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.