I have it on good authority that established academics tend not to write many case notes any more. This is because they do not qualify for the REF, and therefore are not a good use of time where there are plenty of other pressures.

The corollary of this is that early career researchers have better opportunities to cut their teeth on case notes, both in terms of developing writing skills and getting their names about.

It remains to be seen how well this works for me. Certainly I have got through the formal part of that process. As well as the rather facetious piece on FHR European Ventures LLP v Cedar Capital Partners LLC [2014] 3 WLR 535 I blogged on earlier, I wrote a serious case note analysing that decision. I’m delighted to say that, after minor corrections, it will be published in issue 6 (November/December 2014) of The Conveyancer and Property Lawyer.

For obvious reasons I cannot reproduce my argument here fully. However, the gist of my argument is that the focus of the courts’ attention has switched from ‘property reasoning’, i.e. the preservation of property rights or the creation of property rights from obligations close to property, to the vulnerability of the principal, especially to fiduciaries who deliberately attempt to hide their secret profits from the courts. The strictness of FHR in holding that there is always a proprietary remedy when a fiduciary takes a bribe or secret commission suggests the courts are now focused on ensuring there is an effective enforcer rather than the desert of the claimant. Better the claimant receives a windfall than the wrongdoer keeps the illicit gain.

I should also add that the feedback from the anonymous referee was of an extremely high standard. Clearly when one is researching new topics and cases the number of people able to comment so incisively is severely reduced. The publishing process, then, like conference presentations, becomes a vital part of the scholarly process of developing and communicating one’s ideas effectively.