The Barristers – Episode Three

I don’t feel massively inspired to post about episode three – I watched it. And I think the most elegant way to sum up my response would be ‘meh’ (look it up, it’s in the dictionary now apparently). But perhaps that’s not sufficiently informative to make a very interesting blog post so I’ll plug on…

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This week’s episode showed us a little more of the grim reality of pupillage and the insanity of starting out at the criminal bar. I wonder how many of the non-lawyers amongst the viewers will have worked out that the poor pupil sent off to Margate (of all places) for a shocking £50 will have netted about £15 for her day’s work? I’m thankful to say that from a practise base in the West Country I shall rarely have to travel to Margate again and if I do I shall claim the ‘extraordinarily grey and depressing seaside town’ SIP as an uplift.

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There was in fact a very heavy emphasis on crime in this episode (much like Bar Council circulars) –  and very interesting it was too to see the criminal bar at work. I was rather surprised at the way in which the CPS barrister conducted the various conferences in the course of her murder trial but I’m probably not best placed to comment on that since I know less than Andrew Sachs about criminal practise (naaathing) (Geeklawyer has no such qualms). I found the erosion of the independent criminal bar by the increasing use of employed counsel by the CPS extremely depressing – as Geeklawyer says this episode really only touched the surface of why this is such a VERY bad thing for the interests of justice and the promotion of the best quality advocacy.

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Unaccountably, my own mother snored through half of the show and spent the other 50% snorting and giggling at the sight of grown ups in wigs. It’s not like she hasn’t seen it before, after all she came and got slightly inebriated on call night and watched me cavorting around the house in my brand new wig… ‘Are they ALL that extrovert?’ she said (referring in particular to DIckie Bond’s oppo defence counsel). Mum, ‘they’ are ME. Even my other half said ‘Is that what it’s really like in the robing room’?. Well, apart from the Thespy asides to camera – pretty much. Although in the county court there’s probably a little less testosterone.

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Oh, and will somebody sort out that shocking disparity in robing rooms at the Old Bailey? It looked like the poor ‘ladies’ (poor delicate souls) had been thrust in a windowless dungeon. It really gave a terrible impression. I know it’s probably left as it is due to constraints of cost and an old building, but there really is no need for robing room apartheid any more – at any rate I’d have thought that some bean counter would by now have worked out you only need one robing room for all counsel and used the other room for something else. I think there is probably a similar separation of robing in the RCJ but I’ve never yet ventured in there on account of the fact that straying off the beaten track in the RCJ is a dangerous thing, and many an unwary counsel has gone in search of the bear garden never to return (well oi woodunt start from yur)…

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I won’t say I’m awaiting episode four with baited breath, but as Brucey would say ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’.

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