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Criminal barrister job requirements watch

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    Chalks, I appreciate the input. Firstly, when Simon talked about my ego (something I do not regard as fair), I took his post to be combative and an attempt to put down. If that's not the case, then I apologise, but that's honestly how it looks from where I'm reading it. Secondly, I realise my idea of what an advocate ought to be is different from what the English legal system considers them to be. I guess, as I very much like so much to do with working as a barrister, I have always somewhat hoped I'd be able to do it my way regardless. Evidently this is not the case, hence my looking towards practice as a solicitor with higher rights of access or in jurisdiction that do not split the two jobs.

    And, for the record, my problem representing views differing mine purely refers to criminal work for the state. I wouldn't particularly enjoy arguing a case for a party or parties I disagreed with, but I don't believe that doing so would compromise either my integrity or my ability to actually do the job effectively. I wouldn't even have a problem working for the CPS if we didn't have consensual/victimless crimes on the books, but with them, I don't see how I could open myself to work in a prosecutorial capacity, either as a barrister or solicitor, without having the possibility of being called to prosecute in the name of those crimes. I don't think that's naive; I'm well aware of the damage related to things like drug use, but in my view that damage does not make it acceptable to institute blanket criminalisation of any drug use, even in specific instances where no-one has been harmed. If you wish to view that as flawed, then so be it, but I make no apologies for railing against utilitarian legal theory.

    I am, unfortunately, certain that practice as a barrister in criminal law would not be for me, given that I couldn't guarantee purely defence work. Does anyone know whether it would viable be to specialise in human rights law or judicial review? Those are the two other fields which particularly interest me, and I can't see any problem representing either side in any civil cases.
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    My point is a little broader.

    At present, you say have a difficulty with the possibility of being involved in the prosecution of actions which, in your view, should not be criminalised. I don't propose to debate whether or not certain actions should be regarded as criminal behaviour: that's a subject for another day, preferably fuelled by an excellent Barossa cab sav...

    My point is that, if you think your professional role may be made difficult by personal views then you are likely to be made uncomfortable by other situations too - not just the one which you have highlighted. If, generally, your personal values might take precedence over your professional duties when in the workplace then we're in a difficult position. Would there be certain corporate clients you wouldn't work for by virtue of the products they manufacture? Would you be happy defending the government on a JR or HR matter if that meant going against personal principles?
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    Individuals' lives and liberties(not literally in the sense of their heartbeats, obviously, unless there was a serious paradigm-shift in Parliament and the death penalty was re-instituted) are actually on the line in criminal cases, which is why don't believe I could prosecute in any capacity in good conscience> As far as civil matters go, I would not be thrilled to work for people with whom I disagreed and argue for ideas I opposed, including the examples you gave, but I wouldn't have a problem doing it, because that danger attached to a criminal verdict going the wrong way just isn't there.
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    (Original post by numb3rb0y)
    Individuals' lives and liberties(not literally in the sense of their heartbeats, obviously, unless there was a serious paradigm-shift in Parliament and the death penalty was re-instituted) are actually on the line in criminal cases, which is why don't believe I could prosecute in any capacity in good conscience> As far as civil matters go, I would not be thrilled to work for people with whom I disagreed and argue for ideas I opposed, including the examples you gave, but I wouldn't have a problem doing it, because that danger attached to a criminal verdict going the wrong way just isn't there.

    So, would you be prepared to defend the government on an application by a defendant to overturn a decision to detain a terrorist suspect for a lengthy period of time without charge within the bounds of current legislation? How about a local government which has run a retirement village in such an allegedly negligent way that retirees have been the subject of physical abuse? Or the social services department who turned a blind eye to apparent sexual abuse of a young child?

    Would you act for an arms manufacturer? Or a pharmaceutical company accused of negligence in the manufacture of its products which have, allegedly, caused the death of many individuals? A mining company accused of leaking contaminants into the ground causing injury to people who subsequently purchase the land? A company which used to have asbestos in its factory which caused dozens to suffer from mesothelioma?

