I recently had the good fortune and privilege of doing a three-day job shadow placement with Her Honour Magistrate Deb Vasta at the Cleveland Magistrates Court.

Tobias photo 1The Cleveland Magistrate Court where Tobias had the opportunity to witness and learn from Magistrate Vasta.

My three-day placement mostly involved attending proceedings in the Cleveland Magistrates Court over which Magistrate Vasta presides.

I observed the Magistrates Court operating in its criminal jurisdiction and also had the opportunity to witness Magistrate Vasta sitting in the specialist Children’s Court

I was extremely impressed by Her Honour’s agility in effectively and efficiently resolving such a high volume and smorgasbord of matters. Her Honour’s inimitable compassion and lateral thinking were the most striking features of my in-court experience.

During my placement, I was also afforded significant one-on-one time with Magistrate Vasta in her chambers. It was extremely stimulating to engage in meaningful conversations about contemporary criminal law issues with such a distinguished member of the profession.

I am extremely grateful for not only how enthusiastic Her Honour was to discuss various criminal law issues with me, but also Magistrate Vasta’s receptiveness to my ideas and candour in expressing her own. During these conversations, Her Honour also discussed with me the rigors and rewards of a career in criminal law, introducing me to a prominent defence solicitor who provided detailed insights into a career in criminal defence.

Tobias photo 2Visiting the Cleveland Courthouse.

My experience in the Cleveland Magistrates Court has significantly reinforced my interest in, and passion for, criminal law. Exposure to the frenzied operation of the Magistrates Court in its criminal jurisdiction has significantly grounded my theoretical appreciation of the criminal law in a practical context.

Over my three days of observing proceedings before Magistrate Vasta, I was also exposed to a wide range of advocacy styles. This exposure is particularly instructive to the progressive development of my emerging identity as an aspiring lawyer.

I am very appreciative of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and Magistrate Vasta for facilitating my Justice Journeys placement. I have already made plans with Magistrate Vasta to return to the Cleveland Magistrates Court in the near future.