On 16th December 2019, a select group of students from Oaks Park High School were invited to attend a special 'Meet the Judges' event at the Royal Courts of Justice. Compared to other schools, our group was rather small (as we noticed upon arrival) but in no way inferior, with our school participating in the event far more than any of the other attendees. Immediately upon our arrival, we were greeted by a tour guide who gathered us round and directed our exploration of the historical building, giving us nuggets of information as we studied the various displays. These included the classical robes worn by countless judges in the past, as well as their orante wigs and illustrious weaponry. As we were guided through the halls, we heard the tales of the individual courts. One story in particular sunk in my mind; this was the story of cannibalism due to a ship being put astray, leading to the involved men being criminalised, only to be pardoned later as their actions were considered 'necessary' and not 'manslaughter'. As we reeled in horror, the guide announced our next stop to be the court room where we would meet the judges. 

As we were seated, the judges entered the room, greeted by an abundance of applause as they took their seats, introducing themselves to us one by one. The panel consisted of: 

- Lady Justice: Ingrid Simler

- Her Honour Judge: Sarah Venn

- Upper Tribunal Judge: Paula Gray

- Another female judge standing in place of Kwame Inyundo

The judges assured us that, despite the panel consisting of women only, the population of judges was a lot more diverse. We sat and listened to their introductions, intrigued by their fascinating stories and humoured by the various incidents they'd come across in their career. Eventually, we reached the 'Question Time' section, where I had the honour of asking these wonderful ladies about any negativity they'd faced in their careers and how they'd fought back; them being as strong as they were, they easily spoke about how they flattened any opposition they faced. The experience was truly joyous as the judges afterwards even spoke to use one-to-one, ensuring we grasped the fullest out of this wonderful experience. 

It truly was a spectacular day, and I reccomend you to visit the courts!


By Duniya Jan of Oaks Park High School