Vom 15. bis 21. März 2015 nahmen 17 Jura-Studierende an einer Studienfahrt nach London teil, um sich die Welt des Rechts durch praktische Anschauung anzueignen. Die Fahrt war als Teil meines für das Sommersemester 2015 geplanten Moduls English Legal System and Legal Method im Fremdsprachigen Rechtsstudium konzipiert und organisiert, wobei uns vor Ort Arachne van der Eijk, eine weitere FRS-Dozentin, unterstützte.
Discovering Legal London bildete den sportlichen Start: sieben Stunden auf Schusters Rappen unter der sachkundigen Führung einer pensionierten Polizeibeamtin vom Supreme Court in Westminster bis zum berühmten Old Bailey-Gericht in der City, dazwischen lagen diverse Institutionen der Monarchie, der Legislative, Exekutive und Judikative sowie drei Inns of Court (Heimat der Barrister-Anwaltskammern) mit aufschlussreichen Erklärungen und Geschichten.
I really enjoyed the tour, since Mrs. Hallam-Howard was a really charismatic speaker and had a lot to share from her personal experiences as a police officer. I especially enjoyed all the small ‘fun facts’ she threw in about London and the legal and general culture in the UK. (Marie Claire)
In the Supreme Court we went into Court 1 and could sit in the judges’ seats, which was fun. However, there was also something serious about that: Among the twelve judges there is currently only one woman. In comparison: 5 out of 16 judges at the German Federal Constitutional Court are female. This shows that despite decades of fighting for equal rights, women still have a long way to go until they are equally represented in the courtrooms of both Great Britain and Germany. Regardless of the current situation, we took a photo of an all-female supreme court composed of ourselves. (Lilli)
Der Dienstagnachmittag war für zwei juristische Vorlesungen am King’s College reserviert. Die Professoren Lee und van Dam haben uns herzlich empfangen und im Nachgang noch zusätzliche Handouts und Informationen zugeschickt.
Lectures at King’s differ a lot from ours, e.g. the room itself was like a cinema, nice seats and no table in front of them, and the lectures are very short. (Homeyra)
The trust lecture professor made a bit more of a show of his lecture than German professors would. But that made it easier for me to follow this unusual field of law. The lecture on German tort law was not really new stuff but it was interesting to see it from an English point of view with all the differences between the two legal systems. (Max)
I didn’t expect them to be, but honestly, I have to say that the lectures were the most fascinating part of the study trip. (Even though, I am still not completely sure about trust law.) Nevertheless, I believe that lectures of 55 minutes are too short to make any meaningful statements. (Nastassja)
Anschließend trafen wir uns mit Studierenden, die im nächsten Jahr im Double-Degree-Programm an die Humboldt Universität kommen werden.
They told us everything about the life on their campus, the university, the seminars and so on. The meeting was really enriching, because we got to know English students and could ask questions about time abroad. (Johanna)
Actually I think that this meeting helped them a lot as well, as they were able to ask us many things about housing and living in Berlin and how to organise it. The evening finished off with talks and laughter in a Pub close to Kings College. (Nora)
The students also told us that they have seminars in every course where they can discuss the law and think of alternatives. I liked this idea very much and would appreciate such compulsory seminars at Humboldt, too. (Lilli)
Their oral presentations and later the conversations were rather inspirational and enlightening. They really whetted my appetite for more England and English law! (Simon)
Dienstagvormittag, Mittwoch und Donnerstag waren für die Erkundung der verschiedenen Gerichte und den Besuch von Verhandlungen vorgesehen. Am Freitag stand der berühmte Old Bailey für alle auf dem Programm. Wenn man nicht das Glück hat, eine Verhandlung von Anfang bis Ende zu verfolgen, muss man sich sehr bemühen zu verstehen, worum es überhaupt geht und an welcher Stelle des Verfahrens man sich befindet. Deshalb hatten sich Gruppen für diese Gerichtstage gebildet, in denen sich Erfahrungen besser teilen und auswerten ließen. Auch hatten die Studierenden Anleitungen, worauf sie bei ihren Beobachtungen achten sollten. Am Arbeitsgericht hingegen wurden die Studentinnen vor der Sitzung vom Richter persönlich empfangen und erhielten, bei einer Tasse Kaffee, Informationen über das Gericht und den Fall, der für sie ausgesucht worden war; in der Mittagspause konnten sie auch noch mit den beiden Beisitzern ins Gespräch kommen.
