ILSPA’s tour of the Royal Courts of Justice has always been a popular and interesting element of our Legal Secretaries Diploma course. Over the years hundreds of Students have benefited from attending a unique and specifically tailored tour from our Patron and former evening class tutor, Amanda Hamilton. Our guided tour is created to help Students put their learning material into perspective and really understand the court system and processes they are being taught.
As of 2020, our tour will now take place once a month on a Wednesday. We have just announced a new list of dates, which you can view on the Royal Courts of Justice tour page located in the Student Resources section of our online Student and Member area.
The day begins with a structured tour of the wider area of “Legal London”. This is the wonderful maze of buildings, gardens and courtyards surrounding the Royal Courts of Justice – including one of the oldest buildings in London, dating back to 1185. It also contains a fountain which was dedicated to Amanda Hamilton’s grandfather. She refers to it as her “family fountain”.
Our Students then explore the Royal Courts of Justice itself, starting in the main hall and passing through some of the landmark areas of the courts. You may not be aware of how huge they are – they contain 86 courts, 3.5 miles of corridors and hundreds of admin offices!
Students have the opportunity to learn more about the history of the courts, including a better understanding of the traditional way in which Solicitors and Barristers used to work and how this has changed over time.
Amanda welcomes questions throughout the tour and sets Students fun assignments, which provide you with an excellent opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge, as well as navigate the courts and gain familiarity with the area known as Legal London.
Students are also given the chance to “court hop”, meaning that they can go from one courtroom to another to listen to the different cases being heard. These can range from criminal appeals to civil appeals and even High Court cases. Students can take a look at the Royal Courts of Justice website to see what cases are being heard on the day of their tour here: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/court-lists/list-cause-rcjhttps://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/court-lists/list-cause-rcj.
Julia Gorst attended the tour at the end of last year and gave us the following feedback about her day:
The tour provides an amazing opportunity to see the workings of the Royal Courts of Justice. My guide was Amanda Hamilton, Chief Executive of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP). She provided us with a unique insight in working in the legal profession and gave us an overview of the buildings, history, architecture, and the layout and functionality of the many courts. We were also taken around Temple to see where the barristers’ chambers are located.
In the afternoon session we were able to sit in on court cases and I was lucky enough to see part of a Judicial Review and a Civil Litigation case. This was my favourite part of the day. It brought the coursework to life and you could see for yourself how law works in practice. I would definitely recommend the tour as you can familiarise yourself with the Royal Courts in a non-pressurised way and an expert is on hand to answer any questions that may arise to help prepare you for a future career within the legal profession. The tour began at 11am and finished at 4pm.
If you would like to attend the tour, please visit our Royal Courts of Justice tour page, pick your preferred date and contact Amanda Hamilton directly to secure your place. Amanda’s contact details are located within the information provided.