It’s for business law.
FULL TITLE: Critically evaluate, in relation to the common law duty of care, the liability of employers for references. How, if at all, does the liability of a university (such as the University of Sussex) differ regarding references given to potential employers in respect of current (or former)students.
—- OPINIONS GIVEN BY SCHOOL:
1. UCL’s Guidance on Writing References
2. below information which is very useful. you need to use it for analysing the essay question.
Students should consider using the key word approach to reading essay questions.
This approach looks for three key features in any essay question. Namely
The knowledge key words (KKW)
The relevancy key words (RKW)
The instructional key words (IKW)
The essay question for the essay is as follows:
Critically evaluate, in relation to the common law duty of care, the liability of
employers for references. How, if at all, does the liability of a university (such
as the University of Sussex) differ regarding references given to potential
employers in respect of current (or former) students.
The knowledge key words are: the liability of employers for references. The
relevancy key words are: in relation to the common law duty of care. Put in other
words – what is the scope of an employer’s liability in the tort of negligence for
references given to current or former employees? The question also asks for a view
to be expressed as to whether references given by universities in respect of current
and former students are to be treated the same as references given by employers to
employees. It is a bad mistake not to give an answer to the additional sub-question.
The instructional key words are: critically evaluate. The adverb “critically” is often
applied to question verbs such as “evaluate”. It invites students to challenge
received wisdom and to offer an alternative to a dominant interpretation of an issue.
The verb “evaluate” requires an assessment of the different aspects of a subject
area or phenomenon. Evaluating often requires a consideration of the advantages
and disadvantages (pros and cons) but try to avoid a “list-based” approach.
Structuring your essay
The essay length is 1,000 words. The essay should be up-to-date and referenced in
an appropriate way (i.e. the Harvard or name-date referencing style) demonstrating
that you have consulted a range of decent and reliable sources. The essay should
contain the following elements with approximate word allocations:
Introduction (5-10% of word allocation)
Discussion (75-85% of word allocation)
Conclusions (10-15% of word allocation)
Appendices (if applicable)
A common mistake is an overlong introduction and an overly generalised approach
i.e. don’t try to write everything you know about the tort of negligence.
Some advice on content
The key case is the House of Lords decision in Spring v Guardian Assurance plc
 2 AC 296 (HL). The judgments are split between rejecting liability of
employers on policy grounds (Lord Keith dissenting), imposing liability on the basis
of the Hedley Byrne principle (Lords Goff, Lowry and Woolf) and imposing liability on
the basis of the Caparo decision (i.e. is it fair, just and reasonable – Lord Slynn).
For better marks, students should not only dealt with Spring v Guardian Assurance
plc but also with subsequent decisions including (but not limited to):
Kidd v Axa Equity and Law Assurance Society plc
Bartholomew v London Borough of Hackney and
Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd
McKie v Swindon College
Don’t forget to deal with the issue of liability for references given to students!
The General Feedback from last year – please take this advice to heart!
The standards of referencing and presentation were generally poor. The names of
cases need to be either in italics or underlined. With the name-date referencing
system, the information that allows the case to be looked up by the reader comes
immediately after the case name in the text. When referencing books, try to pinpoint
the page not just the author(s) name(s) and date of publication (e.g. Jones, 2011,
358). The Study Direct course website for N1072 contained a section entitled
“Possible Readings for Assessed Essay”. It is a source of deep concern that VERY
few students made use of these materials. Those who did tended to do very well. A
particular problem was the significant number of students who ignored the question
set to write about [a specific event in the news]. This was sadly not relevant! Some
students also made reference to non-UK cases (google?) without explaining why a
first instance case from a foreign jurisdiction should be considered in preference to
UK Court of Appeal and House of Lords/Supreme Court authority on the point.
© Paul Eden – 30th October 2015
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