chapter  17
6 Pages

Tenth Lord Upjohn Lecture 1980: Legal Education and the Needs of the Legal Profession


As some of you may have inferred from my reported judgments, I had no legal education as these words are understood today. I started to read Law at Cambridge for Part II of the Law Tripos in October 1932, having in the previous two years read History. I took my examination in May 1933. Passing gave me no exemptions from the Bar examinations so I had to get up three new subjects, Roman Law, Criminal Law and Constitutional Law, for Part I of the Bar examinations. I had covered enough contract and tort in the Law Tripos to get me through these subjects without much extra work. I completed Part I by December 1933 and started on Part II in January 1934. I took and passed my Bar finals in May 1934, that is in about twenty months after starting the study of the law. Save whilst at Cambridge, I had had no tutorials and no opportunity of discussing legal problems with any knowledgeable person. Had I not overlooked the then essential qualification for call to the Bar, namely a digestion which could cope with 36 Inn dinners spread over three years, I could have been called in Trinity term 1934 and have accepted briefs the next day. The omission delayed my call for sixteen months. I spent part of that time working as a schoolmaster and part doing my Bar pupillage. Looking back, the time I spent as a schoolmaster was probably of more help to me than most of the lectures I attended at Cambridge. Trying to teach fourteen-year-old boys in the bottom stream is an excellent preparation for making submissions to a diffi cult judge who does not want to understand.