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My Experience As A Summer Student

My Experience As A Summer Student

I wasn’t sure what to expect at the start of my summer placement at Burness Paull. But, having now completed my six weeks at the firm, with stints in banking & funds and dispute resolution, my experience as a summer student at the firm has been really interesting and far more ‘hands on’ than I had expected it to be. 

Last week was my final week, and I was asked by the employment team to head off to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to sit in on, and prepare a detailed update on, a highly anticipated interim interdict hearing that was taking place that day.

The issue up for debate was, and remains, one that has attracted a lot of attention in the world of employment law; an application for interim interdict relating to the introduction of employment tribunal fees with effect from 29 July 2013.  The basis of the underlying petition for judicial review was that the introduction of the fees system would hamper access to justice in Scotland and prevent Claimants from bringing genuine employment tribunal claims.

Given the public interest surrounding the petition, the courtroom was busy, with large numbers of counsel and solicitors from both sides on hand to check and confirm evidential matters arising.

Representatives from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the President of Employment Tribunals (Scotland) also attended, and there was a real buzz of excitement.

After much debate, Lord Bannatyne refused the petition for interim interdict on the balance of convenience, but held that a case for judicial review had been established on the face of the evidence.  As a result, UK wide interim arrangements have been put in place which provide that any tribunal fees paid will be refunded if the system is subsequently found to be unlawful.

As a firm, Burness Paull is very active in its use of social media and uses it to keep clients up to date on breaking employment law news. Therefore, having noted down the discussions and decision from the bench, I rushed back to the office to work with members of the employment team on a series of updates to send out from their Twitter account (@BurnessPaullEL).

Attending the Court of Session was an invaluable experience for me, and preparing the update gave me an insight into the additional services provided by a law firm like Burness Paull in keeping clients up to date with the issues relevant to them. 

Rosie Smith
Summer Student