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Congratulations to the winners!

Oxford University Press would like to thank all participants for the fantastic entries this year. We were very impressed with the standard of entries received, when we asked students to create a short film exploring the theme ‘bring your favourite case to life’.

The winning films below were those judged to be the most creative, instructive and original entries, demonstrating the ability to analyse case law and which help educate law students and encourage them to positively connect with law.

A big thank you to all the students who got involved, and to the lecturers and law societies who supported the competition in 2015. Stay tuned to this website in 2016 for details of the 9th Connecting with Law Short Film Competition.

1st Prize Winner
Chester v Waverly Council (1939) 62 CLR 1
Ray Waterhouse, Nikita Vidyaev, Bella Noon, Ben O’Sullivan & Molly-Anne Clark
University of Notre Dame, Sydney

Donoghue v Stevenson is the dawn of the modern law of negligence. Just seven years later, the High Court considered a negligence claim made by Mrs Chester. Her young boy, Maxie, drowned in a flooded council trench. She witnessed his body being lifted from the trench and suffered nervous shock as a result. Her claim failed in the High Court because the majority said that it was not foreseeable that a mother would suffer nervous shock in those circumstances.

Justice Evatt dissented. He found her reaction entirely foreseeable. He was the only judge to identify Maxie by name. He humanised Mrs Chester and her loss. The power of his dissent has resonated down the years. His reasoning was vindicated by Justice Deane in Jaensch v Coffey in 1984 and by Justice Gaudron in Annetts v Australian Stations Pty Limited in 2002. Evatt J’s judgment illustrates the importance of dissenting judgements – sometimes their reasoning is picked up by later judgements and becomes the law. His judgement was more forward looking than the blinkered legalisms of the majority. In the words of Deane J, Evatt’s judgement was plainly to be preferred to that of the majority.

“Thank you Oxford University press for running the Connecting with the Law short film competition. I would recommend it, to all students as it was an amazing bonding and creative experience, in understanding and applying case law. We are extremely proud of this win and I believe it will create a tradition at Notre Dame that future students can build on.” Ray Waterhouse, University of Notre Dame, Sydney

2nd Prize Winner
An Expert’s Opinion on his Ordinary Observation: The Case of Honeysett
Jonathan Mo
University of New South Wales

Honeysett v The Queen [2014] HCA 29
A case where the High Court warns against dressing up ordinary evidence in fancy scientific terms: It was found in this case that the opinion of an expert was not based wholly or substantially on that person’s specialised knowledge within the meaning of the NSW Evidence Act, but was based merely on his subjective impression by comparing CCTV footage of the offender and the photograph of the accused. The High Court held the ‘expert opinion’ as improperly admitted and, accordingly, quashed the accused’s conviction and order a new trial.

3rd Prize Winner
Precisely Nothing: Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Lauren Stefanou & Rebecca Ward
University of New South Wales

Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner (1969) 1 QB 439 is a leading criminal case, often cited as authority for the principle that the mens rea for an assault need not be present at the inception of the actus rea: it can be superimposed onto a ‘continuing act’.Fagan is also an excellent illustration of the contortions the courts will entertain in order to attach liability where conduct can’t easily be circumscribed by the rigid, and somewhat arbitrary, act/omission distinction. As assault offences are among the most commonly charged in many Australian jurisdictions, having a comprehensive understanding of basic principles of assault law is of fundamental importance to aspiring and practising lawyers

Now showing: the Connecting with Law Film Library
The Connecting with Law Film Library is home to all of the winning and commended entries from the history of the competition.