I am two weeks into my second six of pupillage and it has been an exciting and eye-opening couple of weeks. I have found the transition from first to second six challenging but highly enjoyable. Everyone in Chambers has been very supportive to both Katherine and myself, and have not complained when they have received a panicked phone call from court asking for help!
One of my first cases was the final hearing of an occupation and non-molestation order application. This was a particularly challenging case to be instructed on as both parties required the assistance of an interpreter and the respondent father was a litigant in person. I’m pleased to say that despite my initial nerves I was able to successfully obtain the orders sought by the client.
I was also instructed on a case that was interesting for an entirely different reason: the solicitor for the respondent and I went to school together and were in a school play 10 years ago. I’m starting to appreciate how small the family law world is!
Another change for me these past weeks has been my move to a new pupil supervisor. My previous supervisors largely acted in care proceedings for local authorities whereas my current supervisor, Elissa Da Costa-Waldman, primarily practices in private law matters and TLATA. The most notable difference has therefore been the shift from spending each day away from chambers and in court to spending most days in chambers preparing cases, drafting pleadings and going to conferences.
TLATA is completely different from what I’ve observed so far in pupillage and not just from care work but from matrimonial finance work as well. TLATA work requires a totally different, forensic approach, and can often seem like you are a detective tracing back who put what into where, before assessing why they then should get a share of what is available now.
Elissa’s practice also involves dispute resolution as she is a family law arbitrator and I have learnt a lot about Alternative Dispute Resolution and the benefits of this in finance and TLATA cases. I recently learnt about an Ungley Order which provides that the parties must consider whether ADR is suitable and any party who considers that the case is unsuitable for resolution by ADR shall be prepared to justify that decision at the conclusion of the trial. This proved particularly helpful in one TLATA case where the applicant refused to consider ADR.
I am looking forward to attending my first ever family law arbitration in the next couple of weeks, where Elissa is the arbitrator. With a growing emphasis from the courts on using Alternative Dispute Resolution methods in order to reach an agreement, I’m particularly keen to get a greater insight into this area of work. This article was originally published in the New Court Chambers e-Newsletter and has been reproduced here with permission of the copyright owner.