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Southampton Law School Undergraduate study

Hear from past year' winners

Lauren Merrett
Lauren Merrett

Green Scheme (Commercial Law)

Lauren Merrett

Marshalling Sir Nicholas Green at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a week was a truly unique and invaluable experience. Sir Nicholas specialises in commercial law at the Bar, but as a judge of the Queen’s Bench Division he sits in a variety of Courts. This suited me as while I have enjoyed the commercial aspects of my law degree so far, I am very keen to experience as many different areas of law in practice while I can at this stage of my studies.

During my week of marshalling, we sat in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division alongside Lady Justice Hallett and Her Honour Judge Taylor for two separate criminal appeals. I feel fortunate to have observed such high-quality advocacy, and I really valued the opportunity to discuss the proceedings with three senior judges, these conversations were extremely insightful and I felt privileged to be part of them.

On days when we were not in Court, I assisted Sir Nicholas in finalising two High Court judgments, and sat alongside him on the Lord Chief Justice’s bench for the handing down of these – a real highlight of the week. I also aided his preparation for a future trial at Southwark Crown Court. This allowed me to learn about his process of writing a judgment, one that often begins long before the first day of a trial.

Despite his seniority, Sir Nicholas was very kind and approachable. I appreciate the time he took to not only develop my understanding of the law in practice, but to ensure I had an enjoyable experience overall. I am particularly grateful for the guided tour he gave me through London’s Inns of Court, recounting personal anecdotes and passing on knowledge of the different areas to me.

I am thankful to Sir Nicholas and the Law School for providing me with this opportunity that I would not otherwise have had the pleasure of experiencing. It was an eye-opening and inspiring week, and I would encourage all second year students to apply for this scheme. I believe it will be beneficial to different students for different reasons depending on their aspirations. But it will certainly give any student a completely new and unique perspective of our justice system, beyond what is possible in other work experience opportunities within the legal profession.

Estian Deysel and Tom Brooks at the Court of Appeal
Estian Deysel and Tom Brooks at the Court of Appeal

Fulford Marshalling Scheme (Criminal Law)

Estian Deysel

I undertook the Lord Justice Fulford Marshalling Scheme alongside my classmate Tom Brooks. Being able to discuss court proceedings with a fellow student as well as with the various members of the judiciary we met throughout the week was extremely valuable.

During the five days we spent in London we sat in different courts almost every morning and afternoon, so the breadth of exposure we got was terrific (everything from arms dealing and extradition to illegal raves and gun crime). The flavour of the cases was generally criminal, which was exactly what I, as an aspiring criminal barrister, had applied to this scheme in the hopes of seeing.

The true value of the Scheme was the opportunity to see top-end appeal advocacy and discuss the proceedings with the judges. Having mooted extensively throughout both my first and second years, seeing top crime silks work their craft in the Court of Appeal further strengthened my determination to one day work in that area. The judges themselves, which included multiple members of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Magistrate and former Garden Court Head of Chambers HHJ Owen Davies QC, went out of their way to make our time with them as insightful and enjoyable as possible.

I would encourage any students with an interest in advocacy, criminal law or the behind-the-scenes workings of the justice system to apply for this Scheme. The consistently engaging and interesting standard of the proceedings in court and conversations outside were above any I had experienced in marshalling or mini-pupillages prior and I am thankful to Lord Justice Fulford (and his exceptional clerk) and the Law School for providing this invaluable week.

Tom Brook, LLB (Hons) Law, 2018

I applied to the Lord Justice Fulford Scheme because I have an avid interest in criminal law issues. I had seen some advocacy in the Crown Court but never an appeal setting, therefore I felt that this scheme would provide me with a great insight into this work. It was particularly of interest to see advocates at work because I have been interested in mooting since picking it up in my first year.

I wanted the opportunity to work with Lord Justice Fulford because he has presided over cases which I had an interest in before beginning to read Law at University. During my scheme, I also worked with Lord Justice Simon in the Court of Appeal as well as Lord Justice Hickinbottom. I also met HHJ Katz and Davies among others.

The judges were kind enough to be approachable and honest in conversation with us. Witnessing how different courts work was very interesting. I enjoyed meeting them.

It was surprising to me how different the varying courts I visited were. In the Magistrate’s Court the emphasis is on quick justice so things often appear chaotic, whereas in the Inner London Crown Court things are done at a slower pace. In the Court of Appeal, one of the cases I sat in on was an appeal against conviction of three youths convicted of murder. The amount of time devoted to what seemed like minor issues was outstanding - it served as a reminder that the due process model is the one favoured in English courts.

The quality of advocacy was excellent, and the conversations I had with the judges I met were encouraging and inspired me. The Scheme has reaffirmed my plans to be in the criminal law area or in public law more broadly.

Anna Leatham
Anna Leatham

Anna Leatham

My week marshalling Lord Justice Fulford at the Court of Appeal was a tremendous experience. Sitting in on appeals and being able to discuss the points of law with the judges was something in which I never could have imagined. Lord Justice Fulford was extremely kind and not at all intimidating, despite his seniority. He was appointed Senior Presiding Judge in January 2016, and it was particularly interesting to witness the different responsibilities he now has in addition to his judicial role. With this being the case, he was often attending confidential meetings and not sitting in the Court of Appeal.

