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

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I have had a really interesting first month of pupillage under the supervision of <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/claire-millns/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Claire Millns</a> who has ensured I have seen a wide range of work.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>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.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>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!</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>A particularly exciting opportunity was attending two separate cases on equal pay shadowing <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/david-reade-kc/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">David Reade KC</a> leading <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/andrew-sugarman/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Andrew Sugarman</a> and <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/dominic-bayne/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Dominic Bayne</a>. 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.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>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.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>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!</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Pupils Richard Harrington and Imogen Gray share their experiences of their first month ‘on their feet’

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/richard-harrington-pupil/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Richard Harrington</a> - Family</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>If there is a motto to my first month on my feet, it would be to expect the unexpected. Prior to commencing my second six, I never envisaged that I would be dealing with cases involving the jurisdiction of the High Court or that I would be advising clients involved in complex financial remedy proceedings. It turns out I was wrong! I have already received instructions across all three areas of family law and have thoroughly enjoyed the variation in my work.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>My first case involved representing a Local Authority in care proceedings at an initial case management hearing. The case concerned whether there should be a declaration not to notify a foreign country of proceedings, whether a declaration was needed that the parents were deceased and whether the significant harm the child had suffered could be attributable to the parents when they were deceased. While there were certainly nerves, it was my first opportunity to apply what I had learnt in the last six months, and I enjoyed every moment of it.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The majority of my instructions this month have come from Local Authorities. An interesting case concerned an application made by a looked after child to change both their forename and surname. While a change of surname is dealt with within section 33(7) of the Children Act 1989, forename is not, and requires the High Court to invoke its inherent jurisdiction. I enjoyed the challenge of researching the law on this point for my skeleton argument and I look forward to representing the Local Authority in the High Court next month.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I also represented clients involved in private law children disputes. A key learning point has been that every client has differing needs, and it is imperative that you can adapt how you communicate your advice to your client. I have witnessed how my input on a case can result in a case settling, whether through firm advice or by negotiating. While I will always look to see whether an agreement can be reached, I have relished the opportunity to advocate on behalf of my clients. Some examples have included persuading the court to make an indefinite prohibited steps order and for the court to disclose the previous and current proceedings to a prospective special guardian.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>My first few weeks on my feet have also involved instructions in financial remedy proceedings. As early as my second week, I represented a client who had issued a complex enforcement application. This required detailed research into the different methods of enforcement and overlapped with other areas of law. Due to this, I had to be clear in my advice as to the issues that were within my area of expertise and those that were not.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I am grateful to Chambers and to my clerks for the opportunities they have already provided me and I am excited for what the future holds.<br><br></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/imogen-gray-pupil/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Imogen Gray</a> - Chancery and Commercial</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I started my second six at the beginning of April. Over the last month, I have received instructions to attend various hearings and prepare written pleadings and opinions. &nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>My first set of instructions related to a claim for money arising from a contract for the sale of goods. I approached the case by reviewing the papers, taking further instructions and preparing a short skeleton argument. The case was slightly unusual in that one party had alleged that another had been hacked, and the third-party had induced them to make payment to the wrong account. &nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>At court, I introduced myself to the claimant and took a copy of the additional evidence that they had brought to court with them. I then had a conference with my client and discussed the issues in the case. Starting the hearing, any feelings of nerves quickly dissipated when I got on my feet. I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to cross-examine during the hearing and I look forward to testing my witness handling skills further over the coming months.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>As a chancery and commercial pupil, I undertake a mix of court and paper-based work. Over the last few weeks, I have received instructions to prepare pleadings and written opinions. For example, I recently prepared an opinion for a lay client on the chances of successfully bringing a claim in private nuisance against neighbouring landowners. I started the opinion by undertaking legal research; I found it helpful to revisit the recent Supreme Court judgment in&nbsp;<em>Fearn v The Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery [2023] UKSC 4</em>. In his leading judgment, Lord Leggatt helpfully provides a comprehensive summary of the law and ‘core principles’ of private nuisance. In addition to researching the law, I also had to advise on the practical aspects of the litigation including obtaining further evidence and instructing a suitably qualified expert to provide a report. &nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>During my second-six, I will continue to observe more senior members of Chambers whenever possible.&nbsp;This month, I attended a High Court trial at the Moot Hall in Newcastle, where my supervisor, Sarah Harrison, was instructed in relation to a will construction claim. In that case, the High Court was asked to interpret a will which left various charitable bequests. There was some uncertainty as to the identity of the intended charities due to the manner in which the will had been drafted. During the hearing, I noted techniques used by my supervisor when making submissions on a technical area of law and when dealing with judicial intervention. Now that I can undertake my own court work, I intend to use my time shadowing to reflect on my advocacy and to incorporate different techniques when on my feet. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Looking ahead, I have recently received instructions to advise on a number of contentious probate matters. These include a dispute over the validity of a will and an application to remove an executor of an estate. I very much look forward to furthering my experience in traditional chancery work at the Bar.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I would like to say thank you to <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/clerks/stephen-render/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Stephen</a> and <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/clerks/jodie-connor/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Jodie</a>, my clerking team, for all their help in preparing me to start life as a practising barrister and for their continued support.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Pupils Lucy Evanson and James Kapadia share their experiences of their first month ‘on their feet’

