London, 12 April 2013
This first visit to London Legal was organized by English Training of Lissone, Italy, in conjunction with Alan Jones (former practicing English solicitor and member of the executive committee of EULETA).
For further information download the
London 2013 Brochure
We took 8 lawyers from northern Italy to the heart of the common law system, and allowed them to witness trials first hand and even enter areas normally reserved for barristers and judges (including lunch in Middle Temple Hall).
The day started with a walk through Lincolns Inn Fields one of the four Inns of Court, leading onto:
New Square, which is full of barristers chambers, to see first-hand how barristers, even in the centre of busy London, have carved out an apparent intellectual ‘safe haven’ – which comes as a shock to those working in more hectic conditions.
This led onto a quick visit to Wildy’s Legal Bookshop on the corner of the square, which is the oldest legal bookshop in the world.
Outside the Royal Courts of Justice after having witnessed Appeal Court hearings – allowing us to see first-hand how barristers and judges interact with each other in the common law system. This provided a real ‘culture shock’ for lawyers from a country using a civil law system.
After the RCJ and we walked to Temple Church, one of the oldest in London and which is the ‘lawyers’ church’ (it was the church of the Knights Templar and was featured in the movie “The Da Vinci Code.”)
Lunch was in Middle Temple Hall alongside working barristers and Judges (who sit at the top table – a gift to the Temple from Elizabeth I.) The Hall was used a location set for the Harry Potter films and several lawyers felt it was what eating at Hogwarts would be like.
The building dates back to 16th century and has been the Centre of legal life in the Middle Temple since then.
After lunch Alan Jones held a seminar in the Minstrel Gallery– linking the development of the English language to the development of the Common law.
The Rolls Building where the admiralty, chancery and commercial courts of the RCJ sit: Opened in 2011: here voice-recognition is rapidly making paper-based trials a thing of the past.
A guided tour of the building provided by the Building Manager and was our last stop of the afternoon.
Here below is some feedback from lawyers who experienced London Legal:
Avv. Cristina Venco, Como - www.studiovenco.it/chisiamo.htm
"The London Legal course was a unique life experience: firstly because some places we visited, like Middle Temple Hall where we had lunch, are not open to the public, but also as I firmly believe that as a tourist no one could understand the importance of all the locations without a guide like Alan Jones and his comprehensive explanations."
Avv. Silvio De Stefano, Monza - email@example.com
"Attending a hearing in the Royal Court of Justice gave me an insight into a criminal trial under the common-law system. I’ll never forget the judge, his respectful behaviour towards the parties and their points of view, his attention to the case with specific questions to the barristers in order to get complete comprehension, his wise, clear and plainly explained decision. Everything conveyed an atmosphere of holiness and justice.
I would recommend “London Legal” to other lawyers, but I would give them a warning: try to forget everything before coming back to Italy!"
Avv. Maria Grazia Pala, Como - firstname.lastname@example.org
"Spending a day in the center of legal London is an amazing experience; it makes you feel part of a fascinating scenario, where tradition goes along with modernity, in perfect harmony.
The London legal trip was a journey back to the roots of the legal profession, in which you, as a lawyer, can rediscover the dignity of what you do."