Practical exercise (10.5.1)

Taking notes when reading

Taking notes when reading

Have a look at the article on criminal liability for sports injuries.

Read through it and make notes imagining that you have one of the following aims in reading the article:

  • To identify key cases for an essay about criminal liability for injuries sustained in the course of sports.
  • To find out the author’s views about the relationship between criminal and civil law in relation to sporting injuries for your dissertation.
  • To prepare for a seminar question that asks ‘Professor Davies was playing in a staff-against students football game. James, a final year student, was mocking Professor Davies’ performance, calling out “come on grandpa, try and get the ball”. Professor Davies tries to tackle James but by the time he made contact the ball had been passed to another player. James fell awkwardly and broke his leg. Professor Davies wants to know whether he may be criminally liable for causing the injury to James’.

Commentary

The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate that you can be selective in your focus when reading source materials by ensuring that you keep your purpose in mind when reading and making notes.

Aim 1: To identify key cases for an essay about criminal liability for injuries incurred in the course of sports.

There are a couple of ways that you can ensure that you keep a sufficiently firm focus on your objective here. One is to ensure that you concentrate only on criminal cases. This is important as much of the article is devoted to a discussion of civil liability and this will have no place in your criminal law essay. The other point is to ensure that you give your main attention to criminal cases decided in England and Wales. Of course, if an area of law is undecided or less developed than the law in other jurisdictions, particularly common law jurisdictions such as Canada, then they can play a useful role in your essay but remember that they should act as a comparator only and not form the bulk of your discussion.

Aim 2: To find out the author’s views on the relationship between criminal and civil law in relation to sporting injuries for your dissertation.

The whole article discusses the boundaries between civil and criminal liability in relation to injuries sustained during the course of organized sporting events so would be useful reading for a dissertation on the topic. However, if your purpose is to find out the author’s views on where the boundary should lie (rather than all of his analysis of the case law) then this can be found in the latter sections. Always flick through an article to read the headings that are used as these can be really useful in helping you to locate the information that is really useful to you.

Aim 3: To prepare for a seminar that includes a problem question on injuries sustained during the course of sports.

There are two points that could assist you here: one is the outline of the main criminal cases that have been decided in relation to sporting injuries and the other is the discussion of the variable standard that is to be applied in relation to amateur and professional sports. As Professor Davies is playing in a staff-against-student match, it would seem from the discussion in the article that it is unlikely that high standards of accuracy are expected and perhaps there is scope to excuse the clumsy and rather late tackle.