Lighter side: ‘Delicate Oxford flower’ takes on top barrister

by NZ Lawyer13 May 2016
A feisty Oxford law student called out comments made by top crime barrister Matthew Scott on social media over the weekend, in response to a report by the Mail on Sunday.

Scott commented that Oxford law students are too ‘delicate’ to study law in response to a report by the paper that Oxford law students are given trigger warnings before learning about sensitive legal issues.

An anonymous student told the paper that before lectures on sexual offences, students “were warned that the content could be distressing, and were then given the opportunity to leave if [they] needed to”.

Scott quickly took to social media to label the students as “delicate Oxford flowers”.

Law student Giorgia Litwin, Oxford features editor of The Tab, wrote a strongly worded piece in response to the barrister suggesting students need to “man-up”.

“Clearly Oxford students have forgotten that sensitivity doesn’t conform to the standards of hyper-masculinity needed for any and every legal career,” she wrote.

“Please excuse us while we focus our energies on conforming to gender stereotypes in order to progress, and the females amongst us accept lower pay-checks and lesser roles. (Who cares if you got a first if you’re not the superior sex?)”

She went on to say that discretionary trigger warnings are important in understanding the mental health needs of students, something which should be celebrated.

“Yes, sexual offences lectures are going to discuss sexual offences.  But as one student pointed out, when you’re going to a lecture on economic loss, you wouldn’t generally anticipate half of it being dedicated to the Hillsborough tragedy.

“Lots of love, a delicate flower x,” she signed off.

Scott then penned a strongly worded and lengthy piece in response, published in The Telegraph.

He suggests that trigger warnings might be a slippery slope, urging law schools to resist such warnings.

“It is not just rape: if you have been traumatised by a burglary, hearing the details of legally significant burglaries may be intensely upsetting,” he wrote.

His concern is that law lecturers are not psychologists and shouldn’t be expected to anticipate trauma topics, and commented that shying away from difficult questions will produce a generation of infantilised future lawyers.
 
 

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