When Cases Go Bad

On a recent court visit I got to see the difficulties that a barrister can experience when faced with either a weak case or a very difficult client and its effects on both the barristers out of court preparation and in court performance.

In the case I viewed the defence barrister had both these hurdles to overcome. Firstly the evidence against his client was very strong and secondly the client was not being honest, kept changing his story and forcing his barrister to take fresh and contradicting instructions frequently.

In all defence counsel had a difficult job and stood up to the challenge well in court. My only criticism stems from rudely being blanked by counsel when having a conversation with the CPS barrister and more significantly when he turned to the CPS barrister, instead of myself, and said "and who is she."

However this reaction to law students is the exception and I put it down to having a really bad day.

However it's in these situations I believe that the measure of counsel is really shown and tested. The more efficient barrister deal with the difficulties with good grace, composure letting the judge know that there is difficulties and sincerely apologises for any disruptions or inconvenience.