At what stage in your career did you undertake your first CLIPS session? 

I was 17 years’ call when I undertook my first session in 2016.

Why did you decide to do it? 

I had long meant to volunteer but, to my shame, had not made the time. In early 2016 I underwent serious surgery on my neck, was off work for over a month and had the time to volunteer on my return to practice. As soon as I attended my first session, I wanted to volunteer again. I quickly realised that volunteering was hard work and stressful but ultimately rewarding and often made a tangible difference.  

Have you had any particularly memorable sessions/interactions with judges? What made it stand out? 

As a general observation, the judges and, indeed, their clerks, have been unfailingly patient, accommodating and fair to both the LIP and the other sides. I never cease being in awe of how the applications judge move seamlessly from one case to another on a busy day. Although it is invidious to single out two matters, in 2017 I received a call from Mr Justice Warren the day before court explaining that I was representing a well-known LIP and that he (the judge) had reservations as to whether the matter could be concluded in two hours and was a properly a matter for a Judge as opposed to a Master. I shall not repeat the precise phrase which Mr Justice Warren used to conclude our call but it was to the effect that I should reflect on what he had just said. Either way it led to a lengthy night’s work for me and a spirited debate between Bar and Bench the following day. On another occasion, I managed to persuade Mr Justice Mann not to evict the LIP who suffered from a disability and for whom eviction would have been particularly distressing and disruptive. In his judgment, Mr Justice Mann said the LIP should be very grateful to me for persuading him (the judge) to change his mind despite a strong initial view of the application.  

What effect has CLIPS volunteering had on your career/practice? 

Any experience in court is good, no matter how junior or senior the practitioner. I have become familiar with new aspects of the CPR and the White Book generally and there has been more variety to my work and it is a good respite to long-running large cases. One recent application led to my being instructed in the expedited trial, including cross examination which I rarely do in my areas of practice.  

What advice would you give to anyone to encourage them to volunteer for CLIPS? 

Do not be shy and do not hesitate! One is never too junior or too senior; ask to shadow an experience volunteer to obtain a flavour of the process. As has been said before, CLIPS is good for the LIP, good for the court, good for the volunteer and good for the justice system generally.