Matthew’s week at Matrix Chambers

After weeks of anticipation of what work at Matrix chambers would be like, I finally experienced it when I walked through the glass doors into the Chambers itself. On my first day, I was warmly welcomed by Lindsay Clarke, who gave me a tour of the office where I would be working for the next 5 days and an introduction of all the different departments. I was first introduced to Ben on the practise desk, where he gave me a run through of how the practise desk operate and interestingly how, even though the desk focus on different aspects of law, they all work together when different law aspects overlap. I then had my marketing induction with Jo, which really changed my perspective on Marketing, showing me how Matrix is more modern and ahead of other Chambers in this regard. To end my first day at Matrix, Idris gave me a facilities induction by showing me around Matrix square and the very old but rather cool barrister buildings. This induction gave me an insight into how much behind the scenes work is done to keep the staff and members comfortable, secure and protected, whilst still allowing them to get work done efficiently.

To start day 2, I was greeted by Venetia, where I was given a skeleton argument to read before a full day in the High Court of Justice. I had the privilege to shadow Tim Owen KC, where I saw him argue against the Ministry of Defence’s denial of an Afghanistan citizen’s entry into the UK. It was interesting to see how knowledgeable the barristers were in the case and how they argued it for hours, still with no judgement or outcome. After the day in court I got the pleasure to talk to Tim about the case and how he felt his day in court went. He then further started to discuss with me the different ways and entries into becoming a barrister, giving me an interesting insight into the day to day life of a barrister.

On day 3, I was introduced to the infamous Horizon IT Post Office Inquiry at the International Dispute Resolution Centre. I started the day by reading and researching the inquiry and what my day may look like., finding that it was more interesting than what I originally thought. I joined two barristers, Richard Whittam KC and Samantha Knights KC, watching them and other barristers in action. They were tasked with gathering a clear account of the implementation and failings of the Horizon IT system at the Post Office over its lifetime, getting evidence from former Commercial and Finance Director of ICL Pathway, Anthony Oppenheim. Today’s inquiry was merely a crumb into the whole inquiry as I was told by Samantha that it will stretch for the majority of next year at the least. It was an interesting but a different day as it showed the different type of work in this profession.

On day 4, when my week was quickly coming to an end, I spent yet another day in court but this time it was in the Court of Appeal. Upon walking through the door, I was handed another skeleton argument to read before I made my way to court, to make sure I was fully briefed on what the appeal was to be about so I didn’t go in completely blind. It is always rewarding to read these arguments before going to court as it makes you feel really involved within the case. I went to court with one of the OA’s, Richard Bathard, who talked about his role at Matrix. Similarly to the facilities team, OAs are the unsung heroes, constantly going back and forth to court supplying and printing case papers for barristers for court. On arrival to court I was greeted by Hugh Southey KC, who was the matrix barrister in charge of the appeal. I talked to him about the details of the appeal before watching him put forward the argument he told me to the court. It was surreal to watch the argument I read about an hour before come to life! After my half day I court I came back to the office where I spent time talking to different departments and finished my day by listening and making notes on the Matrix podcast, ‘Rule of Law Pod’.

I got to my final day of Work Experience, day 5, and this time I was not travelling for a full day of court, I was to spend a full day in the office, undertaking many other inductions from the different departments at Matrix. It started with an induction from the Fees & Finance team, where Eric explained all the different ways that money comes in and goes out of the chambers. Next came a fees task, explaining all the different types of legal funding, including the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), Private funding as well as Confidential Funding Agreements (CFAs). As my final day at Matrix was coming to a close I had my final induction with the Legal Support Service (LSS) team, where they expressed the uniqueness of a barristers chamber having researchers within it. My final task was to prepare and do an interview, applying for the Future Lawyers Mentorship scheme. I entered the interview extremely nervous but came out at ease, as Dan made me feel very comfortable throughout the whole process.

As I have my finished my work experience week at Matrix, I would like to express a huge amount of gratitude to all the staff and barristers for making me feel comfortable and welcome. It was a lot of fun! It reassured my decision to study Law at university and has provided me with a more in depth understanding and appreciativeness of life at a chambers and how it would be like if I were to choose to work in a chambers in the future.