Ariana Ng is currently studying LLB Law at the University of Nottingham. She completed her A-Levels at Epsom College in Malaysia and is graduating in 2021. This personal statement was part of her successful application to University of Nottingham and Queen Mary University of London for Law.
A conversation with a law student sparked my interest in law. She suggested that it would be possible to sue your neighbour if a leaf from your neighbour’s tree fell on your property. After some research, I concluded that she had over exaggerated the situation as you could only hold your neighbour liable if it caused nuisance or damage. However, I realised how every aspect of a person’s life was governed by legislation that even included the simplest of things: a leaf.
The complex arguments behind cases fascinates me. For example in Mayor of Bradford v Pickles, Mr. Pickles deliberately intercepted the water supply on his land, which flows to the city of Bradford. Lord Halsbury LC said: “If it was a lawful act, however ill the motive might be, he had a right to do it” when ruling this case. Lord Halsbury’s reasoning was surprising as I assumed that laws exist to prevent those with malicious thoughts from actualising them. “What About Law?” by Barnard et al inquires further into this with a hypothetical case in which David tries to kill his girlfriend through voodoo. His motive could justify a conviction even if the intended harm is impossible. I noticed that the defendant’s motive was more critical in the latter case as attempted murder is a more serious offence than the right to use one’s water supply. However, other legal findings such as interpretation of the statute may change the final ruling of either cases. The intricacies of the law inspired me to research further.
I decided to explore the workings of the law by writing an EPQ on the reliability of eyewitness testimonies. My initial research from journals by E. E. Loftus proves that eyewitness’ testimonies are fallible due to the malleability of one’s memory. I questioned why eyewitnesses’ testimonies are still used in court as innocent people had been wrongly convicted. A discussion with a visiting law professor made me aware that eyewitness’ testimonies provide closure and act as a means to serve justice especially if victims themselves testify. I only looked into the injustice faced by innocent defendants and neglected how the acceptance of these testimonies was a safeguard to protect victims. Through my EPQ, I learnt to address conflicting interests and present a non-biased argument – skills which I hope to develop further by reading law.
I came across a module about International Law by Dr. Tzanakopoulos during my Oxford Summer Camp. I was intrigued by this new topic but I contributed little to the discussion and kept questions to myself – a weakness I knew I had to address. I joined the Model United Nations club to ensure that my questions would no longer be left unanswered and honed my debating skills.
My internship with Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill, a Malaysian law firm that specialises in civil law, enabled me to help in the research of the associates and chambering students. It was a very fulfilling experience especially assisting in pro bono work that involved defending ethnic minority children that were discriminated against by their local authority. I realised that lawyers play a vital role in upholding the rule of law by ensuring everyone has access to legal redress.
My scholarship with the Central Bank has reinforced what my role will be in preserving the stability of the financial system through the law. The response to the 1MBD scandal failed to hold those who had created insecurity in Malaysia accountable. The lack of judicial power and ineffective institutional framework have formed an executive with little constraints and this may have stemmed from the 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis. As a central bank scholar who may one day initiate or be part of the necessary reform to prevent these financial scandals, this issue hit close to home.
It is my ambition to read law and I am keen to return to Malaysia with some possible remedies to the issues faced in Malaysia.
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