For myself this past week at Matrix has been an insightful and utterly engaging journey. Being from the town of Ipswich, I would normally dread an hour and a half trip in a busy commuter environment, yet knowing that I would be spending each day with some of the most hospitable teams that I have ever had the opportunity to meet, made the thought of travelling one of irrelevance.
I have long wished to be a barrister, without truly knowing what the job entails. From my first day I was hooked immediately. Matrix isn’t the ‘typical’ chambers. You aren’t overwhelmed with an eerie wooden façade, instead you are met with a bright contemporary environment which evidently radiates amongst the staff. The first of my introductions was with Lindsay Clarke and the Marketing Team, who planned my indescribable itinerary and got me settled (extremely quickly) into life at Matrix, for their work I am undoubtedly grateful. After filling in several necessary documents I was lucky enough to be taken to the Supreme Court straight away, where I was able to watch the likes of Tom Linden QC and Mathew Purchase on the side of defendant and Karon Monaghan QC who was representing the claimant – all of which are Members of Matrix. The case was based on payment discrimination between Muslim Prison Chaplains and that of Christian Prison Chaplains. Their eloquent arguments captivated me massively and their responses to the judges scrutinising comments were performed with a lack of hesitation.
My second day was spent at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Administrative Court with David Wolfe QC, it was a very stimulating case which linked very nicely with my study of human geography and regeneration. David was representing the claimant, in this case the individual was a resident of the Cressingham Garden Estate in Lambeth. The defendants (Lambeth Council) wish to demolish the housing on the estate to rebuild high rise flats in order to provide for the surplus of families without homes within the borough. The case was an appeal to reverse the demolition of said properties and this made me realise the extent to which the judge and barristers have to detach their emotions from the case at hand.
I had two further encounters in court, one of which was a criminal drug search case at Stratford Magistrates and the other was an extradition appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice. These both occurred later on in my whirlwind of a week and were both very memorable. Each case was extremely unique in their own right and highlighted only several of the complications which have the potential to happen in court, the first being adjourned and the lack of legal representation of which the claimant had, in the second.
A key highlight of being at Matrix was seeing how they excelled in their academic work as well as simply the practicing work of the barristers. The Legal Support Service is heavily relied upon by the barristers and ensures that they have sufficient and intricate research into the legal documentation and cases that support their case. The marketing team also played a key role in ensuring that the website and social media accounts were up to date as well as planning the most advanced of events so that barristers can meet potential clientele.
I cannot express how lucky I have been to engage and play a role in Matrix for my work experience. It TRULY was an experience.