An Update On My Results

Thanks for following my journey into law and my experience on the bar course. You may recall that back in November I posted about criminal conference as my assessment was due to take place in December. A lot has happened since then. I’ve been very depressed and had my ups and downs over the last month. Today I checked my results.

This month, February, is particularly busy in terms of completing mock assessments. I completed a mock drafting assessment in December where I had to complete a defence and counterclaim (D&CC). Sadly, I did not do as well as I hoped on that. I also recently completed another D&CC and didn’t do too well again. I was getting the marks, but one or two marks from what I should have got. But, the good news is this, the final drafting assessment for the D&CC which is the 21st this month, is the same type of law and area as the one we just completed. This is a relief, as it means, that I believe I can do well since I already have a grounding and example of what is expected in this. I pray to God to let me succeed, please.

Yesterday I also pumped out a professional opinion. The opinion writing mock assessment. To be honest, the brief was 10 pages which was a huge relief. I also spent an hour letting it sink in, before realising the area of law that I needed to research. I hope I was correct in both my research and in the matters in issue. It concerned a case of work being completed which later turned out to be dangerous, and there was no contract in place as the architect had done the work for free. If anyone knows a little about this, feel free to drop a message below!

I also have a professional ethics mock this month. Apparently there is a 2 week window to complete the mock assessment. I do not know when this is since it is not shown. Anyway, I hope I do well. It is 1 hour 30 minutes. Ethics seems to be an area that hasn’t been taught to us as students, and the university seem to have left it all to self study, which I find unfair since we are paying for the course and if this module is expected to be examined on, then we should receive classes on it.

This was a brief post so I thank you for stopping by and continuing to read about my journey. I passed the conference assessment. Now, I just need to pass the real drafting assessment on the 21st. Yes, I am scared and yes, I really will do my best. I also have next week off, a sort of revision week in which I intend to go over all the drafting materials and feedback that I can find. Wish me luck, and may God guide me through this challenging time.

Criminal advocacy 101

Journey into law.

The continuing quest to enter the profession of the noble and historic barrister. I’ve been blessed to be able to sit in this warm apartment with my heating. I am blessed to be able to buy ready made meals, drinks and ‘accessories’ on will. Not everyone has those blessings or opportunities. A significant population of the world does not have access to clean water, nor do they get 3 meals a day… they may go hungry for days because they can’t afford food or there simply isn’t any available. Many live in unsanitary conditions and have to live in shacks. They are at the knife point of various drug and trafficking gangs and a lot will be killed before they reach their 20th birthday.

When you conjure up an image of justice in your mind, do you automatically picture a 1st world country court? Perhaps you envision a revolution, a crown court trial, a mother receiving restitution for the wrongly gained, or a child being reunited with their lost parents. Subjective, arguably, is the perception of justice. Not so fast, you see there is a definition and it goes like this ( according to –

1) The quality of being just; fairness: in the interest of justice, we should treat everyone the same

2.a.) The principle of moral rightness; decency. b) Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness: argues for the justice of his cause.

3.a) The attainment of what is just, especially that which is fair, moral, right, merited, or in accordance with law: my client has not received justice in this hearing.

So we seek to maintain a just, fair society which is morally correct and any breach of that is to treat people differently and to breach the law. Of course, nowadays treating people differently has indeed become a criminal offence in some cases. You couldn’t now in the 21st century get away with homophobic or racist remarks. But, merely 50 years ago and indeed not even that long, people were saying these things more often. I personally don’t think there has been much of a change, but there is the fear now that one is breaching the law if they were to make such a ‘remark.’ Civilised society has become a bubble wrapped and tightly controlled arena, with the big cats with the money influencing huge policy makers and government. Private investment into new technologies and advertising has seen the general population brainwashed by morality propaganda. I’m not justifying those racist or homophobic remarks, or anything else that would breach protected characteristics according to the Equality Act 2010. Some of those include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership and pregnancy or maternity. But, rather, I am saying that morality doesn’t need to be enforced, it is learned and one can choose to obey or not to obey. The latter will see you (if caught) being persecuted by the state or private corporation. The former will also do the same, rendering you a slave to the idea that somehow those individuals are ‘targeted’ and ‘victims.’ If you cry wolf that doesn’t mean you care what happens to the victims.

