Hannah talks about her week at Matrix

Monday 25th November 2019: I arrived at Matrix Chambers around 9am to start my induction at the Chambers. I was pleased to meet Anna, who will also undertake the work experience with me. Firstly, we were introduced to the team and was shown around the workplace. Afterwards, Anna and I had our first induction with the Finance team, who gave us the run-down of their role and responsibilities concerning their barristers’ fees and finances. We were then given an induction task, where we had to research then draft a report on Fees related topics, such as Legal Aid, Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) and different types of funding available for litigation. After the task was completed, Anna and I went for lunch and once we came back, we had our induction with the Marketing team. They informed us on their responsibilities of creating and maintaining the image of Matrix that is showcased to the general public and potential clients. Anna and I were then given a task to staple together the handouts that would be given out at one of Matrix’s events later on in the day. Finally, to round up my first day, I undertook a task to research venues where the firm could hold one of their events. Anna and I were told to find venues that could hold between 600-700 people and the venue should be available to hire between May and June next year. Overall, I enjoyed the experience of talking to the colleagues at Matrix and being introduced to the world of work through the many departments that work together to achieve the firm’s end goals. I am looking forward to the near future, where I, myself, can be a part of a team and contribute my skills and talents to the efforts of the organisation as a whole.

Tuesday 26th November 2019: Early this morning, around 9am, I arrived at the office and my first task when I settled down was to read the skeleton arguments of the Claimant, Defendant and the Interested Party involved, whereby the Claimant was taking, the then Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to court over his decision to make a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the Planning Act 2008, which permitted the Interested Party, North London Waste Authority, to rebuild and expand an incinerator in Edmonton, North London. The claimant’s appeal was rejected by the court and the claimant re-applied for a permission for hearing at the High Court of Justice. We eventually attended the judicial review at 10.30 am, in which the judge ruled in favour of the Defendant and the Interested Party and denied the Claimant’s appeal. It was a very interesting experience, in being that this was my first time attending a court proceeding, so I was very happy to have the opportunity to witness an appeal hearing. The process was very detailed and extensive and it was interesting to see the amount of evidence that both the Claimant Barrister and Defence Barrister compiled before the hearing. The case itself was of interesting nature as you can approach it from a legal point of view, in which was to the Defendant’s advantage, but also from the concern of the issue of the environment, in which by all right the Claimant had valid points of contention to appeal to the High Court to reverse the decision. Immediately after Anna and I left the court, we went for lunch, and once we came back to the Chambers we were given a task by the Marketing Team to arrange the badges for the barristers in alphabetical order. Towards the end of the day, we had a chance to have an induction with Matrix’s Legal Research Team, who have such a varied and important role in doing the research and compiling relevant resources which would be used by the barristers for their arguments in court. We were then assigned a task from the team, which was to be completed by the end of the week. Overall, I enjoyed my day at court and also being able to meet more staff from the various departments at Matrix.

Wednesday 27th November 2019: All day today, Anna and I were in court. We left Matrix for court around 10 am and didn’t arrive back in Matrix until it was almost 5pm. We went to the Court of Appeal with Barrister Sarah Hannett, who gave us a brief on the case we were to attend on the way to court. We were meant to get a skeleton argument for the case, but because of the sensitivity of the case, especially as it relates to family matters, we weren’t allowed to read it. The case was concerning about a woman of Pakistani descent in her 30s, who has had a history of forced marriage, domestic violence and other issues behind her. She was appealing that the order put against her, for the purpose of protection, which led to the removal of her passport, to be revoked so she can fly to Pakistan. The matter was very complicated because on the one hand, she is an adult and is in the capacity of making decisions for herself, but because of her history and the possibility of being at risk to any further abuse, which is why the order was put against her for her own wellbeing. We were also joined by another lady, who Anna and I had the pleasure to have lunch with during the lunch break before the court resumed. It was nice to share our experiences with each other and discuss our interest in law and our plans for the future in relation to either becoming a barrister or solicitor, or any other pathway we choose to take with a law degree. At the end of the day, no judgment was given as the court decided to further look into the appeal and was hoping to, before Christmas, give its verdict. This happened by past 4 o’clock in the afternoon, which happened to be towards the end of Anna and I’s day. I enjoyed the experience at court and helped me to make my decision if I plan to become a barrister in the future, although my plans may change. I am hoping in the near future that I will have the opportunity to go back to court and witness other cases, which only through my time so far at Matrix has provided me with that opportunity.

Thursday 28th November 2019: Today was quite a relaxing day. Anna and I were supposed to go to court but the cases that were ongoing were taking place outside of London, so we couldn’t go. Instead, we finished off the task from the Legal Research team. Afterwards, Anna and I were given a task of distributing mail to the appropriate persons, which took quite a lot of our time because it wasn’t easy to find the names of the staff, in which we had to put their mail in their letterbox. After a while, we were given the task to remove the names from the badges that were given during Matrix’s event earlier on in the week, then re-arrange the badges back into the boxes for later use. Once again Anna and I were given another research task on the case of Dr Bawa-Garba, in which we had to craft a news item of around 300 words, as an example of the news items on Matrix’s website. We started reading on the case just before lunch, and continued with the task after we came back from outside. This took us up to a bit before we packed up to go home, and for the remaining time we had, I looked up judgments made by the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and read through the press summaries on each cases.

Friday 29th November 2019: As today is our last day at Matrix, we continued to do some tasks. Our first task of the day was to design an A4 poster, to be put up in the WC’s, on the topic of wellbeing. Anna and I were to think of a key message relating to mental and/or physical health and use our poster to encourage people to make good decisions. We came up with the slogan ‘connect today’, in which through the use of the slogan, our key message was to do with communication between colleagues and friends, which would help lessen the burdens people have and reduce stress of everyday life. Once we were done creating the poster, we had another task, which was to draft a short email that will be sent to clients concerning the fact that only vegetarian meals are served at events. We were told to include in the email the health benefits of adopting a vegetarian diet and its benefits on the environment. Finally, to end the day and our time at Matrix, Anna and I grabbed coffee with Emma, a junior barrister at Matrix. We had a lovely discussion surrounding our interest in law and we were given an insight of the everyday routine of a barrister. We received advice which was very useful, especially for my decision in either becoming a barrister or solicitor.

I thank Matrix Chambers for being very accommodating and helpful during my time there. My one week work experience has helped me a lot in developing my skills through research tasks. Also giving me the experience of attending court hearings, which would help at university in terms of advocacy. Experiencing work life at a chamber was very interesting and exciting and I am hoping that in the near future, I would be in contact with Matrix again.