Vivi’s week at Matrix

Prior to coming to Matrix, I was unsure of how a Chambers actually worked. I thought of them as extensions of the Barristers, and not the big and complex organisations that they are. I imagined them to be quite a stuffy and tense atmosphere, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this was not the case.

On the first day, after taking a bit too long to realise where the entrance was, I was greeted by the warmest receptionists I’ve had the pleasure to meet. We went through an induction process with Alice Brighouse, and soon, we were taken on a tour around the whole building and the departments. After comfortably settling in, we got to work. We performed many interesting tasks, like investigating the role of a chambers. After having lunch in one of the  libraries, and chatting some more with the department, we went out for coffee at a café close by with some trainees at Matrix. We discussed cases that interested us, their own personal journeys getting into law, and how they overcame many setbacks.

I was more enthusiastic to arrive on Tuesday morning, intrigued by the prospect of watching a case in the supreme court and seeing the Privy Council themselves. After arriving, I met up with my peers; we quickly left along with Zoë Brereton, an Aspiring Barrister at Matrix, and we caught a cab. Along the way, we discussed the potential points that could be made about the case, and the overall idea of the prosecution. The case was an appeal surrounding unfair competition of telecom company Cellplus (State owned) and Emtel. By Mauritius Telecom not offering Emtel the same interconnection terms, and not cross-subsiding, making them a Monopoly fixed line service, they ultimately breached the conditions of their licence. Another issue raised, was whether the Communication Technologies Authority in Mauritius was liable for this (it was debated whether they had any distinct legal personality).

As we entered the courtroom, we found out that we would be shadowing KC Guy Vassall Adams, a Matrix barrister who represented the Communication Technologies Authority in the claim that they did not have legal personality. He came up to us, and greeted us warmly and even offered to give us a concise summary of the case being heard. We were run through the formalities of etiquette in the courtroom with the JCPC, and the, it began. Due to not being able to understand much of what was being spoken about because of the constant references of page numbers I did not have, it was quite tedious. However, the atmosphere itself was enticing. Even though it was unvaried at times, due to listening to the same barrister with barely any interruption, the case still gave me a fascinating insight into the actual world of law. It was fascinating to see that, at times, the court hearing was more of a conversation between the Privy Council and the Active Barrister who was saying their points. I was instantly captivated by Lady Rose’s witty questions, and how the privy council operated. The hearing lasted a fairly long but interesting two days. The Wednesday was much similar, and I even got to speak to some of the barristers after the hearing finished!

On the Thursday, we met up with the fees and finance team, who explained their job in detail and showed us the process of paying barristers and just how complex it is. We also had a chat with Venetia Tate from the marketing team, who explained just how important the team is, in assuring the success of Matrix. After lunch, we had a mock interview. It was great, and helped strengthen many of my skills, giving me an insight into what I need to work on!

Coming to Matrix exposed and dismissed the many myths surrounding Barristers and Chambers. It taught me a lot about the role that Chambers have in the field of law, and it was a pleasure to meet so many new and kind people!