University of Buckingham students visit Milton Keynes Magistrates Court
A group of students from the University of Buckingham's law school visited Milton Keynes Magistrates Court earlier this month to watch proceedings unfold and listen to talks presented by magistrates.
An eight-strong group attended and on arrival they received a talk from Debbie Gibbs from the Magistrates Court Association.
There were then additional talks from a family magistrate, and information available from the witness service.
Debbie said: “The magistrates in the community team enjoyed hosting the University of Buckingham students and we are always keen to engage with young people about the role of the magistracy and the magistrates' courts.”
The students then sat in court and watched some of the cases as they were tried.
One of Australia’s leading human rights barristers and senior fellow at Buckingham’s law school Dr Jocelynne Scutt said: “As the law clinic has been going for five years, we’re keen to give students practical experience, where they learn to synthesise information.
"What’s significant about the event is that it is a regular part of the course and students will not only have the experience, but we are incorporating the scheme so that students gain university credit for their participation.
“Students will be able to use the courts for mooting practice in the future, which will provide the required pro bono work and skills, adding to students’ expertise and experience when applying for jobs.”
Law students who are part of the Street Legal scheme, which gives students the chance to experience law in a professional environment or the Citizens Advice Law Clinic were able to sign up for the court visit.
Final year law student Diksha Dahoo, who is part of the scheme said: “I have always wanted to visit a magistrates court, and this is such good hands on experience.
"When we listened to the custody case, we learnt about procedures for family and criminal courts, and a lot about the sentencing power of a magistrate.
“The law school has been very supportive and encouraged me to join the Street Legal scheme to get more practical experience.”
Final year student Naila Yaqub, who studies law part-time said: “Coming to see this set up in court gives you the insight you wouldn’t usually get.
“As a part time student, I thought I wouldn’t get practical experience, but the law clinic programme allows me to.
"Being part time allows you to achieve something you wouldn’t usually achieve, and it’s definitely worth it.”