I was not sure what to expect when going into the second month of pupillage amidst a second lockdown; however, I was pleasantly surprised at how little it affected my pupillage experience! A huge factor in this is how much members of chambers have rallied around the pupils to ensure we know and feel that we have a support base. Despite chambers being quieter than usual, the effort members have made to consistently check-in, and offer advice has been much appreciated.
I am rapidly gaining knowledge of the criminal law in practice through shadowing my supervisor Mr. Jarmola. My understanding of criminal law has been strengthened every day through attending different hearings, in differing Midlands courts, in front of a variety of judges. I am especially learning a great deal through watching Mr. Jarmola conduct conferences; particularly how to communicate and explain a complicated law or charge in layman’s terms to a client. This month, I also had the opportunity to work on an article for Chambers on the new Sentencing Act 2020 with Callum Church. The responsibility of researching and writing the content was a great experience.
One of the highlights of this month has been watching a multiple defendant murder trial from start to finish with Dafydd QC and Justin Jarmola prosecuting. Over the course of two weeks, I have been privileged to watch three varying displays of captivating advocacy from three QC’s. It was particularly interesting to hear experienced silks debate the legal principles of joint enterprise in relation to the facts of the case.
Additionally, earlier this month the pupils completed our first in-house advocacy exercise! A road traffic accident case bundle was created for us to prepare as our own. It is encouraging that members of chambers including last year’s pupils gave up time out of their busy diaries to play the witnesses and provide us with structured feedback. The feedback was incredibly useful and highlighted what we did well, but also areas of improvement. The sessions will no doubt continue to prepare us to feel confident for when we get ‘on our feet’ in April.
By Queenie Djan
The end of October marks the end of our first month as pupils at St Ives Chambers. It must be said from the outset that commencing pupillage in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been somewhat unusual. Just as all walks of life have had to adapt to the circumstances, so too has the life of a pupil. However, although the circumstances may be different, both the support that we have received and the calibre of the work that we have seen have been second to none.
Since first arriving in Chambers, members and staff alike have taken time out of their busy schedules to ensure that we are made to feel incredibly welcome. Whilst we may not be able to meet in the usual ways, there are plenty of people at the end of the phone, or even a Zoom call. There is always someone to reach out to whenever we have any questions, no matter how small or trivial they may seem.
This month I have primarily been observing my supervisors in a number of housing and property matters, alongside shadowing other members of chambers in a wide range of civil cases. I have had the benefit of undertaking a broad range of work including, attending hearings (both remote and in person), observing client conferences and attempting a number of pieces of ‘paper work’ myself.
In many ways the increased use of remote hearings has been of great value. Where it would not be possible to attend a number of court centres in person in a single day, the use of remote technology has meant that I have been able to observe a wider range of complex and interesting cases remotely. Further, although remote and hybrid hearings pose their own unique challenges, it seems apparent that they are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Observing my supervisors expertly navigate this type of hearing from such an early stage has allowed me to begin to develop the necessary skills from the ground up. Nonetheless, I have also enjoyed attending a number of courts across the Midlands in person and meeting solicitors whenever possible (albeit at a social distance).
By observing my supervisors, I have begun to build upon my academic knowledge of law and procedure and develop the practical skills that cannot be found in a book. For instance, the opportunity to discuss the tactical decisions made during a case with my supervisors has been invaluable. I particularly enjoyed attending both the Annual Housing Conference series and the Annual Property Conference, which took place via Zoom. It was extremely helpful to listen to the barristers’ sharing their practical expertise on a number of pertinent areas of law. It was a real privilege to be able to contribute to the Property Conference, albeit in a small way, by assisting in the preparation.
Whilst it is undoubtedly an unusual time to begin pupillage, I think I can speak for all three pupils in saying that we feel truly fortunate to be undertaking pupillage at such a fantastic set and look forward to what the rest of the year has to offer.