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Emily’s week at Matrix

Monday morning, 7:26am, a packed commuter train heading to King’s Cross. I was excited, but very nervous, to embark on my week at Matrix. Having applied for the placement several months before, I’d spent many hours trawling the website reading the blog, it seems slightly surreal that I am now writing my entry. I can affirm that all of the amazing experiences recounted in this blog are not exaggerated; my time at Matrix has proved to be an invaluable experience, and one that I will be recounting for many years to come.

After arriving on Monday morning, we were promptly met by Lindsay and Alice, who gave us our induction and showed us to our desks for the week. We were looked after by the wonderful team X, who informed us that we were due to attend court that morning. So, within the hour, we were on our way to the Royal Courts of Justice, accompanied by one of the OOA’s. We saw a very complex case, involving special advocates and a third party, making for an interesting hearing. We attended court with Tamara Jaber, but we didn’t get to hear her speak personally on this matter that day. As court adjourned at 1pm, we walked back to chambers for lunch, and the afternoon afforded us the opportunity to read the printed case for the hearing we would be attending at the Supreme Court the next day.

Within twenty minutes of arriving in chambers on Tuesday, we were in a black cab to parliament square, accompanied by Comfort, one of the OOA’s. A short taxi ride brought us to Parliament Square, the home of the Supreme Court. The case we viewed was very complex, raising several issues of employment and contract law. We saw two of Matrix’s barristers, Tom Linden QC and Karon Monaghan QC, in action in front of the panel of five judges, headed up by Lady Hale, someone who I very much look up to within the legal world. Tuesday was made more exciting upon my return home, and seeing the case we observed in the news.

Wednesday again afforded us the opportunity to go to the Royal Courts of Justice, this time to view Helen Mountfield QC and Chris Buttler, speaking in a case that looked at the treatment of victims of people trafficking by the police in this country. Although, like Tuesday’s case, the hearing dealt with various very complex points in case law, the eloquent argument of the barristers aided our understanding greatly.  That afternoon, we met Sabrina from the Fees and Finance team, and we learnt about all the different ways a barrister gets paid, and how much work goes on behind the scenes in order to complete this.

Thursday morning, and we were off to the Old Bailey, adhering strictly to their no phones policy. Armed with a paper map we set off down the Strand. We spent the morning observing a murder trial, in which the defendant had been extradited from the USA. An expert in CCTV footage was giving his evidence on the footage captured of the murder which occurred in 2008.  We returned to chambers for the infamous ‘Thursday lunch’ in the library at chambers, giving us the opportunity to get a real feel of the amicable environment here at Matrix. In the afternoon, we had an introduction to the role of the practice teams, showing how much support is on offer to all of the barristers within chambers. We also had an introduction to the Legal Support Service from Polly; informing us of all the legal research that goes into preparing the barristers for court.

On our last morning, we made some progress on some of the tasks given to us the day before by the LSS. After this, we had another opportunity to travel to the RCJ to see Jessica Jones in action in a community care case. After the hearing was over, we walked back to chambers with Jessica, affording us the opportunity to ask her lots of questions on her time at the bar. After lunch, we met with Lea, an associate of Philippe Sands; we asked lots of questions about studying abroad and Philipe’s work – the whole conversation was really enlightening!

I’m extremely thankful for my time at Matrix; everyone has been so welcoming and so helpful. I have had the best week here: from office banter with team X to complex points of law in the Supreme Court, I have learnt so much, and I hope to return to Matrix at some point in the future.