Wednesday, February 22, 2017


On Monday I was lucky enough to be offered a place on our Universities London trip to the Old Bailey, where many serious cases are heard before arguably the greatest judges in the United Kingdom.  After an early start and arriving at Lime street station for 7:20AM we had the joyous trip of a Virgin Train to London, with really awesome sliding doors that you literally tapped and they would open. Probably not that great if you see this everyday, but as someone who gets the Northern Train Line to university (those trains are seriously like they have found the oldest and most disgusting bus they can and then have welded it onto wheels suitable for a train track- They also have the cheek to charge me £5.10 for the privilege of requiring hospital levels of sanitisation after the journey. Absolutely joyous) this was a luxury I rarely see. After a rather pleasant two and a half hour journey we arrived at Euston and it was time to tackle the tube... A trip that I am so glad was at 10:30AM as I do not like the idea of being a sardine in a tin can. I think we ended up in Tottenham station, but truthfully I have no idea as I am hopeless at navigating my way anyway. I simply followed Laura and hoped for the best. 

After a short walk we ended up at the beautiful building you see above; commonly mistaken as the Old Bailey, however is actually the Royal Courts of Justice. This is where many commercial cases are heard and some rather lucky Barristers earn anything from £1,000-£2,000 an hour. We jokingly looked around to bag a man, but unfortunately the area was devoid of any humans other than us and our tour guide Tim. Tim told us a great deal about the Courts history and we all touched a lucky pineapple that apparently granted whatever you wished for. I virtually killed half the cohort to be the person who touched this bloody pineapple... Quite frankly it was worth the effort as I did considerably well in Obligations A and actually exceeded my own expectations for EU Law (that is a story for another day though). We saw the official written transcripts of the Guy Fawkes Trial, which was by far the most interesting part of the tour which Tim didn't even mention. We also saw many judges gowns and the outfits of Barristers, I believe I will look extremely fetching in a Wig and Gown... Well maybe the Gown. 

We then moved onto one of the prettiest Barristers Chambers I have ever come across... If you follow me on Instagram then you will know how much I fell in love with this place. It contains probably the only piece of grass within Central London and contains a pretty cute fountain. I can't imagine a nicer place to work if I'm completely honest! Then it was off to the Old Bailey itself or as it is otherwise known the Central Criminal Court. Tim told us an interesting story about how the statue at the top of the building holding the scales had soaked a judge in a storm one day. The scales had collected the rain water and a gust of wind had tipped them causing the Judge to get a bath. He was infuriated by what had happened and extremely embarrassed so he ordered two workers to climb to the top of the building and drill a hole in the bottom of each scale to prevent this happening to anyone else. 

The Old Bailey is a rather underwhelming Court. There is very little Grandeur about this building other than the iconic symbol of modern justice. The courts themselves are rather old with a few modern touches and are rather underwhelming compared to the Royal Courts of Justice. Perhaps this is why TV reporters chose to report on cases outside those Courts as opposed to the Old Bailey. The Court case we saw was probably the best piece of litigation I have ever been lucky enough to witness. The case virtually fell apart and from what I've read today the Jury deliberated for an hour and fifteen minutes, which is a relatively short period of time. I am hoping I can find out the actual outcome of the Case at some point tomorrow, but the Court systems of England and Wales have so far failed to make the transcript public.... despite Scotland managing to do this for all their Cases overnight. A grievance if you're a Law geek like me and also desperate for answers. 

Next up was a well earned cup of coffee. After arguing the legalities of said Case with the other members of our cohort and debating whether or not you think the Case will be dismissed it was time to head into London itself and by that I mean get lost, not exactly end up where you really wanted to be and rush in time to squeeze yourself onto a tube to get back for 7:30PM. 

London is undeniably a beautiful city and was rather quiet for the busy hustle and bustle you're usually told about. We encountered relatively few individuals on our journey. We managed to stop and reflect on life and future careers. I'd always wanted to be a Barrister or Judge never really fancied becoming a Solicitor, but LJMU make all their events based upon becoming a Solicitor, probably because this is the most common route students take. They had swayed me and made me change against my original plans, which I suppose is good in some aspects, however being in London and seeing Barristers in action made me realise that maybe that is where I belong? I have the chance to do something extraordinary with my degree and wayyyyy beyond my expectations and my families, but as I looked at this beautiful city and looked across the River Thames I realised maybe, just maybe I could achieve my dream instead of settling for something I wasn't 100% set on. I suppose I should thank Donna and Ester for virtually saving my Legal Career and thank the amazing Barrister who inspired me to follow the dream I had believed to be unobtainable. 

I guess the Big Smoke reminded me of what I really wanted in life... A good teacher once told me 'Reach for the moon and you'll end up amongst the stars' So maybe if I don't achieve my goal of Barrister there is hope for a high flying Legal Career. If you ever get the chance to go to the Old Bailey or any Crown Court I really recommend it. Not only, because it's interesting, but it reminds people that Lawyers and Barristers aren't money grabbing thieves. They are highly trained individuals whose main goal is to achieve justice... 

Until Next Time
Tori xoxo

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