Interesting episode. Special Counsel are usually selected from a small number of barristers known to the Security Authorities, and I understand work in Government buildings not their own chambers. Still it made for good television.
Did Martha make the right call about Amy’s complaint or has her own relationship with Billy coloured her judgement. She appears to have misjudged her client in this episode as well.
While the embarrassment of Caroline was artfully engineered allowing her to escape an unfortunate result in her trial because she was unprepared.
There is no such thing as cheap justice, there is justice and injustice one is priceless and one costs everything.
This reminded me of why I was a lawyer – fighting for justice.
I recently had a conversation with a friend I had not seen or heard from for a very long time. We had been at University together and had both studied law. He had gone off and done something else.
He had heard about the recent strike and wondered what it was all about. “What’s the problem, you lot get paid loads?” After a long explanation from me he was less surprised that there were so many of us wondering what we were going to do and considering doing something else than why we weren’t all doing something already. He could not understand that so many seemingly talented, clever and committed people didn’t apply there talents elsewhere and make more money.
Yesterday, as I drove back thirty five miles from one of the “local courts” having dealt with a regular client, who shouted at me, blamed me for his initial remand…
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‘Clerking is about playing the long game,’ was Billy’s comment to Jake as they ambled up Middle Temple Lane. I think that’s something most barrister’s clerks would agree with. Spotting the young barrister who is going to be successful, is one of the skills most clerks would pride themselves on. The problem with that approach as I suspect Jake may find out is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as the clerks give the best work to the one they have identified as a winner and so he becomes one. It’s one of the reasons so many women become the second choice of solicitors, they are the second choice of the clerks.
I am sure the scenes are shot in and around the Temple and at the Old Bailey. They certainly looked like the real thing to me.
The trial for murder of a severely disabled young women by her mother handled a difficult issue well and the speeches and cross examination were closer to the real thing than some episodes. The child witnesses were shown being interviewed by the barristers and then that slipped into the courtroom, so that the viewer saw the end of the evidence as if they were in court. The usual procedure is for the a prosecution witness, whether a child or some other vulnerable person to be interviewed by a trained police officer before the trial begins. The video is part of the Crown’s case and has to be disclosed to the defence as part of the prosecution case. It is unlikely his father would be present as there would be a fear that his presence might affect what the child might say – a real risk in this case as the witness might be saying what he thought his father, a committed Catholic and therefore against suicide, would want to hear. Of course as Television it worked perfectly. Cross examining a child is never easy and this was shown by Martha beginning as most barristers would be introducing herself and then she keeping the questions low key. Did you notice the judge and barristers had taken their wigs off – again as it happens in real life.
We have the contest for head of chambers in the next episode – should be interesting!
This is a terrific way of looking at story telling.
I’ve run across one of the neatest sites/resources for story telling, the periodic table of storytelling. It’s an interactive periodic table with all sort of great information for people who want to know the art of story-telling. Warning though, this website is super addictive, and you can spend all day on it!
In contrast I thought the scene where Caroline Warwick cross examines the defendant in the rape trial was worthy of an experienced barrister. Of course she really shouldn’t have been sent off to Bury St Edmunds to prosecute in a rape trial and her indignation is understandable. Unfortunately women are instructed in sexual abuse cases far too often, and I remember a very senior female Silk…
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How could Clive Reader ask such an obvious leading question? There were very few inaccuracies in this episode, and I suspect that was because there were fewer courtroom scenes, but that leading question did stand out. In case anyone doesn’t know what a leading question is – it’s a question that suggests the answer to the witness. It used to puzzle me when I first qualified but I was told I would know one when my opponent asked one and the advice was right.
In contrast I thought the scene where Caroline Warwick cross examines the defendant in the rape trial was worthy of an experienced barrister. Of course she really shouldn’t have been sent off to Bury St Edmunds to prosecute in a rape trial and her indignation is understandable. Unfortunately women are instructed in sexual abuse cases far too often, and I remember a very senior female Silk complaining about being given yet another rape trial. One thing that did jar however was her rudeness to the barrister defending in the case. Silks try to be nice to more junior members of the Bar as they can often be the source of work. Although Martha Costello is shown representing a defendant without a junior barrister, Silks usually have a junior barrister with them. If a junior barrister is instructed and wants a Silk to lead them in the case they are unlikely to suggest someone who has been rude to them.
Amy Lang is a new pupil in chambers – a trainee barrister. Once a young lawyer passes their exams, they are called to the bar in a ceremony at the Inn of Court of which they are a member, but they are not allowed to practice until they have completed pupillage. For twelve months they serve a kind of apprenticeship, accompanying their pupilmaster (never a Silk) to court, reading their briefs and doing any paperwork they are asked to do. The first six months they can not appear in court or accept instructions on their own behalf and now they are assisted by their chambers with a grant. In the second six they are able to work and will receive payment – fees for that work. Amy should have already done six months as a pupil so her ignorance about the acronyms was a little surprising. Poor Amy makes a complete hash of her first appearance in court – she isn’t the only one and won’t be the last- but a ruling that your instructing solicitors should pay the costs of the hearing is a real no-no. A barrister is meant to cover the back of their instructing solicitors . She was lucky that Billy was in a good mood-upsetting solicitors who regularly instruct chambers could have ruined her chances of success
Waiting for the jury to return with a verdict is a difficult time,many barristers escape to the Bar mess, drink coffee with friends, read the newspaper and a few try to work, but concentrating is often impossible. For Martha the client comes first, so she spends the time with him. It is a reflection of the type of barrister she is;as Clive says she always ends up liking her clients, so she stasy with him.