Week 2 – At work in the city (written blog).

There has definitely been a lot more work to be involved in since last week. On Monday, I had continued to read the 500 page judgment and was also given some documents for a third case in regards to Tax Fraud. This gave me an insight of what will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting with the Department of Justice (DOJ), which was held on Wednesday.  

Later on in the day, I was also given the heads up to re-read the memorandum in regards to the second case given so that I was prepared to carry out some work on it later on in the week. There was so much for me to look forward to, that I was glad Tuesday was a more of a quiet day. I listened in on a phone with the SCC, who wished to congratulate a Partner at the firm of their performance in a recent presentation i.e. the moot presentation. It was nice to hear this news.  

Wednesday was a hectic day, as soon as I arrived at 9.15am I headed straight down to the federal court to attend an oral argument. The case was very unusual and complex, however to see an Attorney in practice was a great experience. Though this was a lot different to the court appearance I attended on Thursday. Now you may ask why. Well… when you’re sitting down in a federal court and one by one, each defendant is escorted into the room and all you hear is the chains wrapped around their waist and handcuffs around their wrists  – now that is a big difference to a room filled with 5/6 people, all being attorneys or part of the Government. This was the first time I had experienced anything like this! The case was a drugs case, however I choose not to discuss in detail for confidential reasons.  

Now it is a known fact that the treatment of defendants who are black in comparison to white differs. The Criminal Justice System (in my opinion) shows how unfair it can be for the above reason. It is more of an unbelievable fact to know that many of these indigent defendants have already been in prison for at least 12 months without a decision being made in regards to their sentence. Though it is nice to see lawyers work on the Pro Bono scheme to defend these indigent defendants. As I believe regardless of the crime everyone should have the right to a competent lawyer to represent them: and it was pleasing to see that happen in practice.  

Friday was a very relaxed day as there was not anything specific to complete. This gave me a chance to reflect on all my experiences this week. It has been a great opportunity to get outside of the office and sit in on meetings and court activities, despite the constant security stops – it was worth while. As for next week, Joanna has kindly informed me of a trial taking place in relation to white-collar cases. This has been publicised excessively in the media, thus look forward to attending the trial and observing what  takes place. Though this is not a specific task given, I have been permitted to attend if I wish. This sounds very interesting, so this will be one of my activities to take part in next week. 

Anastasia.

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