Into Court


I spent a lot of my time in the High Court in London and, most days, Jeremy purposely strode off from Two Oak Court wearing a moth-eaten old horsehair wig on his head with a black gown flowing behind. I was usually walking either quickly alongside or trailing in his wake carrying a big pile of papers bound in pink tape. Around the Inns of Court, this was a common scene of barrister and pupil making their way to and from the courts. The vaulted ceiling of the Royal Courts of Justice entrance hall overlooked enormous, dark oil paintings of judges. The different numbered courts were up various stairways to the sides and along softly lit stone corridors. The vast doors to the courts opened up to wooden benches and panelled walls.

The court clerk brought proceedings to order and we stood as the judge entered the courtroom and sat in an elevated position over us. It was fascinating to listen to an under pressure Jeremy in court. Not only was he very diligent, but he had a razor-sharp mind and actually cared for his clients. When referring to a hypothetical third party, instead of saying something like ‘Mr Smith,’ he referred to ‘Mr Snooks’ during his advocacy, which often caused a wry smile amongst his instructing solicitors. This was a world away from what I’d experienced before.

When I was alone in Jeremy’s room one day, I looked through a pile of papers on his desk when I came across my own CV and saw “Parachute Regiment” and “First Class Honours” circled – that must have been why I landed a quality pupillage. Attached to my CV were their selection criteria for pupils, some of which were not immediately obvious to me: Initial impact; eye contact; level of confidence; communication skills; friendliness; sense of humour; maturity; stability; initiative; judgement; analytical ability; clarity of oral expression; motivation; and ambition.

2 Comments on “Into Court

  1. Callum. thank you for the pleasant introduction to your courts. All I, an American, know otherwise about them is what I’ve read in Dickens.
    Best, David

    • I was in the Chancery Division, which was a bit like Bleak House.

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