human rights concerns, particularly regarding the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), have been accelerating in today’s civil jurisdiction and judgments arena in the United Kingdom, a notable consequence of the passing of the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998. More than six years from the Act’s coming into force, it is now imperative to reach conclusions which reflect the “importance attaching in today’s world and in current international thinking and jurisprudence to the recognition and effective enforcement of individual human rights,” as Mance LJ (as he then was) has noted. This necessity is reflected in the recent extensive consideration of the right to a fair trial in key works of some of the most authoritative conflict lawyers in the United Kingdom, including Sir Lawrence Collins, Professor Adrian Briggs and, most significantly, Professor James Fawcett.
Methods of protecting the right to a fair trial and thus of avoiding a breach of Article 6 are irrelevant to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR); the Court is not concerned with reviewing under the Convention in abstracto the law complained of, but rather the application of that law. There is therefore a large amount of discretion afforded to the courts regarding techniques to avoid infringement of the Convention. In the context of civil jurisdiction and judgments, various methods of avoiding infringement, or indeed enabling protection, of the right to a fair trial exist. However, the extent to which these have been used in practice, both by the UK courts and the ECJ, has been limited, a result of various factors, the most striking of which being the wrongful application of the ECHR and even the conscious decision to ignore it.
Before analysing specific fair trial concerns in detail, it is necessary to examine the general structure and operation of Article 6 as it applies to civil jurisdiction and judgments.