Alice Meredith is a junior member of Chambers. She was called in 2013 and was taken on in 2014.
Having now been a tenant at 5 Essex Chambers for several years, the first thing to tell prospective applicants is that there is no typical day. The work of a junior tenant is varied as Chambers covers a broad range of work, from police law, public and human rights law to employment law.
As a junior tenant of under 5 years’ call, I will usually be in court for at least half of the week, and will spend the rest of the week in Chambers doing paperwork or in conference.
At the start of practice, many of my hearings were in the Magistrates’ Courts or Crown Court. This included making applications for civil orders such as Sexual Harm Prevention Orders, forfeiture orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act, or defending appeals against firearms or taxi licensing decisions.
I also appear in the County Court or High Court, including sometimes in the family court. This is often to act in personal injury or civil claims, many with a police and human rights law aspect, such as claims for false imprisonment or assault, and under the Human Rights Act. When in the family court, I am usually making or responding to applications for disclosure, or seeking civil orders such as Forced Marriage Protection Orders or Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders.
I also appear in disciplinary proceedings involving police officers, and inquests, usually those where a public authority has had some involvement with a person before their death. As I have a particular interest in employment and discrimination law, I am often in the Employment Tribunal or Employment Appeal Tribunal, acting both for police forces and private clients.
Since more senior members of Chambers are often involved in significant, high profile cases or public inquiries, there are frequent opportunities to work as a junior. This provides a brilliant opportunity to learn from the approach of more senior colleagues, and to be involved in some of the most important cases in our areas of law. We often provide talks and training for our clients on new developments in our areas of law. These are usually given by a mix of senior and junior members, which provides a further opportunity to benefit from the expertise of other members of Chambers.
When in Chambers, I will be drafting pleadings or advising clients. The advisory work is fascinating and if anything, provides an even greater variety of work, with advice ranging from the wording of a collaboration agreement between police forces to how to obtain material required for a criminal investigation. Advice is usually required both on the legal position and on a practical approach moving forward.
Whether in Chambers or in court, I am able to draw on the wealth of expertise held by other members of Chambers, who are always willing to put aside their own work to talk through any particularly difficult point I encounter. On Fridays our Head of Chambers welcomes all members for tea and cake, which gives everyone a chance to catch up and hear about what others have been working on that week.
Aside from work for specific clients, all members of Chambers contribute to our publications, which include police and employment law updates. Internally, we arrange a programme of talks for our own pupils, which all members are invited to attend, and which are invariably useful. As a member of our Management Committee from when I was a very junior member of Chambers, I have also been able to contribute to the direction and development of Chambers as a whole. Chambers is aware of the importance of continuing to support the development of a diverse and talented profession and, under the guidance of our pupillage committee, I have also spent time giving talks for potential pupillage candidates and hosting younger students in Chambers.
Through my exposure to Chambers’ broad areas of work, I have increasingly found my own interests and preferences, and have been supported by the clerks to develop my practice in those areas. I have benefitted from the ambitious, motivating and supportive ethos in Chambers, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time working here so far. It is a great place to work to build a varied and successful practice at the Bar.
Alice Meredith is a junior member of Chambers. She was called in 2013 and became a tenant in 2014.
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