Peter and Joshua are spending time each week job shadowing a Magistrate in the Cairns Magistracy. Throughout the year the students will be exposed to a diverse range of matters faced by the Magistrates Court, giving them a valuable insight into the legal reasoning behind each decision and a greater appreciation for the essential functions performed by the Magistrates Court.
We initially met with Magistrate Spencer at the 2015 Inter Alia Law Ball, hosted by the James Cook University (JCU) Law Students’ Society, where we expressed a passion for advocacy and the court process. Magistrate Spencer kindly offered the 2 of us the opportunity to undergo work-experience with the Cairns Magistracy on a weekly basis, to provide both of us with an in-depth understanding of the operation and function of the Queensland Magistrates Court.
During our respective days in court, we shadow a Magistrate in the courtroom and in chambers, receiving exposure to the diverse range of matters faced by the Magistrates Court on a daily basis. We are constantly discussing these matters in detail with the Magistrates, who are kind and patient enough to provide us with valuable insight into the legal reasoning behind each decision and a greater appreciation for the essential functions performed by the Magistrates Court.
The experience has led to numerous opportunities to engage with the broader legal profession, including an invitation to the re-instatement of Murri Court in April 2016. While Murri Court has operated on an informal basis for some time—as the Indigenous Sentencing List (ISL)—it was positive to see the court receive refunding and status once again. We had each spent a day sitting in on the ISL in operation earlier in the year, announcing our appearances and introducing ourselves not only to the court, but also to the Indigenous Elders who were present.
Going into this opportunity neither of us had a true understanding of the inner workings of the Magistrates Court. The Magistracy and administrative staff have been welcoming and supportive, with a view to ensuring we get the most from this highly-valued experience. We are grateful for their time and look forward to enjoying the remainder of the year.