'Practice makes perfect'
It's June, and the rare British heatwave is (typically) happening at the same time as revision season - fantastic! Pouring over my Civil Litigation notes in preparation for my Legal Practice Course exam, I'm desperately trying to commit the various types of cost order to memory...
Fast forward two years and I'm a trainee solicitor at Higgs & Sons, attending a hearing at the High Court Chancery Division, Birmingham District Registry, with an associate and a partner from the Commercial Litigation Team. The hearing concerns an application made on behalf of our client for an interim injunction for restraint of trade against a recruitment company. As the partner is a Solicitor Advocate, he's representing the client at today's hearing, avoiding the need to instruct an external barrister.
The parties' representations on the application have already been heard by the judge, and we've retreated to a conference room whilst he considers his decision. We're discussing the partner's representations to the court on costs, (hence the flashback), and calculations are being hastily double-checked.
A bit of background is probably necessary at this point. When our client's application was personally served on the respondent, they agreed to provide a voluntary undertaking on the terms set out in the draft order enclosed with the application. However, they recently changed their position and the application is now contested, necessitating today's hearing.
When we're called back into the court room, it's good news - the injunction is granted. Representations on costs follow and the judge is persuaded to award our client's wasted costs, those incurred following the respondent's u-turn, with the remainder "in the case". The amount of our client's costs that the respondent has been ordered to pay is substantial and we're pleased with a good result.
I get the impression that, for a lot of trainees, completing a training contract can feel very far removed from studying law. Whilst there's certainly a lot more to being a trainee than what you're taught at university or law school, my training contract so far at Higgs has provided me with opportunities to contribute to sophisticated, technical legal work which has built on my legal education. Having a Solicitor Advocate in the department has also meant that I've gained an insight into an advocate's hearing preparation and technique when making oral representations.
Something to bear in mind to get you through the revision!
Blog post written by Katie Willems