Trying to control what people think and telling them how to behave is a sure fire way to provoke even the most docile of humans. Why? Because we have autonomy and freedom of thought. You can tell a group not to discuss the elephant in the room, but at the end of the day, it’s there and they will discuss it. Criminal justice has been spiraling downwards for a number of years. Legal aid cuts, fewer pupillage spaces and a general lack of money at the bar drives people away from this extremely tiring job. Criminal barristers spend more time working than they are paid for. If society wants a just and accepting place for all, then instead of stoking the fires of inequality, hatred and fear, instead focus on improving the structure already in place and provide Just and moral outcomes within the criminal justice system, adjust the propaganda machine accordingly. We don’t want people in prison based on their opinions of society, we want people to be able to live freely and without fear.

Thanks for reading. Namaste and peace be with you.

Welcome to the start of my journey!

As some of you may know, I have just recently completed my LLB degree. As a recent graduate (unable to attend a graduation ceremony yet) I feel extremely glad to have achieved what I have up to now – a degree in law. Graduating with a 2.1 upper second class undergrad LLB is an honour, and I graduate with honours.

This is when the real journey starts. Granted, I could have recorded my progress on my LLB and I considered doing so many times. The time wasn’t right and at the end of the day, the journey starts now, not during a course when you have no clue as to the future.

Satan once said that… no quotes from the devil in the same post as the law! A honourable and age old profession, lawyers are one of the oldest professions in the world. The legal profession has its origin in ancient Greece and Rome. Not quite as old as toolmakers or tailors, but relatively. If a couple of thousand years counts. To this day, the barristers of England and Wales must be a member of one of the four Inns of Court. Namely, the Lincolns Inn, Grays Inn, Middle Temple and Inner Temple. The temples have roots in the knights templar and the original knights templar Temple Church is located within Inner Temple grounds. Hosting the yearly ‘crossing the bar’ ceremonies. Some would say that the general area of Temple, London, is one big elite showground where big money talks and large, costly infrastructure gentrifies you as soon as you enter the area. Notable for its historic buildings, including the Royal Courts of Justice building, a recognisable legal piece.

See the source image
Picture from Bing images.

The barristers of England and Wales also get a reputation for being paid a lot. I can assure you that with some research and general internet reading that this is not the case. Solicitors have the stability and high pay of prestigious law firms and they instruct barristers to work in court on their clients behalf. A steady income for many. Barristers on the other hand are self employed, earning from the work they do and not a penny more. They have chambers rent, overheads, accountant fees, clerk fees, travel costs, indemnity insurance and the list is rather extensive. Naturally the longer they practice the more of a reputation they have and more income. Trainee barristers completing their ‘pupillage’ – a year long apprenticeship with chambers, are given a lump sum of money at the start… and criminal law is abysmal both in terms of pupillage awards and general pay, probably being the lowest paid out of all areas coupled with public law.

So they don’t earn a lot off the bat. In fact, they have accumulated in the region of £50-£60,000 in debt to become a barrister. It’s a 3 part journey. First, the degree. I say degree, because you can complete any degree, yes any, and then complete a 1 year graduate diploma in law (GDL) before progressing to stage 2, the bar practice or vocational course (BPC). They have recently updated the courses and now there are more options when choosing this path, including splitting the course into two, but more on that later. So, the GDL is essentially a fast track course and to be honest, I do not accept that GDL students can possibly learn and comprehend 3 years of law study in a year, including exams.

Anyway, rage aside, from either the law degree or GDL you go onto the barrister training course. The course consists of theoretical and practical exams, mock trials, plenty of advocacy and courtroom practice, mooting, pro bono (if you want) and the possibility to combine a master of law (LLM) with the course.

The costs for the bar course and a masters is going to set you back between £13,000 to £20,000, depending on study location and university or institute offering it. Passing the course is hard like anything else, more so for law students as its tons of reading and stressful work hours. There is also no guarantee of passing nor of going on to successfully get a pupillage. Many graduates work as paralegals during their courses to gain invaluable experience. I am completing pro bono voluntary work currently with an ‘environmental’ law firm. Don’t worry, I won’t blame the course fees on the environment.

So there you have it. I hope this post is of interest to someone out there. I also hope you enjoyed reading it. I will be posting things on this page, including photos when I get a camera phone again, so that you can follow my journey. It might be a weekly post, it may be a monthly post. All I know is, I can’t wait to sip that cold mojito on that warm beach.