The week started in a bustle of Autumn weather and a brilliant mock Debate by George Moore QC who along with a team of experienced litigators explained the procedures of an options hearing and Debate.This was brilliant experience for us diploma students as this is a practical course and we need to know what actually happens during the stages of litigation.Between classes in civil litigation I was preparing my submission for the Sheriff Moot with my new mooting partner matthew Lennon.
I only met Matthew 6 weeks ago and we have never mooted together so having two weeks to prepare for a prestigious moot in the Sheriff court was a challenge.We worked well together dividing up the problem and set about drafting our submission.One of the last areas we focussed on was our presentation skills.Matthew and I are both winning mooters at competition level and of course we are professionals.A few adjustments on both sides and we had a slick and well polished argument.
Tuesday 26th October 2010 was a landmark day in the history of the Law in Scotland as the descision of the UK Supreme Court judgement in Cadder v HM Advocate was released at 9.30 am.
I printed off the descision and packed all 50 plus pages into my bag to read.The effects of the judgement are that the Law In Scotland does not conform with the European Convention Human Rights and that an accused must have a access to a lawyer.(see link to judgement above)
Lord Hope states
“It is remarkable that, until quite recently, nobody thought that there wasanything wrong with this procedure. Ever since the statutory power to question asuspect prior to charge was introduced by sections 1 to 3 of the Criminal Justice(Scotland) Act 1980, the system of criminal justice in Scotland has proceeded onthe basis that admissions made by a detainee without access to legal advice duringhis detention are admissible. Countless cases have gone through the courts, anddecades have passed, without any challenge having been made to that assumption.Many more are or awaiting trial – figures were provided to the court which indicate there are about 76,000 such cases – or are being held in the systempending the hearing of an appeal although not all of them may be affected by thedecision in this case. There is no doubt that a ruling that the assumption waserroneous will have profound consequences. But there is no room, in the situationwhich confronts this court, for a decision that favours the status quo simply ongrounds of expediency. The issue is one of law, as the court appreciated in McLean. It must be faced up to, whatever the consequences”
The practical changes will be witnessed over the coming weeks as the Law in Scotland Changes.I will look forward to watching those changes as they occur.For the remainder of the week, at Uni, in Court and whilst meeting Legal professionals ‘Cadder’ is on the tip of everyone’s tongues.
Tuesday saw me back in the offices of http://www.roadtrafficlaw.com but only till 2pm Left the office and wandered through Kelvingrove park enroute to meet Matthew for the moot.Roadtrafficlaw solicitors is a very busy specialist law practice covering all courts in Scotland from Dumfries to Shetland and as you can imagine we have many calls, clients enquiries and cases to prepare.
My role involves the prepartion of the cases and includes taking precognition statements, discussing matters with Expert witnesses and travelling out to the Locus ( which is the place the incident occured). My office is very busy every moment I am there and working directly with such an experienced solicitors as Graham Walker has given me excellent experience.Graham offers me so much encouragement and gives me a lot of responsibilty too.
Part of my job includes discussing court dates with the Procurator Fiscal, citing witnesses for court and meeting with client.I really enjoy it and my experience I am gaining on the Diploma is also helping me with drafting as I have opportunity to draft petoo.
Arriving at the Sheriff court on Tuesday we were happy to be the first team arriving and this gave us a chance to carry out a sound test.Basically it was a really big court room and we practised our pitch and tone for a few moments to check that everyone at the back would be able to hear us.This annual competition between Glasgow University and Strathclyde University has been established for many years and this was the second time I have represented Glasgow for Matthew this was his first time.
As the court room began to fill up a tiny flutter of nerves hit me but I always think that is absolutely necessary and after around 100 or more spectators filled the seats Sheriff who was clerking the moot for Lord Bannatyne kicked things off with the announcement “court rise”
The Rt Hon Lord Bannatyne having served as a Temporary Judge of the Court of Session and of the High Court of Justiciary since 2003, Lord Bannatyne was appointed a Judge in November 2008.
Lord Bannatyne is a graduate of Strathclyde University. In 1979 he was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates. He was appointed a Temporary Sheriff in 1991. He served as an Advocate Depute from 1992 to 1995 and took silk in 1993. Lord Bannatyne was appointed as a Sheriff of Glasgow and Strathkelvin in 1995. From 1999 he was a Commercial Sheriff.(http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/biographies/bannatyne.asp?dir=sessionper Scotgov.courts )
Between 2001 and 2007 Lord Bannatyne was a member of the Sheriff Court Rules Council. He is the Joint Chairman of the Information Technology Committee of the Sheriff and Court of Session Rules Council.