    My point is that there are an enormous variety of situations where, as a lawyer, you may be called upon to act for a client whose actions have, or may have had, an impact of individuals' health, livelihoods and liberties. It isn't limited to those circumstances where you're prosecution counsel pushing for the conviction of a defendant for alleged offences with which you morally disagree.

    Now, I have to get on a flight to discuss legal issues which many would have moral repugnance for. I will be out all week. Happy to discuss on my return.
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    I'm sorry you felt put down. However, I certainly did talk about your ego and it seemed to me to be fair game, given that you are relying on your personal beliefs to agree that you cannot practice and still obey the profession's rules. I don't know any other barristers who have come to that conclusion...

    Nor have you responded to my point about victims. I repeat - the job is about the client and the other parties, not about you. Crime affects us all as a society and the definition of victim is a great deal broader than the one which you are using to found your argument. Can I suggest that you try and fix up a couple of weeks marshalling with a Judge and see if your current views survive? Voltaire wisely said that when confronted with facts which did not fit his hypothesis, he changed his mind.
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    Number3B0Y Wrote : "Does anyone know whether it would viable be to specialise in human rights law or judicial review? Those are the two other fields which particularly interest me"

    Please don't sully Human Rights with your presence. I dont think my shattered nerves could stand it.......
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    Simon Myerson QC, I'm not sure there's any point trying to convince me that those laws are appropriate. I can tell you that a close family member of mine has struggled with the misuse of various substances, both legal and illegal, for a good portion of his life (thankfully, he found a significant other who has been able to pull him out of the worst of it before he caused himself serious physical harm or the police got involved). Nonetheless, he made a decision to do that to himself. It strikes me that personal liberty ought to be more important than the potential risk of tertiary emotional effects in others. We obviously have differing opinions and I very much doubt I'd ever convince you or you'd ever convince me, but regardless of that, I very much appreciate your input in this thread, as it's shed some light on the problem I'm having. It seems I won't be going into barristership, so I'll be working on either attempting to train as a solicitor if I can't find the resources to qualify as an attorney in the US. I realise solicitors are still placed in rather unsavoury positions of defending horrible people and arguing positions they may disagree with, but unless I'm mistaken at a fundamental level I would still have some degree of control over who I represented, which would give me a professional out if I was ever placed in a situation that struck me as particularly objectionable. Thanks again.

    (Original post by LawGurrl)
    Number3B0Y Wrote : "Does anyone know whether it would viable be to specialise in human rights law or judicial review? Those are the two other fields which particularly interest me"

    Please don't sully Human Rights with your presence. I dont think my shattered nerves could stand it.......
    I like the reasons you failed to give for coming to that momentously well thought-out conclusion. I'll have you know that I care very deeply about human rights, and am strongly considering working with groups like Liberty and Amnesty International in a political capacity as an alternative or supplement to the practice of law. I'm not sure why you think I'd "sully" human rights issues, but then that's hardly surprising given your total lack of any reasons for your belief that I'd do so.
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    Probably for the very same reasons that you would refuse to take certain cases because they cramp your style, you silly man. If everyone adopted your horrendously politically correct attitude there wouldnt be a barrister left in practice that would take criminal cases - or in fact any case that may seem to be a lost cause. Do get your head out of the clouds, dear chap, and get into the real world with the rest of us. I find your perpetual whining tiresome.
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    (Original post by LawGurrl)
    Probably for the very same reasons that you would refuse to take certain cases because they cramp your style, you silly man. If everyone adopted your horrendously politically correct attitude there wouldnt be a barrister left in practice that would take criminal cases - or in fact any case that may seem to be a lost cause. Do get your head out of the clouds, dear chap, and get into the real world with the rest of us. I find your perpetual whining tiresome.
    If you think that I'm "politically correct" then you need to get your head out of the clouds.

    It's entirely fair to say that given my views a position as a barrister would not be suited for me, and I have been civil and appreciative towards those in this thread that have pointed that out, but you were not one of them. Instead, you chose to act as an arrogant snob and criticise me on something completely irrelevant (it is an incredibly broken logic that argues that I would be unsuited to involve myself in human rights law in some fashion because I explicitly want to protect human rights), and now you're backtracking to make yourself seem less of, well, an arrogant snob, by claiming that you were criticising my potentially practicing at the Bar, which would have been valid. It is, thankfully, entirely transparent.
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    (Original post by Simon Myerson QC)
    I'm sorry you felt put down. However, I certainly did talk about your ego and it seemed to me to be fair game, given that you are relying on your personal beliefs to agree that you cannot practice and still obey the profession's rules. I don't know any other barristers who have come to that conclusion...

