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A week with Matrix – Afua’s experience

During my time at Matrix Chambers I was exposed to many different areas within chambers and shown that a detailed amount of planning from everyone is required to get a barrister into court.

Annie Bargione and Sara Thomson were fabulous at organising my week and ensured that I was able to gain understanding of a smoothly operating office. The organisation behind the scenes is immense: checking which barristers have to be in what courts, when and with what documents, what countries and how they will get there, what cases they are involved in and the confidentiality required when cases and barristers cross over. There is also the running of the actual offices in terms of meetings, facilities and safety which calls for a lot more attention than I anticipated.

My first day was spent completing tasks set by the Legal Support Service, a team dedicated to legal research for current and upcoming cases, and doing one of two court runs to collect the bundles of a new case on human rights (which can be more treacherous than it sounds!)

My Tuesday was spent in court watching this same case and the cross-examination of the claimant. It was like no other case I had seen before as there was a language barrier between the witnesses and the barristers, meaning there had to be interpreters working throughout the day to clarify everything for us in the court and those on the witness stand.

Although I went to watch this case on 3 different days with Richard Hermer QC, it was not until the third day that I was able to see him at work and brilliantly confound the opposition’s witness. This piqued my interest on not just the human rights of us in Britain, but on how our liberties affect those in foreign countries, solidifying my decision to study Human Rights and Civil Liberties during my degree.

A real and constant awareness of current events and the law was probably one of the most important things that I learnt during my time at Matrix. Often, an important case or the legal repercussions of an event would be avidly discussed with me by members of the team, showing the care and significance every staff member and barrister placed on their work. I am incredibly appreciative to all at Matrix Chambers – whether it was technological mishaps or jokes across the teams, I laughed often and loudly this week and was really made to feel at ease within the office.

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