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Model essay

How to write a law essay

Depending on the required work length, writing a law essay

can be a long and involved process. START AS EARLY AS
POSSIBLE! Many students develop their own style of
attacking an essay topic. Generally however it is useful to
break the essay-writing process down into the following steps:

1. Analysing your essay topic

Before you can create an effective argument, you must determine
exactly what you are being asked to answer. Your lecturer would have
chosen his/her words carefully when setting the essay topic so avoid
making generalisations and interpreting the question to suit your
interests or level of knowledge. Seek clarification from your lecturer
where necessary. It is often a good idea to highlight key words in the
essay question and use them to structure your essay.

2. Researching
Be thorough in your researching and try to locate as wide a variety of
sources as possible i.e books, journals, texts, internet articles. Make
extensive use of legal databases for tracking down journal articles.
Many law journals are available online these days and you’ll find that
printing out web articles is much cheaper than photocopying from the
hard-copy journals.

3. Reading/note taking

This will no doubt be the longest part of the essay-writing process. You
should have a tentative essay plan in mind at this stage.

- Firstly skim through your sources and try to work out some
categories for your notes.
- Now read through each source thoroughly, highlighting your
printouts and tabbing your books, as you go.
- Record extensive dot-point notes for each category (either on
paper or on your word processor). Write/type out direct quotes
verbatim. Ensure that you record all of your references as you go
(trust us, this will make your life so much easier later on).

4. Planning
You probably won’t be able to finalise a definitive essay plan until after
you have teased out all of the relevant information from your sources.
The following diagram provides you with a useful way of planning out
your essay. ©

------------ Start broadly

- Define key terms

- Determine your
point of view on the

- Highlight your
main points.


The body is narrow

- Specifically answer
MAIN BODY the question.

- Use topic
Para 1 sentences and
linking paragraphs
- Don’t waffle!
- Reference quotes
Para 2

Para 3 ©

Para 4….


End broadly

- Reflect on your
main argument

- Highlight
implications of
your discussion for
the future.

5. Draft
The hard part! Personal writing styles will differ; some preferring to stick
rigidly to their plan and whittle down the essay in chunks; others taking
a stream of consciousness approach in order to just get everything up
on the screen before worrying about the text making any sense. Try to
follow your plan but by no means worry about writing in perfect English
at this stage. That’s what the next step is for. Make liberal use of direct
quotes and ensure that they are properly sourced.

6. Revising and refining

This is where you turn your shambolic ‘essay’ into a piece of solid gold
that you can be proud of hurling through the essay chute on due date
day. Be sure that you fully ANSWER THE QUESTION. It is imperative
that there is a logical argument flowing through your entire essay that is
easy for your marker to ascertain. If you have time, TAKE THE ESSAY
TO YOUR UNI’S STUDY-SKILLS CENTRE. The dedicated individuals ©

working at Study-Skills will be happy to read over your essay and give
you thoughtful criticism and advice.

7. Footnoting

Everything must be fully referenced in a law essay, not just direct

Don’t underestimate how long this can take you. Legal referencing is
very precise and particular. Find out which legal referencing style your
lectures prefer. It will no doubt be in the format of the SAL Citation
07.pdf ). If you keep a record of all your references as you go along,
you will avoid having to frantically fumble through your notes at 2am the
morning before its due, trying to work out where you pulled your quotes.

Happy essay-writing! ©

QN: Comment on the creditor’s right to exercise power of sale to sell the
mortgaged security at the current market value and the time when he can
exercise this power of sale.


It is trite law that a mortgagee is not a trustee in respect of his right to sell the Introduction
mortgaged property when the mortgagor is in breach of his obligations. However, it is to right of sale
also true that the mortgagee is not the absolute owner selling the property for his and duties of
own exclusive benefit. He has equitable duties with respect to the manner of the mortgagee as
exercise of his power of sale. The duties arise only and only when the mortgagee well as
exercises his power of sale, then he must have regard to the interest of the interest of

mortgagor as well as his own. mortgagor

Technically, the mortgagee’s power of sale arises when the money is due as per s
24(1)(a) CLPA and yet he is under no duty to follow the instructions of the mortgagor
in the timing of his power of sale. This was similarly the situation in Teo Siew Har v
powers and
OCBC Ltd, where the court affirmed the ruling in China & South Sea Bank v Tan
case law
Soon Gim that the mortgagor is under no such duty.

