Here at Regan Peggs Solicitors we are fortunate to be regularly joined by interns from Birmingham City University. This instalment of the Intern’s Diary is written by the firm’s latest intern, Maria Nogueira.
Read previous instalments of the Intern’s Diary here.
Week of 16 July 2018
This week we were joined in the office by a work experience student, Aimee Smith. For the majority of her time with us, Aimee was shadowing Regan, however she also spent some time with me and Gemma throughout the week.
On Monday, Regan was at Birmingham Crown Court for an application to revoke a restraining order. The court had made the order several years ago, in order to protect our client from his son, who had been regularly stealing from him to fund a drug addiction. The son is now coming to the end of a prison sentence, and our client wishes to give him another chance at rehabilitation by bringing him back into the family home upon his release. Despite some initial misgivings, the judge was persuaded to revoke the restraining order.
Meanwhile, I spent most of the day alone in the office, finishing some jobs from last week. I dealt with a number of incoming calls throughout the day, including one enquiry about potential representation for a speeding offence, and another by a man whose four dogs had been taken away from him by the RSPCA. This man was very worried and wanted us to assist him – he subsequently came in to discuss his case with Regan.
Finally, I made some calls regarding a motoring case that we have been dealing with. We had previously pointed out to the prosecution the flaws in their case, and today I managed to confirm with them that they were agreeing to drop the case without a trial, saving our client a lot of money. The next step is for us to attempt to recover from the court the money our client has already spent.
On Wednesday morning, Regan went to a court hearing with Aimee while Gemma worked from home, so I spent the morning arranging and confirming meetings with several clients.
In the afternoon, I worked on a new case for the client whose dogs had been removed by the RSPCA. Having met with Regan the day before, he had instructed us to assist with two things – the urgent return of the dogs, and to represent him in an interview with the RSPCA.
With help from Aimee, I attempted several times to contact the RSPCA to book an interview, which was to be conducted by Gemma with the officer in charge of the case. I found it interesting to see the considerable team effort involved in every stage of a case like this.
On Friday, Regan was with a client all day at Gloucester Crown Court. I started the day by writing a standard letter to a new client. This is required at the start of any new case, and includes advice about our professional relationship with the client, as well as important information about funding, data protection and confidentiality.
My next task was to deal with a serious error that had been made by Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, concerning a client’s motoring case. Having initially agreed a date for a hearing for our client, admin staff at the court had mistakenly listed the hearing on two separate dates, which had the effect that the client was dealt with (and sentenced) by two different courts.
My task was to send a detailed letter to the court, explaining what happened and asking them to reopen the case and to set aside the sentences. Gemma helped me with this, as it had to be written in great detail, including all the information about what had happened prior to the hearing and enclosing all of our previous email exchanges with the court. I also had to write to the client to inform him of the court’s error and of the additional fees it would incur. Once it is all sorted out, we will be able to apply to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman for compensation to cover the additional fees.
The court’s mistake had served to highlight the inconsistency around sentencing – the two hearings that had been scheduled for our client had resulted in two different sanctions, with one bench of magistrates giving the client eight penalty points, and the other giving him seven. Both of these sentences will now be nullified, and we hope to bring the number of penalty points down further during the rescheduled hearing.
On Friday afternoon, Gemma and Aimee went to the RSPCA to represent our client in his interview with the officer in charge of the case from earlier in the week. Meanwhile, I stayed in the office to write a letter to a client who had been at risk of ‘totting up’ – losing her driving licence as a result of accruing more than 12 penalty points within three years.
Our client had been very worried about the prospect of losing her license, which would have meant also losing her job and her home. I was writing to inform her of the results of a recent hearing for the case, where Regan had persuaded the court to allow her to keep her licence on the grounds of exceptional hardship.
I have had an enjoyable week and have been pleased to have been trusted with the responsibility to work alone for large portions of it – something which is helping to significantly build my confidence in my role as an intern.