    Nor have you responded to my point about victims. I repeat - the job is about the client and the other parties, not about you. Crime affects us all as a society and the definition of victim is a great deal broader than the one which you are using to found your argument. Can I suggest that you try and fix up a couple of weeks marshalling with a Judge and see if your current views survive? Voltaire wisely said that when confronted with facts which did not fit his hypothesis, he changed his mind.
    I have Student Legal Week in front of me at the moment, and I'm currently looking at a particular article by a particular barrister who posts on TSR...

    Good article, btw.
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    (Original post by numb3rb0y)
    Simon Myerson QC, I'm not sure there's any point trying to convince me that those laws are appropriate. I can tell you that a close family member of mine has struggled with the misuse of various substances, both legal and illegal, for a good portion of his life (thankfully, he found a significant other who has been able to pull him out of the worst of it before he caused himself serious physical harm or the police got involved). Nonetheless, he made a decision to do that to himself. It strikes me that personal liberty ought to be more important than the potential risk of tertiary emotional effects in others. We obviously have differing opinions and I very much doubt I'd ever convince you or you'd ever convince me, but regardless of that, I very much appreciate your input in this thread, as it's shed some light on the problem I'm having. It seems I won't be going into barristership, so I'll be working on either attempting to train as a solicitor if I can't find the resources to qualify as an attorney in the US. I realise solicitors are still placed in rather unsavoury positions of defending horrible people and arguing positions they may disagree with, but unless I'm mistaken at a fundamental level I would still have some degree of control over who I represented, which would give me a professional out if I was ever placed in a situation that struck me as particularly objectionable. Thanks again.


    I like the reasons you failed to give for coming to that momentously well thought-out conclusion. I'll have you know that I care very deeply about human rights, and am strongly considering working with groups like Liberty and Amnesty International in a political capacity as an alternative or supplement to the practice of law. I'm not sure why you think I'd "sully" human rights issues, but then that's hardly surprising given your total lack of any reasons for your belief that I'd do so.
    Would still be interested to know your thoughts on my last post above. You seem to be of the view that it is only in the criminal prosecution sphere that you can be acting for clients which will affect individuals' liberty and livelihoods.
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    What makes you think practising in the US will be different? I have worked with law firms in America, particularly in the area of civil and human rights, and there are ALWAYS going to be cases you disagree with, no matter whether you're prosecuting or defending. You seem to have an issue with "the man". Dictionary.com defines the verb to advocate as: to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument. Your job as a lawyer or advocate, anywhere in the world, would be to argue in support of your client, no matter what. You're not suited to the profession in any respect, in my opinion. Working for Amnesty International or Liberty would suit you more - although you'd have to learn to be more diplomatic and you'd definitely need to gain a broader understanding of the world (don't bother arguing - it's true).
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    Whom are you addressing...?
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    The original poster...
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    Let's imagine that you were assigned to defend X, accused of a s4 Public Order Act Offense (relatively minor). You find out, in interview, that he beats his wife daily, though this isn't what he's on trial for. Would you still represent him?

    If not, you CANNOT be a lawyer. You will be disbarred/struck off the first time you dump a case halfway through because you don't like the defendant.

    (Original post by numb3rb0y)
    I realise solicitors are still placed in rather unsavoury positions of defending horrible people and arguing positions they may disagree with
    This isn't about "horrible people" and disagreeing with positions. This is a profession about showing up, offering the best legal advice you can and providing good representation in a professional manner. Nothing else.

    If you want your own opinions to enter into it, you want to be an activist, not a lawyer. At best, you want to be an in-house lawyer for activists, though you won't be able to qualify without doing some general work first. And remember, if you're employed by activists, they'll be the ones choosing what you do. No matter what you do, lawyering is about serving your client, not about promoting your own beliefs.
 
 
 
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