However, two points must be noted. This unlimited power as to when the sale can be
exercised may not be as unlimited as once thought. In the case of Palk v Mortgage
to right to
Services Funding Ltd, the court exercised its jurisdiction under s 91(2) of the Law of
sell: Case
Property Act [similar to our s 30(2) of the CLPA] and ordered a sale despite the
objections of the mortgage. Such judicial relief is rarely exercised in a case specific
content when otherwise injustice and unfairness would be suffered by the mortgagor.
In that case, the mortgagor was suffering from a financial hemorrhage as the
mortgagor had decided not to exercise his power of sale and the interest of the loan
continually grew. The mortgagee however, thought that it was in its interest to take
possession and let the property until property prices improved. In that case, Sir
Donald Nicholls considered the effect on the mortgagor as oppressive.

The above case was considered in Teo Siew Har,yet the court dismissed Palk on
very technical grounds that the mortgagee had not applied under s 30(2) of the CLPA
and was suing the mortgagor for the breach of equitable duty by not selling the
property when asked to.No judicial relief was granted and the court affirmed that the ©

mortgagor was under no duty to heed the mortgagee’s instruction as and when to
exercise his power of sale.

However, once the mortgagee exercises his power of sale, he does come under an
equitable duty to consider the interest of the mortgagor. In short the mortgagee has a
duty to act in good faith and to take reasonable steps to obtain the market value. The
statement in China & South Sea Bank is obviously not in line with the current case
laws. The requirement in law is that the mortgagee has a duty to take reasonable
steps to obtain the market value and not a duty to sell at market value. Even,if the
property was sold at a price below the market value, if the mortgagee is able to show
that despite his efforts to obtain a reasonable price, he failed, the mortgagee would
not be in breach of his equitable duties.

How is this duty to take reasonable steps satisfied then? The reasonable steps
cannot be classified into various categories nor neatly defined. They vary according
to the circumstances of the case. For example, in Cuckmere Brick v Mutual Finance,
steps criterion
it was held that the failure of the mortgagee’s agent to amend the advertisement of
via case law
the public auction to reflect the true planning approval limit granted, constituted a
failure to take reasonable steps. If the advertisement had been amended, the auction
could have fetched $21,000 pounds more.

The avenue via which the security is sold is up to the mortgagee. It should be noted
that in Tse Kwong Lam v Wong Chit Sen, the privy council held that public auction is
not evidence of taking reasonable steps to obtain best price. If it could be proven that
a private treaty would have fetched a higher price, it is possible to say that the
mortgagee has failed to take reasonable steps.

Similarly, case law has it that there isn’t a strict duty of advertising the sale. In Ng Mui
Mui v Indian Overseas Bank, the mortgagees were not obliged to advertise where
the sale was by a private treaty. However, it seems that though the mortgagee is not
under a duty to advertise the sale, he should make efforts to publicise the sale. As
under Sri Jaya Berhad v RHB Berhad, Rajendran J held that the mortgagee had not
taken proper steps to publicise the sale. The mortgagee ought to have used private
agents to sell the property privately and the mere spreading the information of sale
was not sufficient. Interestingly, when the sale is by way of public auction, the
mortgagee ought to input sufficient particulars of the sale and property and ensure ©

that notice of the sale is sufficient. In Lee Nyet Khiong, the court held that the lack of
particulars on the property and short notice of the sale, proved that the mortgagee
had failed to take reasonable steps to obtain a reasonable value for the security.

The steps do not necessarily include a duty to evaluate the property. In Sri Jaya
Berhad v RHB Bank Berhad, the court held that obtaining an evaluation of the
property and benchmarking the sale according to the price evaluated went beyond
the scope of the mortgagee’s duty and asking such from the mortgagee was unduly

Similarly, where there are two or more buyers, the mortgagee ought to engage the
buyers in competition. The mortgagee ought not to reject a low bid without actively
negotiating with them. This is the same for buyers who are only willing to contract on
their own terms. Such was the situation in Lee Nyet Khiong.
In conclusion, the statement above has summed up the principle with regards to the :
mortgagee’s right to exercise the power of sale whenever he wants. However, when Summaris
it is extremely prejudicial, the courts might an order an sale under s 30(2) of the e the

CLPA. However, when the power is exercised, the mortgagee is bound by the effects of

equitable duty towards the mortgagor. He ought to exercise his right to sell in good the
faith and ought to take reasonable steps to obtain the best market price for the
duty the
seller is
bound by

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