The Annual Legal London Trip 2015

At the break of dawn one April morning a group of enthusiastic first-year LL.B. students left Hamburg and embarked on the annual Clifford Chance Legal London Trip.

For the next five days a record 20 students, led by Lezel Crook and Monty Silley (both Foreign Language Communication Programme), were exposed to a breadth of legal organisations around the English capital.

Starting with a tour of the U.K. Parliament, students passed through the Palace of Westminster, and the small green and red-benched rooms where the country's leaders crowded-in for centuries to debate and make new laws. A guided walk around the four Inns of Court was a good recap of Legal English lessons on the English legal system, peppered with fascinating historical anecdotes and a good dose of dry British humour. Blessed with good weather, it allowed students to observe the serene oasis of the wigged barrister, architecturally marvellous structures surrounded by lush gardens in the heart of the City. Later, at a talk at Middle Temple, students were afforded the opportunity to discover how a classic horse-hair wig fitted on their very own heads, and took the necessary selfies to prove it!

Visits at Clifford Chance and Norton Rose Fulbright were not only impressive for their skyscraper vistas and extensive facilities, including office squash-courts and even a swimming pool, but also offered valuable insight into cross-border practice at international law firms. Tours of the courts deepened the students’ understanding of the judicial process, including witnessing part of a real criminal trial at perhaps the most famous trial court in the world: The Old Bailey. Educational tours through the old, technologically challenged and cathedral-like Royal Courts of Justice, to the more modern and abstract-designed U.K. Supreme Court, allowed student to sit in different judges’ (quite comfortable) seats and discuss interesting recent cases. This was complimented by excellent seminars at the ICLR (Incorporated Council of Law Reporting), on publishing the precedents decided by these courts, and the CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution), on alternative dispute resolution practice.

A formal lunch in the spectacular dining Hall of Middle Temple, a grandiose setting filled with heraldry befitting Harry Potter, and a fun outing to Elton John's musical Billy Elliot ensured no shortage of good memories. The group was able to explore the charms of London, and learn a great deal while enjoying themselves each day, which lead to a consensus regarding the only bad thing about this trip: that it passed by too quickly!

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Ronald Montague Silley, Anglo-American Law Lecturer, Foreign Language Communication Programme

Hamburg