I have followed the saga about Henry Mostyn, the pupil found with a small amount of drugs on him, with puzzled bewilderment, writes OccupyTheInns.
It has been summed up most in the outrage of the truly awful Daily Mail, a newspaper I do my level best to keep a wide berth from. What a fuss about nothing! None of the coverage of this matter has even bothered to ask one simple question: what would have happened in this sorry affair if drugs were legalised? The answer, of course, is that there would not have been a scandal in the first place.
Sadly drugs remain illegal in this country, forcing talented young people like Henry Mostyn to hide – and be punished for – taking substances that are in many cases no more harmful than a few pints of lager. The situation is made worse for the high-achieving, often creative types who pursue careers at the Bar of England and Wales...
OccupyTheInns ponders the merits of a high risk, yet potentially high reward, plan B
This week I have turned once more to the business of pupillage application as Pupillage Portal opened for its Spring season. There again were the familiar questions: “Why do you wish to become a barrister?”, “What areas of practice are you interested in and why?”, “Why do you believe you will make a good barrister?”
I know it is boxes such as these that even leading barristers like Tony Blair who have gone onto become household names have had to tick, but I query why Bar students are required to explain ad infinitum our motivations for a career that implicitly we have demonstrated commitment to by pursuing this high-risk path in the first place!
Some say the pressure is on for people like myself who completed the BPTC last year, and that this is the round that we must obtain our goal or otherwise remain forever upon the trash heap. At the bad times, when reading a pupillage rejection letter or reflecting on an interview performance that could have gone better, it would be easy to believe this view. However, it is of course nonsense.
Pupillage should be the test for Bar wannabes, not interviews – and wealthy barristers should pay, argues OccupyTheInns
Rarely have I found myself nodding as fiercely in agreement as yesterday when I read Andrew Jackson’s proposal to raise the minimum pupillage award by having barristers effectively compelled to pay £3 a day towards the training of pupils.
Jackson’s proposal would, of course, also have extremely positive repercussions for the outrageous situation with regard to lack of pupillages at the Bar. Force barristers to pay a contribution towards pupils’ training and more pupillages would undoubtedly flow from the wider availability of funding. I rather like Mr. Jackson's style, which echoes what I myself have argued for in the past.
*Update Saturday 21 January: Occupy has cancelled the mock trial of RBS scheduled for today*
Below is the spruced-up main courtroom in the disused Old Street magistrates' court - squatted by protesters since last month - where Occupy is currently holding three mock trials. Yesterday was war crimes, today the effect of the legal aid bill on squatters, and Saturday a prosecution of RBS for fraud and the misspending of public funds. My review of the war crimes inquiry, featuring another pic from Noah, is in today's Guardian.
Why do the Inns of Court make public their combined £4.7m scholarship fund, but refuse to disclose the revenue they generate from their massive property portfolios? Inner Temple recruitment manager Anthony Dursi sheds some light on this bugbear of journalist Alex Aldridge, while corporate lawyer Kevin Poulter wonders out loud whether anyone really cares.
There's also inside info on Inns scholarships. Which Inns interview all applicants? Which award according to need? Which award on merit only?
Plus Dursi, Aldridge and Poulter share their contrasting views on Occupy London's plan to conduct mock trials of bankers in a disused Old Street coutroom. And Dursi reveals how Inner Temple felt about last year's bid by a disgruntled law graduate to occupy the Inns of Court.
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For a transcript of the podcast, click here.
Transcript provided by Stretlaw.com Your access to Legal Education, 2011
Authorities taking steps to evict regional Occupy protesters – BBC and Sheffield Star
Maldives president asks for legal ruling on spas - Travel Weekly
Cameron's attack on health & safety culture challenged by legal sector – Insurance Age
Footballer Joey Barton ponders whether a player or referee could be sued – Football365.com
Occupy London protesters have been granted the right to continue squatting a disused Old Street magistrates’ court (pictured below) until January 23 – giving the group the opportunity to stage a series of “trials of the 1%” over the next three weeks.
The decision to allow the protesters to stay was made yesterday in the warmer climes of Clerkenwell County Court, where Occupy came to an agreement with the Old Street building’s property developer owner Mastcraft Limited (represented by Stratford solicitors’ firm Bowling & Co.).
Gytis Turbinas, one of the members of Occupy’s legal team, told Legal Cheek that the group was “very happy” with the outcome. “It’s in our interests to not have these court cases,” he said. “Three weeks gives us enough time. And it saves Mastcraft money enforcing a possession order and incurring further court expenses. We have reached an agreement that is good for all sides.”
Occupy London’s fledgling Occupy Justice campaign will find out this morning whether it can continue occupying a disused Shoreditch magistrates’ court (pictured), where its members have been holed up since 20 December.
An adjournment to the interim possession order proceedings brought against Occupy by the court’s property developer owner, Mastcraft Limited, will buy the protesters several weeks in which to complete their objective of conducting a series of "trials of the 1%".
But an eviction notice will see Occupy forced to leave the premises within 24 hours.
Other than a short-lived campaign to occupy the Inns of Court, there are few examples of law students engaging with issues affecting the legal profession, says LPC student Cat Pond
During the recent public sector strikes, I was struck by the size of the turnout and the vehemence of the strikers. For many of them, this was the first time they had ever gone on strike - the government’s programme of cuts seeing them to take that final step of walking out.
The strikers’ very public expression of militant discontent started me thinking about whether the same drive to protest could lurk somewhere within law students. With the exception of 'OccupyTheInns', a law graduate who recently wrote several posts for Legal Cheek, I’m not aware of any law student campaign trying to affect change in the legal profession. In some ways, this is surprising. Surely it would follow that in exchange for engaging in the arduous legal education process and training contract or pupillage hunt, law students would want a say in the running of the legal profession?
Unless the legal profession acts, an occupation of the Inns of Court could become inevitable, argues OccupyTheInns
During the last few days I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it is not currently a realistic objective to occupy the Inns of Court. It has become clear to me that it is simply too dangerous for most law graduates without training contracts or pupillages to attempt an occupation. I include myself in this group. As angry and disheartened as I may be, I continue to be hopeful of obtaining pupillage, and indeed have had some positive news on that front.
For that reason I can see that protest is something that all disenfranchised law graduates must approach with caution. Nevertheless, I am proud of this campaign for raising a good deal of awareness on the matter, notwithstanding some disappointing comments in response to the words I have written. Sadly, I expect more to follow these words.
I make the above statement of retreat with a caveat, however. If a year or two passes and a sizeable number of law graduates remain without pupillages and training contracts, and without the hope of securing one, then the situation could be very different. At that point, it may be more dangerous to continue sleep-walking in a basic legal support role than to publicly draw attention to the situation through an occupation of the Inns of Court.