Work Experience: Part 3


A lifetime’s road traversed in a week

At first, I detailed my first thoughts on Work Experience at Weir & Associates.
Last time, I discussed my experience of attending a hearing in the District Court of Hong Kong.

This time, I consider other areas of life inside the court-room.

Etiquette

In addition to setting, there are also a number of rather strange and understandable practices that occur in court. Firstly, the judge is addressed as your honor rather that as the judge. Whilst completely logical, you would have thought that after all these years, someone would realize it sounds rather old. I understand that in the past judges were often lords and royals but that simply isn’t the case today. In actual fact, I wonder whether this practice is actually legally enshrined or just a practice that hasn’t been discontinued. It’s quite possible that one could legally choose not to address the jude as ‘your honor’ although something tells me that they are unlikely to be looked upon very well if they happen to be the only person to do so.

When a court session starts, you have to stand up and wait for the judge to sit down first before you bow and are allowed to sit down. When adjourning, the same happens where we stand up as the judge leaves, bow rather sillily to an empty chair and then pack and leave. The strain on your back doesn’t end there because if you choose to leave early or for whatever reason enter late, one has to bow to the judge before leaving or after entering. Of course, when faced with all this bowing, it becomes quite natural. However, this last case does seem a rather redundant act. It’s quite obvious that the barristers and judge never leaves the room, after all, they are the active participants and HAVE to be there. So often it’s either the spectators, solicitors or the clerk that leaves if at all. Sadly, the very reason they are able to leave is also the reason why the judge doesn’t care if they have left or not. These attendees aren’t integral to the process and hence their presence or absence is not of major concern. My observations led me to conclude that the judge never has the need, time or energy to notice whether anyone has left the room. So bowing when coming in and bowing when coming out is rather unnecessary. I would understand that this practice be continued, I certainly respect the judge and the legal process, yet from a layman’s point of view, these are rather unnecessary.

The Future

Having the opportunity to follow this case in the detail a solicitor would see was a wonderful experience. I doubt I will have the chance to spectate a case having read the documents involved. Otherwise, they references to affirmations, evidence and assets would be but a blur. I certainly learnt a lot and gained a lot of experience through visiting court.
Many thanks to Weir & Associates for giving me this opportunity.

Next Time, I consider the Work Environment.

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