Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pupillage Portal - The preparation begins.

The day is nearly upon us when once again Bar aspirants will pull on their Quidditch uniforms, sit astride their brooms, and try to catch the golden snitch of pupillage. I have made my 12 choices, printed the sample application form found here, and am currently filling a folder with research on the 12 chambers to which I shall be applying.

I thought that it might be helpful for others pursuing a criminal pupillage to reproduce the list I have made of purely criminal sets in London that as far as can be discerned for their websites or the Pupillage Portal are going to us the Pupillage Portal for their recruitment this year. This has been whittled down from the list of chambers which have crime as an element of their work to those who specialise only in crime.

It also shows (where applicable) which band they are in from the 2010 edition of Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession.

They are:

Dyers Buildings (Band 6)
Furnival Chambers (Band 5)
25 Bedford Row (Band 3)
1 Inner Temple Lane
18 Red Lion Court (Band 4)
Argent Chambers
2 Bedford Row (Band 1)
9 Bedford Row (Band 4)
9 - 12 Bell Yard (Band 4)
Blackfriars Chambers
Carmelite Chambers (Band 4)
Charter Chambers (Band 5)
Farringdon Chambers
187 Fleet Street (Band 5)
Atkinson Bevan Chambers (Band 5)
2 Hare Court (Band 2)
6 KBW - Chambers of David Fisher QC and David Perry QC (Band 1)
10 Kings Bench Walk
9 Lincoln’s Inn Fields (Band 6)
One Paper Buildings
Five Paper Buildings (Band 4)
QEB Hollis Whiteman (Band 2)
3 Raymond Buildings (Band 1)
3 Temple Gardens - Chambers of John Coffey QC
23 Essex Street (Band 5)

Please let me know if I have missed any out. All the best and good luck


Sunday, January 31, 2010

I know it's been a long time but life is busy...

I know that this has been the longest period of inactivity on this blog for a very long time and I am sure that the miniscule readership that I previously had has now disappeared but with a bit of spare ime on my hands I thought it would be good to post this short message as a way of getting the ball rolling again and posting more often.

The BVC has been harder than I expected not in terms of complexity but purely in the absolutely mind blowing amount of work that is required by BPP. I must admit that there have been a few wobbles this term about whether or not this was a wise choice, however three VCs and an Outstanding in the recent round of assessments has helped. This has given me a new vigour and enthusiasm for the course, and with missing out on an outstanding in advocacy by very few marks (2% to be exact), I am determined to go the extra mile in the next assessments.

The big surprise of these marks was the outstanding for Legal Research which I was sure was going to be a pile of crap and score a low competent if that. Wonders never cease. Before I sign off I just wanted to let you know that the next post will be on the two recent cases involving mothers helping their children to die. I may also post on my impressions of the Chilcot inquiry.

All the best


Saturday, August 29, 2009

BPP Registration Drinks (Events dear boy, events!)

A very short post to invite any readers of this blog who will be starting at BPP on the 7th to a drinking session after registration. Anyone who is interested should e-mail me at:

barorbust at googlemail dot com

I look forward to meeting you on the 7th. I am in one of the lower numbered groups so will be registering form 11:30 onwards.

See you then


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pupillage Interview

As some readers may recall, I only made the one application for pupillage this year to a non-olpas set. The Chambers in question is very respected in its field and I was unsure whether or not I would be invited for an interview.

You can imagine my joy and surprise on Saturday when I found an e-mail from said chambers thanking me for my application and that could I attend an interview on Wednesday. Unfortunately I couldn't express my happiness fully at this point as I was in the Apple store in Cambridge, but it is possible that I may have performed a small jig very similar to this.

After spending a small fortune on Tuesday buying a very nice new suit and dropping into the careers centre at BPP for a quick chat, I arrived on Wednesday eager to impress and desperate to make a good impression. This of course was well hidden under a professional and calm exterior (or at least that was the plan).

I know that analysing interviews and worrying about them is as useless as doing the same with exams, however for the information and edification of readers here are my thoughts.

The advocacy exercise went okay, however I didn't feel as though my answers were particularly good. I held up well under the pressure but it didn't flow as well as I would have liked. The questions afterwards went very well with good strong answers that made reference to my work experience and achievements. I am unsure as to whether I will get a call back, I am hoping that the answers will make up for the slightly less impressive advocacy exercise and warrant another go.

I should find out next week sometime all being well. I am applying to another three non-olpas sets in the next couple of weeks, and if nothing else this has been a useful experience. Another plus is that I obviously have something of worth on my CV and hopefully should be able to replicate this success at the paper stage in the future.

I hope that all is well, and I hope that everyone else is looking forward to starting the BVC in just over a weeks time as much as I am.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

BPP Mixing Event

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending a pre-course mixing event at BPP. The actual presentation part of the evening was not particularly useful, however I did not really go for this reason. I went because I thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to:

  1. Meet some people who would be doing the BVC with me and start to make some friends;
  2. Enjoy the hospitality of the law school (short for drink the free booze);
  3. Pick up a few freebies (pens, sticky pads, all the usual crap you get at those sort of functions).

