A Day in the Life of a Pupil

Edmund Garnett was a pupil in 2021 and was offered tenancy in 2022.

I was delighted to join 5 Essex Chambers as a tenant last week, following a deeply rewarding year of pupillage. The sheer variety of work one is exposed to as a pupil is remarkable, and for that exposure I have to thank my magisterial supervisors (Charlotte Ventham, Jonathan Dixey and Aaron Moss), all the other members of Chambers who brought me into the fold, and of course the industrious clerking team. If you’re wondering what life is like for a very junior figure at 5 Essex, the following is an account of a typical working day for a second-six pupil.

My day begins early: I am up with the lark in order to travel to a court outside London. I am spending the day representing a police force in two separate cases: a case management hearing in the morning and a substantive hearing in the afternoon. Having ingested the first instalment in the balanced diet of a pupil barrister (sausage roll + cappuccino with extra shot) I bolt on to my train. I use the train journey to run through the matters I will need to discuss with opposing counsel when I arrive. I alight and walk the short distance between the train station and the Magistrates’ Court (one thing I have learned during my second six is to appreciate the ruthless efficiency of the post-war town planners in never failing to situate these two facilities in close proximity).

I meet with my opposing counsel, and we briefly discuss the outstanding issues in the case and the ongoing disputes between our respective clients. The hearing is not overly long, and I am released at around lunch time, having secured the extension of an interim order and reasonable directions for exchange of evidence.

Continuing my pastry-based diet, I consume a steak bake as I wander through the charming market town in which I find myself. I pause to inspect the local church and discover a former Lord Chancellor is interred there. Not quite sure whether to take this as an auspicious omen for this afternoon’s hearing or as an ominous memento mori, I return to the advocates’ room and spend 45 minutes or so running through the opening note I have prepared and ensuring that I have the appropriate references to the bundle at my fingertips.

The district judge is the same from that morning, and has thankfully perused both my opening note and the bundle. The hearing, again, is a short one, and I am released having secured the result my client wished for.

Arriving back in London in the late afternoon, I write up and send the attendance note to my client. I then spend a few hours researching the law for an advice I have been instructed to write – having sought a few pointers from the ever-helpful ‘Junior Juniors’ WhatsApp chat – before wrapping up work for the day and going for a well-earned pint.

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