Aspiring barristers from The College of Law in Birmingham celebrated a year marked by competition success at national and international level at their annual Bar Vocational Course (BVC) dinner.
Students and College tutors rubbed shoulders with prominent judges and barristers from across the country at the event held at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
Birmingham BVC tutors Amanda Wiggans and Peter Hibbert toast a successful year
Guests included Her Honour Judge Elizabeth Fisher, who sits mainly in the criminal and family courts in the Midlands, His Honour Judge Patrick Thomas QC, who sits in the Crown Courts at Birmingham and Worcester and Master Patrick Maddams, Sub-Treasurer of The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.
Barristers from Birmingham-based barristers chambers such as No5 Chambers and St Philips Chambers attended and all four Inns of Court were represented.
Notable BVC student successes during the academic year include winning an Attorney General Student Award for their voluntary work helping people access advice and representation at Employment Tribunals. They were presented with their award for the ‘Best New Pro Bono Activity’ by Attorney General Baroness Scotland at a ceremony at the House of Lords in March.
The accolade was in recognition of the students’ work with the Birmingham TUC Centre for the Unemployed (BTUCCU), an independent voluntary organisation based in Sparkhill providing free advice on welfare benefits and employment rights to low-waged and disadvantaged people in the local community.
Birmingham BVC students celebrate. L – R: Sarah Cooper, Steven Micklewright, Kevin Preece and Natalie Cross.
In February two teams of BVC students beat stiff competition to take first and second places in the regional heats of the national Negotiation Competition. The event, held at the College, involved fourteen teams from law schools around the country. Gurpreet Rheel and Kevin Lynch took the crown for first place with Mark Richards and Katherine Raitt coming a close second.
Further afield, Will Hotham, aged 23, was selected by the Inner Temple, one of the Inns of Court, to represent them in the European finals of the Manfred Lachs Moot, which debated the finer points of the law of outer space.
The moot, organised by the International Institute of Space Law, took place at the University of Athens in April and involved teams from across Europe. Will’s team performed well and made it to the semi-finals, unfortunately just missing out on a place in the final.
Anna-Rose Landes, Deputy Director of the BVC at The College of Law, Birmingham said: "The annual BVC dinner is a wonderful way to celebrate the end of yet another very successful year for our Bar Vocational Course. This year we have seen the course go from strength to strength with our students achieving successes at both national and international level.
“The annual dinner is a chance to thank the staff and legal practitioners who have supported our students throughout their studies and wish the students well as they go on to the next stage in their legal careers."