My First Court Appearance

Being a trainee in the litigation department means I get to attend Court regularly to observe. It is such great experience to watch the advocates, either my colleagues or an independent barrister, conduct the proceedings. 

However, I also need to get some advocacy experience of my own under my belt. Therefore, my supervisor allocated me a straightforward hearing to do on my own and initially the thought of actually doing the advocacy myself terrified me! 

In the days before the hearing I made sure that I filed the relevant documents at the Court and served them on the other party – I didn’t want to be caught out by not carrying out the procedural steps properly. 

I spent most of the morning of the hearing worrying about what I was going to say and reading through the papers over and over again. I knew I would be nervous so I wanted to be as prepared as possible. I kept reminding myself to call the judge ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam,’ to speak clearly and slowly, and to smile and be confident. 

I arrived at court nice and early to find that my opponent was an experienced barrister, which certainly didn’t help to settle my nerves. I reminded myself that there must have been a first time for her once too! 

I discussed the matter with her and found that we agreed on some but not all points and after a little wait we were called in. I tried not to be clumsy and drop anything, whilst also remembering to politely greet the judge – was it morning or afternoon?! 

Despite my nerves, the hearing went very well and my client was pleased with the result. My preparation had paid off and upon leaving the Court I was not only relieved that my first time was over, but also ready to take on the next one! 

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