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/lucy-evanson-pupil/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Lucy Evanson</a> – Civil</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Throughout 1st six, my supervisors, Elizabeth Hodgson and Kristian Mills made sure that I observed a wide variety of work in Chambers, whilst providing a good balance of attending court and paper-based work to develop my advocacy and written skills. This was excellent preparation for taking on my own cases in 2nd six and representing clients in my own right. When I am not preparing for a case, Chambers ensure I am still being exposed to engaging, challenging and rewarding work through continuing to shadow other members.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>As a 2nd six pupil, every day is different and exciting. My first case of 2nd six was a complex credit hire case. As a preliminary issue, I was instructed to make a strike-out application for the Claimant’s failure to sign a witness statement. This achieved a reduction in the Claimant’s costs at the conclusion of the hearing due to unreasonable behaviour. Never underestimate the power of a small victory!&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>An interesting case during my second week was defending an allegation that a refuse collection truck had reversed into a stationary car on a grass verge of a caravan park at night. The case lacked any eye-witness evidence but had camera footage from the truck, albeit in poor weather conditions and without night vision. I used this footage to map out the route taken by the refuse truck and assess whether a collision could be made out from the distance between the bins and the stationary vehicle, proving useful to the Judge. I also enjoyed cross-examining the inconsistencies within this case and developing my style of advocacy in finding what worked for me. Winning this case was a significant milestone and confirmed that this was the career I had always wanted.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Over the past month, I’ve been fortunate in representing clients in matters of infant settlements, road traffic accidents, credit hire and regular hire disputes, and small claims personal injury. Building a precedent file has been instrumental to court successes; having authorities to hand when a new issue arises, or I am asked to draft a court order or write a skeleton, has been the most useful takeaway from 1st six. This was key to a road traffic accident case I defended involving a vehicle emerging from a side road onto a main road, as well as a Stage 3 MOJ case where opposition counsel tried to raise new issues that were not raised at Stage 2.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>On my non-court days, I completed paperwork such as quantum advices, merits assessments, liability advices, and schedules of special damages and future losses. Using my judgement and everything I have learnt in first six has been the key to approaching papers that I’m putting my name to, and justifying my reasoning with logic, caselaw, and dare I say, a little bit of experience!&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>There is never a dull moment during pupillage, and I’ve seen more of the UK in the past month than I have my whole life; travelling to Teeside, Carlisle, West Cumbria, and further cases planned in Grimsby, Mansfield, and even Cardiff! The opponents I’ve encountered have been testament to the Bar as a collegiate and supportive network who enjoy sharing stories over a coffee after a hearing.&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>There is nothing quite like the feeling of being on your feet for the first time, and I’m grateful to my clerks for helping me hit the ground running from the very first day of 2nd six. The adrenaline I felt when coming out of my first case will be a feeling that I expect to chase for the rest of my professional career.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I look forward to receiving further instructions in matters of personal injury, employment, insurance, and Court of Protection. <br><br><br></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/james-kapadia-pupil/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">James Kapadia</a> - Civil</span></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>My first appearance in my second six was representing a Defendant in Telford County Court on an RTA liability matter. I also appeared in various other RTA-related matter. These have included accidents on roundabouts, car parks, and motorways. The disputes between the parties have been in respect of both liability and quantum for repairs and credit hire. I have also appeared in OIC quantum hearings.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>One liability trial turned on whether the Defendant, whom I was representing, had attempted to undertake the Claimant, and then cut across them whilst exiting a roundabout. In cross-examination, the Claimant conceded this would have been a ‘mad manoeuvre’ for the Defendant to attempt. I submitted that the madness of the manoeuvre rendered it an unlikely course of action for the Defendant to have taken. The Judge agreed. The claim was dismissed.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>As well as seeing Telford, I have enjoyed the opportunity to see different parts of the country whilst attending court hearings. This has included Bradford, Barrow-in-Furness, and Middlesbrough. In May, absent settlement, I will be attending Durham, Blackpool and Harrogate for the first time.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I look forward to continuing to appear in RTA matters, as well as appearing in the Employment Tribunal.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Outside of court, I have completed papers in personal injury and employment law. This has included advising on quantum for infant settlement hearings, advising on prospects of success in personal injury claims for accidents in the workplace, and advising on prospects of success for a claim for sexual harassment in the workplace.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>I am keen to continue to develop my practice in these areas and I am accepting instructions in personal injury, clinical negligence, and employment. I remain under the supervision of Gareth Price.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->