I started my pupillage with Becket Chambers in October 2023. Almost straight away, I was accompanying members to court, and after only one month in, I have gained a wide range of exposure in the various practice areas of Chambers.
The structure of pupillage and the support systems that are in place for pupils including a dedicated pupil supervisor and appointed mentors in each practice area gives me great confidence in the process, and my readiness for taking on my own work during the second six months and beyond.
Each week has been completely different. For one week, I shadowed different members across the family courts in Kent; the hearings were in areas across our specialities and at varying stages including a directions hearing (public law) and a final hearing (private child). Another week during October was spent at a private Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment in the heart of London and then a 3-day fact-find hearing in a private child matter at the Royal Courts of Justice. This has truly given me a realistic glimpse of life at the bar and building a long-lasting practice with Becket.
My background as a county court advocate in civil matters, and an extensive 11-year career in accounting in both England and Saint Lucia, has formed a genuine interest and ability for many of Chambers’ expertise. As my journey continues, I am looking forward to deepening my understanding and skill set in all areas. It has been impressed on me that the pivotal role of barristers in family law can sometimes be overlooked. They work daily to address issues that affect families, children, relationships, and ultimately, the very fabric of our society.
A notable case that I shadowed involved one party’s inability to understand the concept of domestic violence notwithstanding serious allegations ultimately being made against him. The party involved seemed to agree with the factual circumstances that took place but argued that they did not amount to domestic violence, with a heavy reliance on the suggestion that his ability and willingness to provide financially for his wife neutralised the domestic violence. The judgement on this was no surprise and it highlighted the need for skilful cross-examination in such cases.
I have been welcomed by all the members that I have met including barristers and the friendly clerking team. Additionally, I have been invited to many social events and welcomed by the vibrant and rich legal community in Kent. Covid-19 has changed the landscape of how we work and the same can be said of Becket Chambers. There are practical expectations set on pupils to be in chambers when they are not in court.
Becket Chambers is a common law set with a broad range of expertise. As my pupillage progresses and I continue to learn, I am confident that my pupillage is equipping me with the skills and knowledge for a fulfilling and enjoyable practice.