I would imagine that most trainees making their first court appearance feel nervous, and I was certainly no exception. The case was for recovery of possession and I was looking for decree. In the end, defences had been lodged (although not intimated to me) and a proof was fixed. What surprised me, however, was how relaxed, friendly and engaging the atmosphere at Jedburgh Sheriff Court had been.
However, the more formal atmosphere I had been expecting was present at my second appearance, this time at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Still nervous due to my lack of experience, my nerves were not abated when the first case called and the Sheriff proceeded to rip apart the submissions of the two unfortunate young solicitors before him. Fortunately my submissions were readily accepted with minimum hassle.
I have had many more appearances since then at a variety of different courts. When it comes to appearing in court, each appearance brings with it invaluable experience. Whilst not every appearance has been as successful as I would have liked, each has been crucial to my legal education. Like everything else in life, it is often the more difficult experiences that we learn the most from.
I have now been assigned my first ordinary proof, and I am looking forward to that in January; yet another new experience and a fresh set of nerves. Most of the butterflies have left me now in relation to procedural callings. The few that remain are reserved for Glasgow Sheriff Court.