Legal London Trip 2016
Twenty enthusiastic first year students participated in this year’s annual Legal London Trip supported by Clifford Chance. Led by Lezel Crook and Monty Silley (both Foreign Language Communication Programme) over a 5 day visit, the group gained a unique insight into prominent legal institutions at the very heart of the common law world.
Walking through the Palace of Westminster, students first had an inside view at the Houses of Parliament where laws are made. This was followed by visits to various levels of courts where those laws are applied. Educational tours of the Royal Courts of Justice and UK Supreme Court in particular gave students a deeper understanding of how the country’s judiciary works. Students didn’t only hear about how the courts function though, they also got to watch some real cases in action! First, a defendant’s riveting testimony in an attempted murder trial at the Old Bailey led to an intriguing debate over his guilt or innocence and a deeper understanding of the jury’s role in deciding that. Later, at the UK Supreme Court, students heard oral arguments at their final stage of appeal and also experienced how the highest court of the land sets new precedent with the Justices handing down judgements. In addition, a visit to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution introduced concepts of ADR and showed that not all disputes need go to court in the first place.
Visits to international law firms Clifford Chance and Norton Rose Fulbright offered a view into the types of matters dealt with by solicitors acting for sophisticated cross-border businesses. Here, the students had the opportunity to meet lawyers who answered a myriad of questions regarding the practice of law and career options between England and Germany.
After an educational walking tour around the Inns of Court and their sumptuous gardens, the students then got the chance to meet a practicing barrister. A formal lunch in the marvelous Middle Temple Hall was certainly a highlight, accompanied with an educational talk and tour of these legendary training grounds for advocacy, where the students were amused by wearing the characteristic barrister wigs for themselves.
The group bonded further over dinners, a visit to a typical English pub, other sightseeing and a musical performance of Wicked. With so much packed into what seemed to be such little time, the most precious souvenirs brought back home were the countless memories that were made!