Eliza’s Week at Matrix

Day 1: First we were introduced to the team, everybody was welcoming and nice. Then we spent time in the Fees and finance department where it was explained to us how legal aid works, what CFAs are and pro bono work. Any inquiries we had were answered in a clear manner. Also gave me an insight of working life of a Barrister and how they get paid. After we had a tour around the whole of Matrix, we got to see the offices of the barristers. Matrix also has an amazing library. In the afternoon, we were given a reading prep task because the next day we would be in a hearing. We also met and had an in-person conversation with one of the barristers who would be involved in the case representing the defendant party.  

Day 2: We went to a public inquiry in the international dispute resolution center for the day. The case was about the Horizon IT system that was installed in all post office branches. The system was introduced in stages between 1999-2000. The post office had wrongly prosecuted thousands of people for fraud using the IT system as their evidence. The barrister was questioning an American IT expert on the report he had drafted. It was interesting to watch. One of the things the IT expert stated was that ‘simplicity aligns with a good structure of code, and it seems to him Horizon had produced a large volume of code and also was not well written’. We also spoke to the barrister from Matrix during the court breaks. 

Day 3: We went to court in the Royal Courts of Justice. First, we witnessed a medical negligence case for the approval for a settlement that the claimant required from St Georges university hospitals NHS. The proposed terms were to be in the interest of the claimant was decided £11 million in compensation. We then watched another court hearing – the secretary of state for environment food and rural affairs V Manchester ship canal company limited. The secretary of state had claimed the company had left unauthorized discharges of untreated sewage not authorized by The Water Industry Act 1991. In the afternoon, we did a marketing task.  

Day 4: In the morning we went to observe a court case in action at the Royal Courts of Justice. We witnessed two appeal criminal cases, one about a burglary and violence and the other on sexual assault. Both cases were very engaging. The judge (in particular) was very inspiring to me. She seemed fair but firm as she kept challenging the Barristers in their arguments. It was also interesting to hear their responses to the questions raised. In the end, both cases of appeal were dismissed. The burglary case because it was stated that the decision made by the previous judge was deemed suitable and the sexual assault cases appeal was dismissed as insufficient evidence was provided. We then went to The Old Bailey in the afternoon, and we observed a murder case. It was also intriguing to see journalists from the US right outside the old bailey.  

Day 5: At the start of the day, we went to the Old Bailey where we watched a continuation of the murder case, we saw the previous day. The barristers and Judge were consulting on how to present the evidence in a way that would be clear to the jury. We then watched a second hearing on another Murder case where the barristers and Judges were again deciding how to present the evidence and the possible scenarios to the jury. We then came back to Matrix and spoke to the LSS. They were really nice and explained the different routes of becoming a barrister. And their journeys. We then will be preparing for the Future Lawyers Scheme in the afternoon.  

 I am extremely thankful that I was given this opportunity. A BIG Thank you so much Matrix Chambers!