Helena Beasley of the University of Sheffield has won the SCL Essay Prize.
The winner of the SCL Essay Prize 2006 has been announced. Helena Beasley, a 24-year-old MA student in the School of Law at the University of Sheffield, has been adjudged the winner. She wins a cheque for £1,000, free attendance at SCL events to the value of £500 for the period 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007, free subscription to Computers & Law for that year and the opportunity to spend one week with the Information Technology Team at Olswang (www.olswang.com) for vacation work experience.
The 2006 SCL Essay competition focused on one of the hot Internet topic of the moment - the use and abuse of cyberspace for criminal purposes. The prescribed title was “Tackling Crime in Cyberspace: A Legal Issue?”. Helena's winning entry is now published on the site as a Web article and will appear in the June/July issue of the magazine. Entries this year were of a high standard, with a total of 17 entries; Helena's essay was highly rated by all the judges but there were a number of essays which might have been worthy of the prize in another year- Christopher Barclay, Bryony Betts and Laura Sanson were all shortlisted for the prize.
Helena could still scarcely believe her good fortune when interviewed about her victory. She was “really, really surprised” but quite clearly overjoyed. She was especially pleased about the opportunity to work with Olswang's IT law team as IT law was her preferred area of specialisation because it was “appealing and fast-moving” and Olswang had been identified by her as a favoured firm. One of the modules in Helena's course is Internet crime and Helena was at pains to thank her tutor on that course, Dr M Wykes, for producing a stimulating and interesting module which had provoked much thought - and for bringing the SCL Essay Prize competition to the attention of her students.
Helena remained in ignorance of her success for days after the judgment was made as she was camping in the countryside, surrounded by New Forest ponies, while SCL made increasingly desperate attempts to get in touch with her. She returned to Sheffield to work on her dissertation to discover that she had won a pony - 40 times over!