Student Reflections – Drew Vicary

Our first sighting of rain has finally occurred after 5 days in Australia. It sprinkled on the walk home from the courthouse for about 5 minutes. This is what the Australians call “bad weather.” This morning was a really good opportunity to see firsthand the differences between our legal systems. We started off the morning meeting with a NSW Circuit Court Judge. He was very well-versed in Australian law and provided us with an informative discussion on the bare bones process of the legal system he interacts with. I think everyone would agree that it was nice to discuss the differences between the legal systems with an actual practicing judge within the jurisdiction as opposed to reading about it. After the meeting with the judge, we were allowed to visit a few courtrooms and listen in on various proceedings. It was great to see how other courts operate. It was also interesting to see the judge in full regalia and wig as well as both counsels in wigs.

There were two major things I noticed in the few minutes I was in the courtrooms. First, the amount of paperwork was astonishing. Each counsel had 2-3 suitcases of binders and documents, and often times had additional carts full of documents as well. I had never been in a courtroom where there were literally 30-40 binders laid out on the floor and under the benches. Let’s hope they recycle it all after it gets shredded. Secondly, apparently there is no such thing as hearsay in Australia. Unless the manner in which you object is different, you can say whatever you want.

We are now officially done with the classroom portion of the trip. We no longer have any more mandatory meetings scheduled re. white collar crime. Looking back, I am thankful for the opportunity and this trip has exceeded my expectations. All of the facilitators have been extremely friendly and also well prepared. Professor Dervan has also put in a lot of work to make sure everything runs smooth, which it has. Internet high-fives to everyone who helped organize this trip. It really has been a once in a lifetime experience. I have no plans for the rest of the day so I think I am going to jump on a ferry and explore a little bit. Until next time.

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