Internship Experience @ The Chambers of an Hon’ble Judge @ Madras High Court, Chennai: Observe Court Proceedings, Got a Wide View of the Criminal Justice System

Name

Madhura Shanthini A

Organisation

The Chambers of an Hon’ble Judge @ the Madras High Court

Application Process

I interned with the Judge for a short duration and it was easy for me to get through, since I knew the judge personally.

The ones who would like to intern officially as a Law Clerk for a span of one year can check this link for further details.

Law graduates alone are eligible for the Law Clerkship.

Duration

1st June, 2015 – 31st July, 2015

First Day

The fear-cum-respect feel of interning with His Lordship made every nerve of my body freeze. Even though I knew him personally.

But the Judge was very down-to-earth and amicable. He made every effort to make us feel at ease. There were 2 of us interning. “Nervousness hinders proper observation” is what he quoted.

Not much formalities were required since I was a short-span-intern and not an official law clerk.

Talking of infrastructure, the Chambers of the Hon’ble judges are of-course huge enough and Fully air-conditioned. They provide a very peaceful ambience.

Main tasks

What was primary was to observe the court proceedings and to record the same. We take notes of interesting cases, arguments and their judgments. We read the case bundles, and tracked their proceedings.

His Lordship would at times discuss about the orders passed on certain cases and would elaborate the legal and logical reasons behind it.

Points regarding the manner in interpretation of statues were also briefed. Referring to citations and reading and explaining a case-law precisely was also encouraged.

Environment

During the hours of court-sitting, I would be seated beside the dais below the Judge. This would give a clear view of the court hall and one could easily listen to a counsel arguing better than hearing the same from the visitor’s area.

After the court proceedings were over for the day, we would return to the chamber. I enjoyed being in both the places, the chamber and the court.

At the chamber we were totally 6 in number, including the Judge and the office assistant, personal secretary, court officers and the Dawali.

Every one there were very kind-hearted and jovial.

Best things

This being my very-first internship. I was very excited about it and things did fulfill all my expectations.

If you have any chance of interning with a Judge, grab such an opportunity, and I assure you 3 “E”s:

  1. Enrichment (You get to watch hundreds of cases everyday)
  2. Enjoyment (Its real fun)
  3. Exposure (The exposure you get here is different,not as the same as interning with a lawyer/law firm)

Each court hall would deal with one lame (or a few) case. You would specialize in the same since you get to observe a million cases of the same genre (yet not similar) at the end of a month.

I was just done with my 1st year at the Law school when I joined this internship.

I got a wide view of the criminal justice system and got to read the IPC, CrPC, and Evidence Act, and many other criminal legislations (since criminal appeals were predominantly heard at court hall that we were affixed to) which gets into my academic syllabus only in the 3rd/4th year.

Court manners was something that I would not have learnt otherwise,

Bad things

Nothing is to be quoted as bad. You’ll have to sit at the court hall and observe the proceedings for long hours. It was quite a discomfort for me as I prefer moving around.

Chatterboxes Alert:- You may not be allowed to talk inside the court hall.

Loophole: You can still whisper 🙂

Stipend

Nil. But an Official Law Clerk would be paid.

Biggest Lessons

Of all the things that I have learnt through this internship, I would quote three things as the most important.

  1. Take every nuance into account, be it a legislation or a precedent or an evidence or anything, Give importance to every detail.
  2. Art of Advocacy is as important as the legal propositions and facts.
  3. Always put your best foot forward when it comes to arguments.

Lessons for life: A patient listener is the most benefited.

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