Deakin law students had the rare opportunity to meet recently with three visiting Court of Appeal judges and observe two criminal appeal matters at the Geelong Magistrates’ Court.
The Court of Appeal travels regularly to Victoria’s regional areas to hear appeals against criminal and civil decisions made in the Supreme and County Courts and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The Geelong visit enabled 25 Deakin law students to meet with judges Justice Maxwell (President of the Court of Appeal), Justice Beach and Justice McLeish to discuss topics around the work and procedure of the Court of Appeal, the process of judicial appointments, and the variety of matters brought before Victorian courts. The students also had the opportunity to speak with attending counsel and Court of Appeal associates.
Following addresses by the Judges and the Judicial Registrar, the students participated in a question and answer forum before observing the two criminal appeal matters which provided them with authentic insight into day-to-day court proceedings.
Feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive and included:
“I found the visit invaluable for demystifying processes which, until now, had been purely theoretical. To be able to follow the trail through from document submission to preliminary outcomes places a perspective around the classroom that I strongly doubt would be available in any other forum. Additionally it was a highlight for me to hear President Maxwell's insights on judicial appointment processes. Personal addresses like that help open eyes to the processes, and pressures, of the system additional to the day to day administration of justice.” Lara Milvain
“It was especially nice to be given the opportunity to speak with the President of the Court of Appeal and the other Judges, They were able to provide us a valuable insight into how Criminal appeals work, both procedurally and in how parties present their arguments, and how they came to be appointed as Judges in the Court of Appeal. It was also nice to chat to the Lawyers present at the hearing to see how they deal with late changes to pleadings and the proceeding overall.” Kennan
“I'm only in my first year of studies and some of the concepts that were discussed, especially in relation to evidence and procedure were a little over my head, however the experience was invaluable. Seeing the courts in action and especially having the opportunities to see the human side of the justice's i think will be invaluable for the furtherance of my studies. I think it will also be beneficial for mooting in the future, being able to get insights into the preparation and organisation of the counsels was again invaluable. I would be very interested in any similar opportunities in the future should they arise.” James Royce
“It was a very insightful and an intensive learning experience. Justice Maxwell, Justice Beach and Justice McLeish were all very welcoming and it was great to see them willing to open us to us as students on how they became judges and various issues facing courts in Victoria. Seeing them in action during the hearing was a very impressive experience and I thank all three for providing us with their time to help us with our education prior to the hearing.” Michael Pavlidis
“I thought it was an invaluable experience to not only to gain first-hand knowledge of an appellate court but to also speak both with the barristers and the Supreme Court Justices of the Court of Appeal about their career journeys, leading them to the positions they currently hold. I found it inspiring and extremely motivational. It was a great opportunity to be able to attend.” Polly D’Arcy