I noticed lots of differences compared to the German court system where the judge asks most of the questions. … We saw a typical cross-examination which doesn’t exist in Germany. By asking the right questions the employer’s barrister tried to show that what the witnesses of the other party had said was wrong or implausible. He seemed very self-confident, almost like an actor playing a role and knowing exactly what to say when. … The judge only intervened when a particular question was prohibited. The members of the tribunal did ask a few questions to clarify what they’d heard. (Lilli im Employment Tribunal)
The court was very small and there was a very different ambiance compared to the courts we saw before or after. The people were friendly with each other and also to us visitors. A solicitor told us in detail how the court worked, who was sitting where and what their roles were. We observed two cases, one about using public transport without authorisation, the other about masturbating in a public place. (Nora im Magistrates’ Court)
The second case was about two black football players who worked both for an anti-racism trust. They had a fight and one of them sent the other a text message with a racist slur which was reported in the Sun. The recipient football player wrote a press release about the text message. The legal question was whether or not the press release was defamatory. If it was there would be a possibility to claim damages. However, the judges ruled that this was not. After the decision there was an argument about who had to pay the legal costs. (Lilli im High Court)
It was interesting to see that, unlike in Germany, the judge never talked to the defendant, in fact, the defendants never spoke during any of the trials I visited, they just spoke to their lawyers. (Homeyra im Divisional Court)
The atmosphere in the court room was very different from that in the Magistrates‘ Court, it was more serious, calmer and very formal. The case was heard by three judges who acted really strictly and didn’t allow the barristers to speak verbosely. They accepted strict legal arguments only. The defendant took part in the trial via telecommunication, which must have been really hard for him. (Luise im Court of Appeal)
Listening to the judgment being read out was very intense – one of the defendants was sitting in the court behind bars and heard he would spend almost the rest of his life in custody. (Leonie im Court of Appeal)
Security check before entering the court were severe. We were not allowed to bring any electronic devices, bag packs or even to take notes. A girl of our group did take notes during the trial and had them taken away from her afterwards. Personally, the Old Bailey made me feel very uncomfortable. The staff was not very friendly. (Nora im Central Criminal Court)
I was fascinated most by the Old Bailey. I really experienced what it is like to be charged with a crime and try to convince the jury of my innocence – a group of normal people from the public would decide whether I’m guilty or not! (Marie Claire im Central Criminal Court)
Die Studierenden trafen sich am Mittwochabend, um zu berichten, ihre Erfahrungen abzugleichen und Antworten auf ihre Fragen zu bekommen. Am Abend darauf hatten sie Gelegenheit, diese mit vier Juristen zu vertiefen und dabei auch die unterschiedlichen juristischen Berufsfelder kennenzulernen, denn unsere Gesprächspartner waren ein auf Strafrecht spezialisierter Barrister, ein Rechtsprofessor und eine Arbeitsrichterin (beide ehemalige Barrister) und ein County Court-Richter, der einzige frühere Solicitor in der Runde.
This meeting was one of the most interesting ones. We had complete freedom to ask whatever we wanted to know, no matter if it concerned their law studies, their careers or women’s rights. I was impressed by these passionate people who do what they love and are actually able to make a change with it. (Nora)
After the discussion, the employment judge invited us for drinks to Grays‘ Inn where we could ask her more questions. That was very special, because normally only barristers are allowed to enter that bar. (Max)
In unserem Abschlusstreffen befanden die Studierenden einhellig, dass dies eine sehr anschauliche und lehrreiche Woche gewesen wäre. Bis zum Beginn der zweiten Hälfte des Seminars hatten sie allerdings noch Aufgaben: einen Vortrag über jeweils zwei Gerichte vorbereiten, eine Zusammenfassung einer der beiden Vorlesungen schreiben sowie einen persönlichen Bericht über ihre Woche verfassen. Alle hier verwendeten Zitate stammen aus diesen Berichten.
All in all, the trip helped me to strengthen my legal vocabulary and to deepen my understanding of the structure of the courts and the importance of case law. (Johanna)
I got a really good impression of how English lawyers work – and of their gowns and wigs, which, honestly, seemed quite bewildering to me. (Leonie)
Even though I didn’t really know anything about the English legal system at all, I had a good learning result. I would recommend taking the trip with a bit of prior knowledge, though. Yet I gained several insights which I wouldn’t have from only studying literature. The trip has taught me that watching real cases in court is very instructive so that I’m going to attend court cases in Germany more often as well. (Marie Claire)
The whole program was very well structured and the visit to King’s College has strengthened my decision to spend one year abroad in London. (Homeyra)
Inzwischen sind wir im zweiten Teil der Lehrveranstaltung (Legal Method), und ich habe den Eindruck, dass die Studierenden den neuen Stoff schneller verarbeiten und sinnvoll mit ihren praktischen Erfahrungen zu verbinden wissen.
Cornelia Hacke, im Mai 2015