In The Criminal Court
Logistic’s Manager, Liz Bell’s younger brother, Alex asked if we could help him find some work experience within a criminal law firm. We found him a place with Mark & Kevin from Dallas & Richardson Solicitors in Liverpool, and asked him to keep a diary:
As soon as I’d met everyone at the office, Mark and I headed down to Liverpool Magistrates’ Court and I witnessed a motoring trial, which introduced me to a magistrates’ court as well as how a typical trial is carried out. When we returned to the office, a client arrived for his appointment charged with another motoring offence. This showed me how cases are handled before they come to court and how a defence deals with his defendant. I also enquired about what the most suitable pathway to becoming involved in criminal law is and learnt more about the Common Professional Exam (CPE) and I also discussed with Mark and Kevin about past trials.
This day was occupied by more serious offences and Kevin and I went to Liverpool Crown Court. There, I had the opportunity to meet and speak to many barristers about their profession, how crimes are dealt with and how evidence can be gathered during investigation. I also followed up on my enquiry into pathways into criminal law and the different types of lawyers there are. Towards the afternoon I was able to witness the sentencing of one of the defendants and learnt what factors are taken into account when the length of a sentence is decided. The barristers also allowed me to look at some of the files and I therefore saw how information in a case is arranged and handled.
In the office I helped Mark with sorting the files in a case to be sent to the barristers in the Crown Court which furthered my learning about how case reports are filed and arranged as well as helping with developing my management skills. I also took the opportunity to ask about the various different expressions used in law that I hadn’t seen previously and where important in the reports that I filed and discovered how important accuracy of information is within law.
The defendant in the case on Thursday was familiar to Kevin, who was representing him in court, as he had committed numerous offences in the past and he allowed me to look through the case files and as such, I saw how each witness testimony is arranged as well as the police interview with the defendant and also how previous convictions are shown in case reports and how they factor in to a case. The case itself took place in Liverpool Magistrates’ Court and I also saw one other case prior to this. Earlier in the day I had been to the Magistrates’ Court and Mark had allowed me to be filled in on the case by reading through the folder and the files pertaining to it. The defendant, however, did not show up on time but I delivered a message to the court on Mark’s behalf to inform them that he was on his way.
Due to the fact that there were a surplus amount of cases to be held at South Sefton Magistrates’ Court in Bootle when we arrived, our cases were delayed until the afternoon. This allowed me to see a large number of different cases in the court prior to our clients’ cases, ranging from simple theft to more serious charges, the latter being adjourned to take place at the Crown Court. These proved invaluable to my learning as there were many uses of common, key terminology that I was not familiar with beforehand and was a fitting way to end a great week spent at Dallas & Richardson Solicitors.
With many thanks to Alex Bell for this article and to Dallas & Richardson Solicitors for their time & effort with Alex.