A Criminal Law Barrister’s Re ections: The University of Law Speaker Series – John Wright – Pacific Chambers

John Wright delivered a fascinating lecture on life as a barrister, focusing on criminal law in Hong Kong. John gave a unique insight from the perspective of a barrister of long standing in Hong Kong, who has seen many changes throughout his career. 

John opened the webinar by describing his career at the bar and how he found his calling. He then went on to give a number of valuable lessons and important points for anyone considering the same route. The seminar was peppered intermittently with some lively anecdotes which gave the talk a great depth and warmth that is hard to find in these COVID-19 isolating times. The lessons he gave are as important to newly minted barristers as those who are long standing in their careers and are maxims John follows still today. They are as follows: 

  1. Never cease to have a learning attitude. You will make mistakes, learn from them.
  2. Do not be pompous, always remember who pays your income.
  3. If you don’t know the law, use your common sense and ask someone who does.
  4. Never be afraid to ask a question.
  5. Follow your instructions - Don’t be creative.
  6. Always be ethical and honour your duty to the court.
  7. Use simple plain language.

John then moved on to explain the procedure of criminal proceedings, from the arrest to a jury trial, giving a clear understanding to the audience of the methodology involved and what would be expected during these steps. Lastly he detailed the necessity for judges to direct a jury clearly as they are ordinary people and so need clear instructions on the law for them to make the correct decision. John answered numerous questions at the end of the talk from the audience giving greater depth and understanding in various areas.

The University of Law’s Speaker Series will continue in October. Check our website: https://www.law.ac.uk/locations/hong-kong for further details and other seminars.