A group of Public Services learners from the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London saw the workings of the legal system at first hand on a recent visit to Haringey Magistrates’ Court.

The learners, accompanied by their lecturer Neil Templeman, were given a tour of the court building by magistrates Kevin Fitzpatrick and Victoria Scott (JP). They were then given a briefing before each case in court, with Kevin and Victoria explaining the relevant points of law. Then, as each case of the day was heard, Kevin and Victoria sat with the learners in the public gallery, providing commentary and analysis as the proceedings unfolded before them.

A total of 30 learners took part in the visit, entering the court in rotation in smaller groups to avoid disrupting the day’s work. 

Learner Hani Gue said: “We saw a very wide variety of cases – some where clients represented themselves and others who were represented by lawyers. The contrast between the two was really interesting, and it made it clear to me the importance of having legal representation in court. That’s the sort of thing you can only really understand by seeing the court in action and not just reading about it. The whole day was fascinating.”

Public Services Lecturer Neil Templeman said: “All of the learners have enjoyed the opportunity to see real life court cases. I think they were surprised by the variety of crimes that are dealt with on an average day at the magistrates’ court. They got to see how magistrates deal with those different charges, and the range of punishments that can be ordered.”

At the end of the visit, the learners joined magistrates Kevin and Victoria again, together with legal advisors, to discuss the cases they had seen. A lively debate was a sure sign that the learners had found the visit extremely thought-provoking. Neil said: “Kevin and Victoria were very impressed with the conduct of our learners, and how engaged they were. They were a great credit to the College, and we’re confident that many more visits like this will happen in the future.”

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