I am very pleased to say that I had an absolutely fantastic time and managed to accomplish all three tasks. I met lots of very nice people, I came away with some new pens and sticky pads, I drank a decent amount of the free wine (chardonnay was okay, Merlot not so great) and then went down the pub on the corner of Red Lion Street and continued drinking with my new found friends.

There is a slight danger that I may end up spending a little too much time at the pub, however I am sure that if I think about the amount of money I am spending on the BVC I will be spurred back into action. It is maybe a little bit sad, and I know that Lost thinks I am strange and a glutton for punishment for choosing BPP, but I am really looking forward to starting in September. All I have to do now is think which of the very worthy pro bono opportunities I want to get involved if FRU doesn't provide enough work.

All the best


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Re-visiting Rape

I am always interested to see that people have commented on my posts, and it seems that there have been a number of replies concerning the post on Harriet Harman’s views on rape.

It seems that most people would agree that trying to set to set arbitrary targets is not the solution to the problem of low rape convictions. There does seem to have been some disagreement as to the issue of directions by the Judge, a topic which I did not address as fully as that of targets.

In the comments section Marjorie replied:

You said "Firstly it goes without saying that rape is an horrendous and vile crime. Women (or men for that matter), do not "ask for it", and the victim is left seriously damaged."

Unfortunately one of the reasons that rape convictions are so low is because that *doesn't* go without saying. There are still many people who think that women who wear revealing clothing, drink or who have any sexual history are 'asking for it' or contributing towards the attack.

Firstly I stand by my statement. Rape is an abhorrent crime and no one, male or female, asks for it. This is a statement of fact rather than general opinion, and it would the brave and misguided person who argues otherwise.

Marjorie then goes on to comment:

For a Judge to give directions which specifically remind the jury that wearing attractive clothes, drinking, flirting or having had sex in the past do *not* constitute consent or allow consent to be presumed are wholly reasonable. *

Let us picture the scene. A Jury is listening to the closing speeches of the prosecution and the defence after having all the evidence placed before them. The prosecution have made the point that just because the girl was drinking, wearing revealing clothing, and had flirted with the guy, did not mean that she would have consented to the sex. The defence on the other hand put it simply that the defendant was out drinking, he flirted with a girl who reciprocated, and they had consensual sex.

Is it then fair for the Jury to be addressed by the Judge who includes in his closing statement an endorsement of the prosecution’s closing speech?

The real crux of the matter here is how do we secure more rape convictions? The differing opinions are analogous to the raging debate on equality. Do we aim for equality of opportunity, or equality of outcome? The target and direction camp are similar to the equality of outcome proponents. The line goes “There is a problem, and the way to deal with it is to alter the process so that we achieve the desired outcome. Therefore as we have a difficulty with perception surrounding rape cases we should weight the process in favour of the complainant”.

This suffers from a huge flaw, especially when applied to the justice system, in that Lady Justice is blind. There should not be an altering of the system to try and achieve a desired outcome one way or the other. The only objective should be that the evidence and trial are presented to the jury in a manner which is fair to both sides. It is submitted that the only fair way to achieve a higher conviction rate is:

1) Substantially increase funding and training so that every area has a committed sex crimes unit with specially trained police officers who know how to deal with complaints properly;
2) Spend more money on educating the public that no one asks to be raped and that behaviour such as flirting, drinking, and promiscuity does not necessarily mean that the sex was consensual, or that the rape was in some way deserved;
3) Work with the media to move away from the myth that rape is only ever committed by strangers down dark alleyways.

The first point will do the most to improve the number of rape convictions, closely followed by the second. However the real problem with rape is that it is primarily a crime where it is one person’s word against another. There will always be a problem in proving rape, but at least with the above system we stand a chance of improving things without damaging the impartiality justice system. I don’t think the point can be better illustrated then by this quote from Blackstone:

“Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”

There was also another comment from Recorta:

Rape and perceptions of rape are still a BIG problem regardless of what BoB believes is obvious. *

What I believe to be obvious, as stated above, is that rape is a terrible crime and that this goes without saying. I did not at any point claim that rape is not a big problem.

A standard set of guidance to be issued to the jury prior to the trial's start would probably be the best way to avert the sort of problem you seem to be envisaging, where after a defence has been made a judge might appear to subtly undermine it by giving 'guidance'. *

So under this formulation the Judge gets the boot into the defence’s case before any evidence is given. The subtext to any direction such as this would be “I totally disagree with anything the defence will submit on these points and so should you”. Again this is interfering at the wrong end of the process.

I hope that this has been helpful to state my position clearer and if anyone would like to express a different point of view then I would be more than happy to put their reply up as a guest post. Please let me know at the e-mail address to the right.

All the best


*All comments are reproduced from the comment list found below, and are unchanged except for some spelling mistakes.

A Shameless Plug...

As some of the more observant readers of this blog may have noticed there is a new picture at the top of the right hand column. If you click on the picture you will find yourself whisked away to the All About Law website, a very useful source of information on all things legal including lots of careers advice.

I certainly recommend having a look whether you want to be a Barrister or a Solicitor, it caters for both sides of the profession.

All the best