Pupil Diary: Weeks 7 & 8

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Pupil Diary:  Weeks 7 & 8

 

Christmas has passed. A new year has begun. Tomorrow I return to work.

During the two-week break, I reflected on the first six weeks of pupillage and considered how my experience tallies with the Barristers’ Professional Statement (BPS).

Below is a summary.

 


RE. WEEK ONE

13/11/17
Attended Crown Advocates’ Conference [BPS 4.6] —
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave:  Good advocacy is 90% preparation, 10% perspiration.

14/11/17 and 16/11/17
Shadowed at Hereford Crown Court [BPS 1.5 & 4.6] —
Transcript-editing homework. Must be ruthless in stripping away the inessential.

15/11/17
Attended Birmingham Magistrates’ Court [BPS 1.17] —
Saw a charming defendant represent himself… and win. Be charming!

15/11/17
Organised Secondment with Local Chambers [BPS 4.2] —
Even at the Employed Bar, maintaining contacts can prove beneficial.

17/11/17
Attended Chambers Conference with Police [BPS 4.6] —
CPS sometimes entrusts complex charging decisions to Outside Counsel.

17/11/17
Drafted Personal Profile for CPS Intranet [BPS 4.1.2(b)] —
Acknowledge your inexperience, but don’t be shy about your talents.

 

RE. WEEK TWO

20/11/17
Re-Drafted a Complex Indictment [BPS 1.13] —
Don’t rely on ready-made templates. Use your own words when learning.

20/11/17
Edited ABE Interview Transcript [BPS 1.5] —
Must be ruthless in stripping away the inessential.

21/11/17
Attended CPS Induction Day [BPS 2.6 & 4.5] —
Aim to finish compulsory courses in pupillage. Never comment to the press!

22/11/17
Learned to use Digital Case System (DCS) [BPS 4.2 & 4.5] —
Lock screen when away from laptop. Never access where public can see.

23/11/17
Debated Case Merits with Crown Advocates [BPS 1.15(c) & (j)] —
Most issues can be argued either way. It helps to play Devil’s Advocate.

24/11/17
Planned e-Learning with Supervisor [BPS 2.5(a), 2.6 & 3.1(a)] —
CPS encourages learning in working hours, but those hours must be agreed.

24/11/17
Discussed Employed Practice with Supervisor [BPS 4.1.2(a)] —
CPS lawyers are the most regulated (and criticised) lawyers of all. Take care.

24/11/17
Attended Birmingham Magistrates’ Court [BPS 1.17] —
Saw bad advocacy:  submission over-explained to magistrates. Ruled against.

 

RE. WEEK THREE

28/11/17
Shadowed at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court [BPS 4.6 & 4.1.2] —
Expect to prep EIGHT trials for one day in mags court, as not all will run.

28/11/17
Saw a defendant represent himself at Magistrates’ Court [BPS 3.6] —
Prosecution not entitled to closing speech against a lay representative.

30/11/17
Attended Birmingham Crown Court [BPS 1.17] —
When opening to a jury, must say what you’ll do… then do what you say.

30/11/17
Attended Trainee Lawyers’ Social Event [BPS 3.4] —
Even at the Employed Bar, maintaining contacts can prove beneficial.

01/12/17
Wrote Pre-Charge Advice:  Harassment [BPS 1.6] —
If offence elements are not clearly made out, say so. Don’t infer their presence.

01/12/17
e-Learning Completed To Date [BPS 2.6 & 3.1(a)] —
Eleven modules on ‘Prosecution College’ app.

 

RE. WEEK FOUR

04/12/17
Shadowed at Hereford Crown Court [BPS 4.6] —
At PTPH, I identified a novel point to research. Preparation is key.

05/12/17
Met with Chief Crown Prosecutor [BPS 4.6] —
Learned that a good prosecutor develops an “instinct” for the work.

05/12/17
Telephone Conference with BSB (re. Training) [BPS 4.6] —
Prepared three questions in advance. Received answers to all three.

06/12/17
Wrote Pre-Charge Advice:  Prison “Potting” Incident [BPS 1.6 & 1.12] —
If evidence supports a more serious charge than is usual, say so.

07/12/17
Met Supervisor to Discuss “Potting” Advice [BPS 1.5] —
The offence of Assaulting a Constable applies to prison guards, too.

08/12/17
Conducted Research at a Law Library [BPS 1.12 & 4.5] —
Locked screen when away from laptop. Sat where public couldn’t see.

 

RE. WEEK FIVE

11/12/17
Reviewed/Organised My Legal Research [BPS 1.5 & 1.12] —
Must be ruthless in disregarding the inessential.

12/12/17
Wrote Opinion, interpreting “any computer history” [BPS 1.6] —
Even when interpreting a vague term, aim to be practical above all.

13/12/17
Met Supervisor to Discuss My Opinion [BPS 1.5] —
Well-written advice can lead to better advocacy in court.

14/12/17 and 15/12/17
e-Learning:  Revision and New Modules [BPS 2.6 & 3.1(a)] —
Completed two further courses on ‘Prosecution College’ app.

 

RE. WEEK SIX

18/12/17
Shadowed at Shrewsbury Crown Court [BPS 4.6] —
Use CTL Calculator and Stage Date Calculator for PTPH preparation.

19/12/17
Wrote Pre-Charge Advice:  Harassment [BPS 1.1, 1.2, 1.6, 1.10 & 2.1] —
Stood my ground against external pressure to revise my earlier decision.

20/12/17 and 21/12/17
Wrote Memo to Assist Supervisor [BPS 1.5 & 1.6] —
When reviewing trial evidence, try to think like the Defence.

21/12/17
Met Supervisor to Discuss My Memo [BPS 1.5] —
Most issues can be argued either way. It helps to play Devil’s Advocate.

22/12/17
Reviewed Evidence in Affray Case [BPS 1.11] —
With complex cases, it pays to allow ‘thinking’ time after initial review.

Going forward, I’ll keep an eye on the Barristers’ Professional Statement; identifying those parts that apply to my work and referencing them routinely.

 

[Published with the permission of my line manager]

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