Law Week 2017 Justice Journeys

Riley

Riley spent three days at QEII Courts of Law and gained a first-hand view of the inner workings of court.

Riley is in his fifth year at the University of Queensland studying a Bachelor of Arts/Law. Aspiring to work as a judge’s associate, Riley completed three days at the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law and gained a unique insight to the inner workings of court.

I felt privileged to have a unique insight into how justice is administrated by the court in Queensland. For three days, rotating around the divisions of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) within the QEII Courts of Law, I was able to see how a civil proceeding is commenced to its resolution in a court and witness the empanelling of a jury and trial.

Studying law at university has given me a theoretical understanding of Law. I was able to put this knowledge in to action during my placement.

Spending time in the listings areas and especially examining how the commercial list is managed was an interesting experience. The Supreme Court has a commercial list which is overseen by designated judges. Both lists have been created to facilitate the expeditious resolution of disputes.

Understanding the intricacies of work undertaken by Queensland Courts staff became clear to me after observing the level of stakeholder liaison and preparation of court files. I was grateful to witness this area of the court system – seeing how much it plays a vital role in the administration of justice and the correct management of cases.

Riley's three day placement offered an exhaustive insight to the inner workings of the Supreme and District Court.Riley's three day placement offered an exhaustive insight into the inner workings of the Supreme and District Court.

On my final day, I had the opportunity to shadow an associate to the Chief Judge of the District Court. This was the day I was looking forward to most! Arriving at court I was met by the Chief Judge’s Associate, Sally Blake and was taken to meet His Honour Chief Judge Kerry O’Brien of the District Court of Queensland. We then set ourselves to work on the busy day ahead. The administrative preparation needed for any sitting is great – it’s here where associates play a pivotal role.

On this day, the Chief Judge would be conducting a hearing via video link. This was a rarity to be able to witness, especially the behind the scenes preparation. Then it was time for court. This was a privilege to accompany both His Honour and Sally in to court and sit with the associate at their bench.

His Honour’s common sense approach struck me as important in administering day-to-day justice. This was a different perspective for me - having witnessed many court proceedings as a law student from the gallery. The experience helped me understand how the theory I have learned at university is applied daily within the courts. Sally was a pleasure to shadow and I learned a lot from her eager and thorough approach.

Finally, I was able to have a discussion with Chief Judge O’Brien about my future in the law. During which the Chief Judge advised me to ensure that preparation was key. My time with the Chief Judge will shape my future in the law and I am thankful for the time and generosity he gave to impart some of his wisdom and knowledge.

I am very grateful to all of the people that assisted me to have an insight into the administration of justice in Queensland. The hospitality and kindness shown to me was fantastic!

Riley "The Chief Judge advised me that preparation was key."