Isabella Brunton – My First Month Of Civil Law Pupillage at Parklane Plowden Chambers
14 May 2024

Isabella Brunton – My First Month Of Civil Law Pupillage at Parklane Plowden Chambers

I have had a really interesting first month of pupillage under the supervision of Claire Millns who has ensured I have seen a wide range of work.

Every week so far has looked different. When I am not attending court I am developing my written skills by drafting chronologies and attendance notes. Working with several members of Chambers has helped me to combine their experience with my own judgement in order to recognise the most salient events and facts in bundles.

I have really enjoyed seeing different approaches to advocacy from dispute resolution including mediation, to contested hearings. It has become apparent that settlement is a valuable tool as, certainly at an early stage, it can avoid unnecessary cost, time and anxiety. It has been insightful to see the approaches taken by employment judges in judicial mediation and at a dispute resolution appointment, both different forms of alternative dispute resolution. Shadowing different members of Chambers, I have had the opportunity to see various advocacy styles, both written and oral. Although I have really enjoyed observing, I am counting down the days until I represent clients and manage my own cases!

A particularly exciting opportunity was attending two separate cases on equal pay shadowing David Reade KC leading Andrew Sugarman and Dominic Bayne. I attended several days of a lengthy equal value hearing in Leeds when I observed cross-examination from both parties on the intricacies of the day-to-day work of supermarket employees. I found it especially interesting to watch the continual negotiation between the parties, in and out of court, to narrow the number of disputes. This taught me the necessity of keeping focus on using time efficiently in such a complex and lengthy claim.

I have also accompanied members of Chambers on personal injury claims which require a different set of skills to employment law and are largely fact-based. I attended a case involving a motorcyclist who had come off his bike due to a large crack in the road and was suing the council for negligent maintenance of the highway. It was interesting to understand the limit of the highway authority’s duty in such cases.

I have had a great first month and eagerly anticipate what is to come. I have felt extremely well supported and the last month has given me insight into the considerable opportunities in Chambers. I am really looking forward to being on my feet from October!