Bucerius Law School’s 2023 Legal London Trip

After a four-year COVID break, 19 students took part in the Foreign Language Communication Programme’s annual “Legal London” trip again.

In their second trimester, Bucerius students participate in the Foreign Language Communication Programme’s Introduction to Common Law course, where they learn all about the English common law, including its history and institutions. On the Legal London trip, the students were able to see some of these elements of English common law in action.


Magna Carta and US soil

On Sunday, on the way from Heathrow airport to London proper, the students made a stop at the historic Runnymede site, where the Magna Carta was sealed more than 800 years ago. Students also viewed The Jurors, an artwork composed of twelve bronze chairs memorializing key historical moments of freedom and justice worldwide. The students also spent a few moments on a patch of U.S. soil at a memorial to former US President John F. Kennedy, before warming up in the site’s tearoom.


Court tours and corporate law firm visits

The students started Monday off with a visit to Old Bailey, London’s historic Central Criminal Court, where they observed stages of criminal trials complete with wigged barristers questioning witnesses before a wigged judge and the twelve members of the jury. That afternoon, they toured the civil courts in the majestic building housing the Royal Courts of Justice.

They ended the day with an Inns of Court Walking Tour, on which their quintessentially British tour leader—undaunted by the heavy rain—explained the function of the Inns of Court in the process of becoming a barrister in England while she pointed out the historic Inns of Court sites.

The students returned to this area later in the week, when they dined in Middle Temple’s magnificent Elizabethan dining hall, after hearing a talk on the history of the inn and the barristers’ profession—and taking turns trying on a barrister’s scratchy wig. On Tuesday, the students got a taste of practice at two corporate law firms, with visits to Clifford Chance’s impressive offices in London’s Canary Wharf and McDermott Will & Emery’s office in the heart of the city.



Supreme Court and House of Parliament

Wednesday morning was spent at the UK Supreme Court, where students witnessed the handing down of a judgment regarding vicarious liability of a church for the tortious action of a church leader, before sitting in on cases about unionization of Deliveroo drivers and a decision being appealed from the Supreme Court of Mauritius. The students spent the afternoon at the Houses of Parliament at Westminster where they witnessed English law-making in action as they sat first in the House of Commons public gallery observing a lively debate about immigration and asylum law, and later in a committee discussion about AI’s effect on the labour market.

On Thursday, Students explored alternatives to litigation during their visit to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) and visited the chambers of a civil barrister with a very diverse international practice—including some work involving Germany’s BGB.


Lastly: theatre and pub scene

There was also time for some fun on the trip. For many students, one of the highlights was attending a captivating theatre performance of Agatha Christie’s famed courtroom drama Witness for the Prosecution, which took place in London County Hall. The venue is particularly impressive, as it was once an actual court.  Students also fit in some sightseeing and found time to experience the English pub scene – one group managed to survey 18 different pubs during their time in London. All in all, the trip was a great blend of information and fun.



Lindsey Griffith