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3:00 PM 26th March 2021
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Ripon Grammar Student Wins Oxford Prize

Tom Cave
Tom Cave
Aspiring lawyer and Ripon Grammar School sixth form student Tom Cave has won a coveted prize in a prestigious University of Oxford competition which attracted entries from all over the world.

Tom’s essay, which grappled with a complex legal issue, was selected from an exceptionally competitive international field to win a place at the elite university’s online legal workshops.

Corpus Christi College outreach officer Katharine Baysan said Tom’s entry in the legal reasoning competition was highly commended in a group of 84 particularly strong entries as a result of its strength of argument and clarity of writing.

“It clearly engaged with the materials and sought to understand their meaning and effect,” she said.

Tom, from Burton Leonard, studying psychology, biology and design technology at A-level, had to analyse, using legislative texts, how the law would apply to a case revolving around negligence for his entry to the Peter Cane Legal Reasoning Prize.

He decided to enter the competition in order to put recent knowledge gained after doing some wider law reading to good use:
“I thought it would also be beneficial to gain some extra research skills which would be helpful for my extended project qualification (EPQ) and for life after school,” he said.

Tom has been examining whether Whole Life Orders are justified on the basis of human rights and criminal justice for his EPQ during lockdown:

“Offenders can spend their whole life in prison without possibility of parole and I’m examining whether it’s acceptable to remove their hope as well as their liberty.”

The 17-year-old, who volunteers at the Ripon Walled Garden and is hoping to complete his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award this year, has also begun virtual work experience with international corporate law firm White & Case over lockdown:

“Although the tasks are rigorous and difficult, they are hugely informative and give me an insight into commercial law which I hope to go into in the future.”

He has also entered the UK Supreme Court Student Writing Competition, this time discussing stop and search powers in the UK:

“What caught my attention for this competition is the first prize, being to spend a day at the Supreme Court and have tea with a judge, though it’s unlikely I’ll win it!”

The biggest challenge he faced in the Oxford competition was learning about the law of tort and negligence he said:

“This is a difficult area and having to applymy knowledge to a specific case to produce a justified and fair conclusion was certainly a challenge, it took a lot of reading.

“I was very surprised to be highly commended on my first essay. I put in as much effort as I could and I’m grateful it’s paid off.”

Ms Baysan added:
“We were lucky to receive so many high-quality submissions this year, with the best entries focusing closely on the materials provided and comparing their different approaches to the difficult issue of multiple causation.”

Tom was presented with a certificate detailing his achievement at a prize-giving with Professor Peter Cane and invited to a law faculty taster day, in addition to the online workshops.

*The Peter Cane Prize was launched in 2017 and seeks to promote engagement with the ideas and reasoning behind law and legal studies, and particular to encourage those from all backgrounds and walks of life to apply to engage with the academic study of law. The prize is named after the distinguished lawyer, Professor Peter Cane, an internationally acclaimed scholar of legal theory, obligations and public law, and Corpus’ first dedicated law fellow.