Bar Essay – A Barrister’s Crusade

This is not a story of a single case, for they are far too frequent and common. No, this is a story of a barrister, connected to both the law of the state and the law of the inner person. Her image is a time machine of endless dates, events and emotion. A case finishes for the court and the client, but not for the barrister. To her, life is the real case with each client only a small jigsaw piece in a much larger picture. Some pursue an image of justice; others pursue money. But she… It’s far deeper. There’s a certain stimulant to the knowledge of fulfilling ones inner potential. She knows she’s not peaked – in fact she’s barely begun.

A man stands in the dock. His eyes are large pools of innocence, with his lower lip quivering. The barrister stands tall, her eyes respectfully locked onto the Judge. The defendant pleads not guilty to a crime that he cannot defend. Regardless, he exercises the right to fair trial laid down in Article 6 of the Human Rights Act. The barrister represents this fundamental principle and acts as a guardian to its implementation. Many men and women have died to preserve this right dating from the suspension of Habeas Corpus under William Pitt, to the men and women who perished in opposition to the oppressive Third Reich. Very few professions can claim to preserve such an invaluable right.

In another court, on the other side of the city, stands a man with tears brimming in his eyes. He has already lost his family to the Chinese authorities, and now fights to preserve his own by claiming asylum. There are inconsistencies in his case, but one thing that cannot be disputed is the giant scar that lines his back. The decision will be finalised in a week, a painful time of uncertainty and dread. The law is final, but its implementation can have lasting effects. That’s why the legal profession must be protected and practiced by only those utterly devoted to its cause.

‘Defence, Prosecution; we are all one’ the barrister says. ‘We perform just like the professionals of the theatre, to the small time busker on the edge of Russell Square.’ And perform they do. Words are the weapons of the court room, blazing in their sound but ordinary in their meaning. The court room possesses its own language; a foreign dialect dipped in raw emotion and lit by the fire of justice.

The barrister wears her armour; not one of steel and chain, but one of words and thoughts. The heart pumping; the face flushed; the adrenaline running. It’s another day in court but like the howl of the wind, the burn of the sun and the nature of the rain, no one day is ever the same.

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