Sharing some insight from a court hearing I attended today with a client. I have joined support through court since June 2022. For the pupils with a limited old boys’ network, this is heaven to observe, work and get some practical legal experience. Please share the blog.
After shadowing my seniors for 3 days and supporting the clients to fill up their legal forms, I had some courage to assist a client recently in court. Before I go to my story mode of that experience let me enlight you that what we do as a volunteer in the support through court. I would like to admit my gratitude to the manager of Newcastle Support Through Court and National Support through Court for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. How we support our community-
- Provide practical, procedural, and emotional support in many areas of Civil and Family court processes.
- Explain to clients how the court works, help fill in various legal forms, organise papers, and discuss settling issues without going to court.
- Help plan what clients want to say in court, and if needed, go with the clients to court to provide support and help afterwards.
- Provide details of other specialist advice agencies, where possible, and help clients to find out whether they can get free legal advice and signposting them into different agencies upon their needs.
Support Through Court (formerly The Personal Support Unit (The PSU)) is a UK legal charity that supports people who have to represent themselves in court. The aim is to “reduce the disadvantage of people facing the civil and family justice system without a lawyer, enabling them to access justice” and believe that “no one should face court alone”.
Support Through Court does not offer legal advice, but provides support to clients in a variety of other ways including explaining how the court system works, helping to fill in court forms and papers, and accompanying clients to their hearings.
Let’s share some of my experience so far being a brown Bar student.
Just recently I joined a professional body meeting as a law student and being a survivor of Modern day slavery and trafficking in the UK. Due to my extensive role as a community champion, I do attend various community and national and international events. I was been asked in a meeting online by someone ( A high-profile person- HPP) what do you do MD? I just replied to him I am a ‘Bar student’. Doing my degree in a scholarship at Northumbria University, Newcastle. The next line from HPP was ”Is this something related to the hospitality industry?”. That HPP has a good profile on LinkedIn and he has a bunch of Barristers and friends on his list from the legal sector just to add where he will not be able to justify that he does not know there is a group of students who will be potential Barristers going forward and will be holding the torch of the legal system of this country is called ‘Bar Students’. The moment he asked me that question I realised he was not doing it for fun and why!
There are a bunch of news in the English national media and newspapers that how the Barristers and lawyers are been racially profiled in court during their work. No, I wouldn’t say it was by mistake. I closely mix with my community through my other roles in the community ( Citizens Advice, Fire service, Vaccination volunteering etc) and I know absolutely what I am talking about. The newspapers and national media may say it was a mistake but I would say no it is not. Now I know some of (so-called privileged class) will tell me do not like it then why don’t you leave? No sorry, not this time. You need to understand the world is changing and I am not here to leave or give up. I have stories behind my back and specific reason that ‘why I am studying law. Why I should accomplish my desire to be someone in the legal sector? Want to know more? then google my name ( Md Mominul Hamid). One of the news I would like to share about how lawyers from diversified backgrounds find the court experience is here( From Guardian)
Recently during attending a court hearing I felt it was a bit unusual for a brown person to accompany a white grandmom in court. I felt a bit uneasy as I was been asked by the same person twice what I am doing here and who am I. Asked by a Clark in the court what is this Support Through Court? I never heard about it. I have resolved it by explaining Stuuport Through Court’s special contract with the Ministry of Justice ( MoJ).
Obviously, I have seen the amusement on their face. I have observed it from the security checker to the defence solicitor, from the social worker to the to Judges Clark & Judges Panel). What makes me feel wired- An Asian Judge on the panel was looking at me over and over for no reason. Even though I felt embarrassed at some point but I thought I will break it at the end of the court procedures.
Throughout the whole procedure, I did take the opportunity to serve my client’s ( Grandmom) tissue while she got emotional. Water while she needed it and giving a counter view to the opposition that I do exist as moral support to my client.
Crucially, a long way to go and it was always been the case but someone needs to start and show active inclusion and how diversity works in the legal sector. I thoroughly enjoyed my day though and at the end, I dared to go in front of the Judges and introduced myself ( They did not mind though)…#Mds legal Journey Continues.
Thank you so much for reading my blog. Please share. My social media- https://linktr.ee/abirking2017
Disclaimer: Any comments are welcome. As a law student, I respect everyones’ view but that must not indicate I should support your view or even in the future my perspective may have moved (Due to reasons), but that does not discredit the truth that I am correct. Please do not copy my blog and If you share please admit the credit to me. Thank you. Md Mominul Hamid ( Acting like a lawyer ( Barrister), an asylum seeker in the UK ( please do not be surprised), A victim of Modern-day Slavery And trafficking in the UK, An Activist Acting like a lawyer looking for legal experience opportunities ( any takers)?