Get Mapping

Once you have signed up as a contributor (a painless task – see below) you can start mapping. Please try and follow the four steps outlined below. This will ensure that your contribution gets published quickly and is something that you want to be part of your public profile.

Identify

First, identify your location. There are many ways of doing this. Here are five ideas;

  1. Teachers – you may be doing the mapping as part of an induction, or group work or module activity. In that case, your teacher may give you the location or tell you how to identify one. Otherwise, you can simply approach your law teachers and ask them about legal events that occurred in or are linked to your town/city/region.
  2. Local knowledge – you know where your local legal hotspots are; the courts, the council hall, the power station that was subject to the major legal challenge. Why not use one of those?
  3. Current events – for the law student, it seems as though half the news stories at any moment have an important legal angle. You could map the places where they are happening.
  4. Studies – the cases you study in any of your modules (e.g. Contract, Tort, Criminal, Land, Medical, Sports, Public) often involve disputes about, or are located in, particular places.
  5. Legal databases – most law students have access to Westlaw or Lexis Library. You can search for the location you are interested in. You may want to limit your search to ‘cases’ and add sufficient detail to narrow your search (e.g. ‘Blackburn’ will return lots of people and companies with that name; use ‘Blackburn’ AND ‘Lancashire’ for more relevant results).

If you cannot find exactly where the location is, do not worry at this stage. There are tips on dealing with this in the Map section below.

Visit / Research

Second, find out more about your location and its legal significance.

Research – Legal significance

If you have found your location through e.g. a law report then you already have some of the legal significance. You could still e.g. explore the subsequent life of the case, its academic reception, its impact on the development on the law.

If you found your location from some other source, you could do some background research. You will have some idea of the sort of legal events linked to the location, so use an encyclopaedia for further information. There are two obvious choices

  • Halsbury’s Laws of England – the connoisseur’s choice. Authoritative and up-to-date, this is the established encyclopaedia on legal issues and is available through Lexis Library (search the Commentary section).
  • Wikipedia – the controversial choice. I tell my students never to use Wikipedia for assessed work and try to show them better ways of find relevant information. There is plenty of evidence, though, that Wikipedia is reasonably accurate across most subjects. It may be a useful resource for mapping, but if you are doing it as part of any assessed work, then ask your teacher.

Information on the location

Your research skills here are likely to involve use the Internet intelligently, i.e. using good search terms to find relevant information; differentiating between reliable and unreliable sources of information (treat anything other than official and news websites with some caution).

Visits

Get some fresh air. Take a couple of pals. Bring your cameras or phones and a notepad. Visit your location.

At the location, try to get an impression of the place and connect it with what you know about its legal significance. Don’t just look at the building or plot, have a look at where it sits in the neighbourhood. Is it what you expected? Does it give you any different perspectives on the legal event?

There is guidance on your legal rights in taking photographs in public places here. http://www.urban75.org/photos/photographers-rights-and-the-law.html

The basic rule for photographing buildings is that you are entitled to do so as long as you are standing in a public place.

There has been some concern over the way in which police have dealt with photographers taking pictures of what might be regarded as sensitive locations, and this could include e.g. court or government buildings. The Association of Chief Police Officers have stated that; ‘Officers should be reminded that it is not an offence for a member of the public or journalist to take photographs of a public building and use of cameras by the public does not ordinarily permit use of stop and search powers.’ http://www.urban75.org/photos/photographers-rights-anti-terrorism.html

Please use your common sense if approached by the police or any person connected to the property you are photographing. Our advice is to allay any concerns by explaining why you are taking the pictures, whilst also pointing out your right to take pictures in a public place.

Map

You can sign up quickly and easily. Just hit the ‘Sign Up’ button below. The benefits are that you can start to blog about existing locations, request new locations and you will receive a professional author page with a URL that you can use to show tutors and potential employers examples of your writing. Once signed up, you will see guidance videos that talk you through the process of mapping and blogging.

Blog

We want to be pretty flexible with this, but please bear the following in mind;

  • Take care with your writing style (spelling, grammar). Your entries will be part of your public profile.
  • Explain the legal significance of the location.
  • Explain (if you can) your additional thoughts and perspectives about the location based on your visit / background research.
  • Do not plagiarise and please follow the rules on offensive posts.

Copyright on pictures – you must use your own pictures or general copyright free images. You can blog without associated images.

Offensive & inappropriate postings – Do not post using abusive, vulgar, threatening or harassing language. Do not make personal attacks of any kind. Do not post messages that are clearly off-topic or which seek to promote commercial services.

Sign Up