As I had expressed an interest in the Criminal Bar, Lord Justice Fulford was keen for me to spend some time at the Old Bailey. The Recorder of London, Judge Hilliard QC, took me under his wing. He introduced me to numerous judges, ensured I sat in on interesting cases, gave me a personal tour of the Old Bailey itself and even let me try on his wig! I was also able to witness one of the three ceremonies held every year at the Old Bailey, with the Lord Mayor of London being addressed. I have been invited back for further marshalling experience at the Old Bailey, and I hope to conduct this in the summer.

The last three days were mainly spent in the Criminal Division with Lord Justice Fulford himself. Barristers asked who I was; Lord Justice Fulford’s clerk replying, “Anna is Fulford LJ’s marshal.” This felt incredibly satisfying. It was wonderful to discuss the cases with the judges individually, if not slightly nerve racking when they asked if I agreed with their judgment! As well as sitting in the Criminal Division, I also witnessed civil litigation in a case of clinical negligence with Mr Justice Hickinbottom. As with all the judges I met, he was very kind and accommodating.

Having undertaken a mini-pupillage, work experience with a criminal solicitor and marshalling at Winchester Crown Court, it was fascinating to see another stage of the legal system. I am extremely grateful to the Law School and to Lord Justice Fulford for providing me with this opportunity, and would wholeheartedly encourage future second year law students to apply to the scheme.

Amber Athill

During my second year, I was fortunate to successfully apply for the inaugural Fulford Scheme opportunity. This has led to the experience of a lifetime this October. During my first two days, I had the absolute pleasure to marshal in a case that had Lord Justice Sir Leveson, Lord Justice Gross and Lord Justice Fulford on the panel. I was able to witness a ground-breaking change in the law and discuss its repercussions with the judges on a one-to-one basis. As one can imagine, this was a thrilling experience and provides a fascinating perspective on the judgments we read every day at university.

As Deputy Senior Presiding Judge for England, Lord Justice Fulford attends many prestigious meetings with the likes of the Ministry of Justice and the Lord Chief Justice. I was privileged to be invited into such meetings and was fascinated to see how much work goes on behind the scenes. Wanting me to witness both civil and criminal matters, Lord Justice Fulford also provided me the opportunity to sit with a High Court Judge in a defamation case, marshal with three Judges in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and spend my final two days at the Old Bailey.

The judges I spent time with were incredibly accommodating – they really are far less intimidating out of the courtroom! I am so grateful for their taking the time to speak with me; I have even been offered the opportunity to marshal again at the Old Bailey. Sitting on the bench and witnessing the court proceedings from a judge’s perspective was invaluable. I gained valuable insights into the effective (and ineffective!) styles of advocacy in the eyes of particular judges and hope to use such knowledge to develop and improve my own advocacy skills. I thank the Law School for this fantastic experience and would encourage all second year law students to apply.

Alex Hill

I met Lord Justice Fulford at the beginning of the week in his office at the Royal Courts of Justice. As Senior Presiding Judge, Lord Justice Fulford sits very rarely in the RCJ dedicating himself to his role as the warden of the presiding judges around the UK. He was very welcoming and took the time throughout the week to check on my progress.

Lord Justice Fulford arranged for me to sit with a range of judges throughout the week – each offering me a different perspective into the judicial process. I thank HHJ Sweeney, HHJ Topolski, HHJ Dingemans and Lord Justice Simon for being so accommodating to me throughout the week. Not only did they take time out of their busy schedules to provide me with comprehensive insight into their work, they allowed me to discuss my own areas of interest with them. Being a law student, it is easy to lose yourself in the theory but bringing the academic study to life and discussing the cases with the judges was fantastic opportunity.

My first few days were spent viewing a trial regarding torture allegations emanating from a foreign country. The combination of legal questions concerning evidence and appropriate jurisdiction, with the reality of conducting a trial containing extremely violent acts was unforgettable. I have a strong interest in international law, making this experience particularly invaluable. Moreover, the standard of advocacy I observed during my time at both the RCJ and the Old Bailey was exceptional, which made clear to me the skills required to be an effective barrister.

My lasting impression of the judges I met during this marshalling experience was of a group of highly professional, dedicated and compassionate individuals who retain a striking humility notwithstanding the importance of their role. I left with a sense of pride and faith in our justice system. I would like to extend my gratitude to Lord Justice Fulford for supporting this marshalling scheme, and I would advise any second year student to apply for this unique opportunity.

Amber Kennedy
Amber Kennedy

Dame Justice Roberts Marshalling Scheme (Family Law)

Amber Kennedy, LLB (Hons) Law, 2018

My work experience was marshalling Dame Jennifer Roberts in the High Court, London. My work experience focused on the areas of Family Law. I also met and spoke with judges from other areas of law throughout the week, such as Court of Appeal judges.

On my first day I had a reading day with my judge in order to prepare for a 3 week money trial we would be beginning that week. I read bundles of authorities, skeleton arguments and key evidence and discussed any issues I didn’t understand with my judge in order to prepare me for the week ahead.

On my second day, I sat with another judge – Sir Nicholas Mostyn – for the day. He was sitting in applications that week, so I saw a variety of cases that morning ranging from location orders to having a person declared dead! I was given a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Royal Courts of Justice and was introduced to many judges whose judgements I have read before. I was also taken for lunch at Middle Temple and given a tour of several chambers around Middle Temple.

For the rest of the week, I sat with Dame Roberts on a money case involving billions of pounds. There was a vast amount of counsel in the case and I was able to see some of the top QCs in the country carry out their work.

Some of the things I experienced during this week I would never get the opportunity to have experienced without the marshalling scheme. These experiences will no doubt benefit me in the future, applying for legal work experience and jobs. The week confirmed my passion for a career in Family law and has been a highlight of my study so far.

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