On my feet I focussed only on the judge .One of the important things to remember when mooting is to watch the judges pen and have good eye contact.it is also really important to have a good pace when making ones submission and to remain unfaltered despite questions from the judge.
I was first on my feet and duly introduced both teams, made my three submissions and answered all of the judges question and after ten minutes I said ‘if I can be of no further assistance M’Lord I shall end my submission there’ and sat down.Matthew spoke for 15 minutes and the team for Strathclyde spoke for ten minutes and fithteen minutes too.They were very good and their argument was great.
It was a delight when Lord Bannatyne returned after considering submissions to award the trophy to Mathew and I and commend us for our moot.
Afterwards we had a glass of wine and some food and I had a chat with Lord bannatyne about going straight to the Bar.
It was a brilliant experience again and yet another mooting win for me but by the time it finished it was 9pm before i was heading home with even more homework ahead of me.
Matthew and I received a heros welcome at University the following day as we had reclaimed the trophy from Strathclyde and it now sits proudly in the law workshop.
I was very humbled as I walked through the University the next day as professors and Heads of department shook my hand to congratulate us and as the whole of the diplomas class 175 clapped .
I could not rest on that winning victory however as it was only Tuesday and so much more to get through in the week.
Wednesday brought conveyancing and two hours of black letter law followed by drafting of a disposition.Again I marvelled at how much I enjoy conveyancing ,perhaps it is because of the end product the thought of someone in their new property or It may be the historial interest in old registrations I do not know but it does fascinate me.
There was a welcome break to the day as i met solicitor Gavin Ward @WardblawG for lunch and a chat about law. I took the oppotunity to show him a very small offie in the University named after the film ‘Being John Malcovizc’ there is a door with a name plate Dr J Malchovitz on it in the Kelvin building at the University of Glasgow.
I was a student ambassador for years and enjoyed taking new students to see this hidden gem.
Thursday was a packed day of Private client tutorials where we completed forms and drafted client letters and worked through the process of quantifying an estate.
Criminal law lecture and tutorials focussed on the role of the procurator Fiscal and the Crown and we had an exercise in plea negotiations and plea bargaining.It was weird because having worked in a criminal law firm for over a year this was not new to me.I really enjoy the classes though as we have an excellent tutor and Sheriff Alfred Vannet makes our lectures so interesting.
A Senior Procurator Fiscal spoke about the direct of Cadder descision this week as the Crown begins to review cases already.
Rushing between classes i stopped off at the Mature Students Association on oakfield avenue where I was duly elected as Lady President for 2010.This is the third year I have held this position previously 2006-2007, 2208-2009 and now 2010-2011.I would have thought they would have been fed up with me by now but Its a casue dear to my heart as I feel very passionatley about learning and especially as a mature student.
The final Network 40 event was held on the 28th and a great turn out of diploma students mixed with the respected mentors.One of the best things about these events is how friendly and helpful all our mentors advice and guidance as to how we can enter the profession.Eileen Paterson and Douglas Mill really worked very hard in brining us Glasgow students something extra.I was introdcuced by Douglas Mill as one of the ‘starsof the Diploma and it did make me smile.A few glasses of red supped and some networking done I wandered home to Partick contemplating why many of the lawyers at the network 40 were not on twitter???? One partner of a large Glasgow firm (who shall remain un-named) said she was pretty sure their marketing team would get onto it and was astounded when I told her that many senior partners of other similar sized Glasgow and Edinburgh law firms tweet personally.I dont think she believed me be honest but did vow to check it out.
Friday brought an exciting day for a fellow Diploma student as I announced after the lecture that an opportunity to do a few days work at http://www.roadtrafficlaw.com had become available and I was delighted when a group of students all passed me their numbers and asked to be considered.
On Friday Morning I was very happy when fellow student Mani Mansoori joined me in the office. He in turn was equally delighted to be invited back next week and was impressed by our office and the lighting system which switches off if you are still for too long assuming that everyone has gone home and no-one is doing any work……..weird I thought …..the lights stay on ALL DAY when Im there.tee hee.
The week came to an end with a very tired but happy legaleaglemhm as I sauntered home to Partick to scoop up my little girls, make tablet and have a Halloween weekend.
My journey through Law is exciting, invigorating and I hope you enjoy my journey.Please join me next week and leave me a comment.I would really appreciate if you could RT and If you are a Law student,Legal Academic or Lawyer please consider writting a guest post for me.
Michelle Hynes-McIlroy LLB(Hons)