I have passed year one of two of my condensed law degree at Strathclyde. That was Wednesday’s news, delivered to the mobile app and received during lunch break at Glasgow Cathedral, with breakdowns of each exam. One annum’s study hasn’t gone to waste. Onwards to year two.
Covid restrictions remain in place, and it looks like they will do for at least another month, following indications of the position in England and their delay of so-called Freedom Day that was supposed to happen on Monday. There seems to be a lot of resignation to the idea of permanent restrictions or clinging to the belief that zero Covid is possible, neither of which are credible positions. I don’t believe we will continue to have restrictions into the autumn, and if there are it will be the result of policy decisions of individual public bodies and companies, not government mandated.
Vaccines are the way out of this, and highly effective vaccines we have – I’ll be receiving my first dose next week. Freedom is at hand, despite the naysayers, and so it should be. Still though, in the meantime, it’s not that much fun without any real events on the calendar (with the exception of work). We are grateful that Glasgow’s punishing purgatory of Tier 3 is at an end and pubs are open (if with no singing, no dancing and low-volume music), but I fear proper gigs are off the cards unless everything goes.
Everyone is so atomised at the moment. People need to be together, in the same room. It is essential to human flourishing! And I suppose we have been. But on the perimeter at first, on benches outside rooms.
I have met some of my fellow students post-exams after organising some Zoom get-togethers during the Glasgow no-go days, and this month I ventured into the interior with my mooting partner following our eventual defeat in the final of the competition. It was a great experience, although I didn’t appreciate being tantalised by the organiser’s repeated reference to the “fancy dinner” they normally have after the conclusion of the moot. Mooting definitely formed part of my identity during those first months of the year when lockdown was at its strictest. I’m hoping to join the ranks of the committee next year and get the opportunity to compete against other unis.
As the rounds of the competition went on, the judges increased in prestige from committee members to university staff, trainees, procurator fiscals, advocates and sheriffs and finally Lady Rae of the High Court and Court of Session. It was after the semi-final that the judge, a Glasgow sheriff, invited all the participants to come in to shadow him for a day in court. I took up that opportunity last week and watched the proceedings of a High Court trail where he was covering. It was a bit weird to be the only spectator, as the jury were being streamed from a cinema, but it was good to be able to watch the QCs with their wigs examine and cross examine the accused. I also found it strange to see the opposing counsels chat to each other informally as colleagues when the accused and judge were out of the court.
This hopefully won’t represent the beginning and end of my legal experience this summer, and indeed it has already been followed by my first visit to the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation office yesterday, a body dedicated to reassessing the cases of people serving sentences for offences they claim they did not commit. Additionally, I am in the process of organising a placement with the Historic Environment Scotland legal team next month, and of course, Law Clinic cases are ongoing.
It can be difficult to stay positive at the moment, what with Covid doom all around, but on a personal level there are a lot of things to count as objectively good and signs of progression, and I suppose one has to cling to that. Plus, I booked what will be my first proper concert in almost two years, and three King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard albums later, which is Black Country, New Road at the Edinburgh Festival. It’ll be seated, but it’s a start. Normal life is coming back!