In early January we were informed, by Mr Wallace that His Honour Judge Jefferies QC has agreed to give a talk at our school and answer questions after we attended the Bar Mock trial competition. Despite the short notice the event was well attended by pupils from Year 10 through to Year 13.
On Monday 13th January at 3:30pm, around 25 students piled into one classroom and waited for his arrival. When he arrived and sat down he first gave a 15 minute speech on how he had reached his point in his career and was very truthful in the dedication, hard work and competitiveness it takes to be a Barrister.
The opening speech
He first talked of his background and I, myself and many other classmates, were pleasantly surprised to learn that his family were not of what you would expect. His Father was a bus driver and he grew up on a council estate in Warrington with no one in his family having a connection in law. His sister went on to be a cleaner whereas he decided to study law at University where he stated himself that he “didn’t know the difference between a barrister and solicitor” when he first started.
He also acknowledges the disadvantage of being Northern when entering an industry such as Law. It seems quite unbelievable and yet impressive that his journey has gone from thinking the Inns of court was a “pub crawl” around London, to being a QC and changing the law itself by standing by his views and morals.
A line of questioning
After finishing his speech, the floor opened to questions. These varied from wanting his opinion on a certain topic or wanting to know more about his life and the challenges he has faced. Or even asking an experienced barrister the questions you have always wanted answered when concerning the profession. Here are some of the most interesting questions:
- “Has your background had a huge impact on your career path thus far?”. To this question he once again stated the disadvantages of having a Northern accent when becoming a barrister but stated that it helped when talking to a jury because it can be easier to connect with them.
- “Do you have any moral implications in your line of work?”. Due to political reasons he would only ever be on the Defence team. He did not mind letting the guilty walk free but has more implications when a man he believed to be innocent is found guilty.
- “What’s the biggest/most serious vase you have ever worked on?”. To this question he gave two cases. The first one was one of his most famous cases on the subject of recklessness. This case was called R v G&R (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_G) and he explained the facts of the case and outlined the problems he had with the verdict as he felt that is was unjust to have young boys aged 11 and 12 to be treated as adults. The second case was not named but told of how another young boy gave gruesome details of a case for hours and said it was the worst evidence he had ever heard.
The closing speech
Although there were many more questioned to be asked, Judge Jefferies offered his assistance to us by asking us to send an email if we had anymore enquiries and departed from the classroom. We intend to receive more talks from experts in Law and associated subjects. However everyone who attended agreed that this was a once in a life time experience.