Kam is a third year James Cook University student studying a Bachelor of Law with an interest in social justice and criminal law. Kam spent the day with the Senior Investigations Officer at the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in Townsville. Fair Trading Inspectors investigate whether a business may have broken a law regulated by OFT. Alleged breaches are detected from either complaints lodged by consumers or from proactive compliance checks on regulated industries. OFT can take enforcement action against a business that has broken the law. Enforcement action ranges from warnings, undertakings and infringements to court action. Fair Trading aims to deliver a fair and safe marketplace for Queensland consumers and businesses.
I was invited on behalf of the Justice Journey’s program to go behind-the-scenes at the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in Townsville. I took on this opportunity with an open mind being hopeful to gain as much value out of the day as possible.
I am a third year law student studying at James Cook University with a growing passion for the law. University focuses heavily on the academic side of the law – I was yet to see how the law works in practice. This was my first taste of the legal community and I was excited – although that was mixed with a healthy dose of anxiousness. This anxiousness required me to re-adjust my tie one more time than was necessary.
These jitters were quickly put to rest when I was greeted with the cheeriness and warmth of Cheryl, Senior Investigations Officer, and the rest of the Fair Trading team. First up, I was taken around the office to meet the team and was able to have a chat with a few of the solicitors, who took a keen interest in my studies and upcoming exams. Cheryl and I then sat down to discuss exactly what she and the team do at OFT. I was then given case studies to read over to see exactly what they deal with on a day-to-day basis. This was an opportunity for me to use the knowledge I have gained throughout my studies. Being able to try and solve these disputes in my head made me excited to see my progress and keen to enter into the legal community.
Later in the day, I was able to talk to some of the Fair Trading Conciliators. It was amazing to see the amount of cases they resolve on a daily basis, from a wide range of issues. After doing the rounds of the workplace, I had a bit more insight into what exactly the OFT does. While discussing the range of issues they deal with and how they resolve them, it was amazing to see how closely the knowledge I have gained throughout my studies, applies to the real world.
To sum up my day at OFT, I would like to say ‘thank you’ to the team for taking the time to teach and mentor me. My first work experience with the legal community has been very rewarding. It helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel during this exam period and recognise what careers could await for me once I have finished my degree.