The Open University | Life in Law

Producer: Catriona Oliphant

How are our laws made? What is it like to be a criminal defence lawyer during a murder trial? What are the challenges faced by family lawyers or immigration law advisers? What if you have credit card debt or are faced with an eviction notice and can’t afford a lawyer?

A series of five short format audio downloads give us an insight into the daily lives of those in the legal profession.

Free to download from iTunes U.

1. The legislative process

Rosemary Davies
Legal Director
Ministry of Justice

Sir Stephen Laws KCB QC
First Parliamentary Counsel (2006-2012)

Dangerous dogs, identity cards and now legal aid – just some of the legislation that solicitor Rosemary Davies has worked on as a Government lawyer. Today she has a meeting with Sir Stephen Laws, First Parliamentary Counsel, but beforehand we catch up with her at her office.

Rosemary Davies BA LLB Dip Fr(OU) Dip Eur Hum (OU) was admitted to practise as a solicitor in 1983 and worked for Winstanley-Burgess Solicitors in London for several years, specialising in judicial review in immigration and asylum cases. She joined the Government Legal Service in 1990, initially in the Home Office Legal Adviser’s Branch and since 2007, in the Ministry of Justice. She has been involved in a large number of government Bills during her career and in litigation in the UK courts and European Court of Human Rights. She is currently Legal Director at the Ministry of Justice.

Sir Stephen Laws KCB, QC(Hon), LLD(Hon) graduated in law from Bristol University in 1972, where he then taught before qualifying as a barrister. He joined the Civil Service as a legal assistant in the Home Office and later transferred to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel (OPC). For 30 years his main work was as a drafter of legislation. He worked on a number of the 1980s privatisation Bills and then on Finance Bills. Subsequently, he also worked, amongst other things, on legislation about communications and broadcasting matters, the police, terrorism and crime. In 2006, he became the First Parliamentary Counsel, the Permanent Secretary responsible for leading the OPC, with a particular role in relation to constitutional matters. He was also responsible for the civil servants supporting the Leaders and Whips in both Houses. He retired from the Civil Service in January 2012 and was appointed to the McKay Commission, looking at the consequences for the House of Commons of devolution.

2. Criminal law

Farhana Rahman-Cook
TV Edwards LLP (Tottenham Office)

Tim Moloney QC
Tooks Chambers at time of recording – now Doughty Street Chambers

Solicitor Farhana Rahman-Cook and barrister Tim Moloney QC are midway through a gruesome murder trial at the Old Bailey. We grab a few moments with each of them, over a couple of days of the trial, and find out what it’s like to be a criminal lawyer.

Farhana Rahman-Cook is a member partner at TV Edwards LLP, whose East London office she joined as a newly qualified solicitor in 2002. She was made a partner in 2008 and is now the Head of the Crime and specifically manages TV Edwards’ Tottenham and Clapham offices. Farhana is a duty solicitor and also has higher rights enabling her to appear as an advocate in all courts in all proceedings. She has practised all areas of criminal law and regularly represents clients in both the Magistrates Court and the Crown Court. She has also appeared as an advocate in the Youth Court, but now acts mainly for adult offenders. Farhana has dealt with a variety of cases that have been reported in the media, notably R v G which concerned a mother killing her two young children and involved psychiatric issues.

Tim Moloney QC is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers. His areas of practice are crime (including serious fraud), control orders and administrative law. He has appeared in many important cases, both at first instance and in the appellate courts, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2010. He has conducted trials concerned with terrorism, murder and serious mortgage fraud and has been instructed in appeals arising out of alleged complicity in torture on the part of the UK authorities. He has extensive experience of references by the Criminal Cases Review Commission and was recently successful with one such reference in an appeal against conviction of a man who had been arrested following a ‘sting’ by journalists from the News of the World. Tim has published widely in criminal law. He is one of the authors of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice, writing on terrorism, sexual offences and appeals. He also contributes to Rook and Ward on sexual offences and recently completed a book on the Criminal Procedure Rules (written with Duncan Atkinson, Treasury Counsel) published by OUP.

3. Family law

Elizabeth Hicks
Partner and Head of Family Law London
Irwin Mitchell LLP

Marriage break-up, acrimonious financial disputes, child custody: these are just some of the challenges which face family law solicitor Elizabeth Hicks. We join her at the start of her working day.

Elizabeth Hicks is a partner at Irwin Mitchell where she heads up the London Family Team. Her role is to unravel the legal, financial and practical ties when a relationship breaks down. This often involves dealing with complex financial matters such as offshore trusts and corporate structures. She also acts for parents when there is a dispute about their children as well as helping clients who require pre-marital agreements, pre-civil partnership agreements and living together contracts.  Elizabeth is a fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and an accredited family lawyer with the Law Society. She is also a trained collaborative lawyer which is a way of resolving disputes without going to court.

4. Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau

Rebecca Scott
Senior Solicitor and Legal Advice Manager
Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau

Credit card debt, redundancy and eviction are all part of the day’s work for Rebecca Scott, Senior Solicitor at the Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau. She advises people in trouble, who can’t afford a lawyer. We join her at the beginning of her day.

Rebecca Scott is a solicitor with 12 years’ post-qualification experience. Originally from the Wirral in north-west England, she studied law at Sheffield University. Her training contract was with DWF Solicitors in Liverpool, where she qualified in 2000 into defendant personal injury. In 2002, she moved to RPC Solicitors in London for whom she did defendant professional negligence work, before moving to her current job as solicitor at the Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau in London. She is Senior Solicitor and Manager of the Legal Team.

5. Immigration law

Mahmud Quayum
Immigration Adviser
Camden Community Law Centre

Immigration adviser Mahmud Quayum has been advising people on immigration issues for more than 20 years. Today he’s representing a client before an asylum and immigration tribunal.

Mahmud Quayum is an adviser at Camden Community Law Centre, where he has worked for the past 25 years. He is also a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster, London, where he teaches the Immigration law module (which he helped design) on the Legal Practice Course. He is a member of the Law Society’s Immigration Committee and a team leader on the Society’s Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2012 at 3:20 pm and is filed under Online, Our work. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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