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Back from down under: Laura Tweedy reports on her Pegasus Scholarship

As my first week in almost three months working back in London draws to a close I have been reflecting on what a wonderful opportunity I was given to work over in New Zealand.

I am sure many of you know (as I may have mentioned it once or twice...) that I was awarded a Pegasus Scholarship in New Zealand by the Pegasus Trust. The scheme is based on the idea that junior barristers (of up to five years in practice at the time of applying) travel to various destinations across the world to share knowledge and potentially transfer any lessons learned back to our system in the UK.

I was placed with Crown Law who act as the Government legal advisors. I got to work on a number of cases but a few really stood out, such as attending the Waitangi tribunal to gain insight of the Maori land disputes with the Pākehā (white people), being involved in case theory and cross examination tactics in a public law case, and, especially, the opportunity I had to spend time with the judiciary was very rewarding.

I was permitted to sit on the bench in the District Court and the Judge asked me to write down my decision as if I was the Judge and then compare (our decisions were 100% identical – really!). I watched a Supreme Court case and then one of the judges met with me to discuss the case before judgment had been given, and even asked me to find out the English position in case he could use it in his judgment.

It was an incredible opportunity, and gave me such insight into what makes a successful advocate, which I hope will enhance my practice and assist me in the future with my judicial aspirations.

In my downtime, I had a fabulous time exploring stunning New Zealand; hiking (or tramping as they say), bungee jumping, caving, abseiling, swimming with dolphins, climbing a glacier and the list goes on.

I will produce a more detailed article about my time in NZ for the Pegasus Trust in due course (which is in fact all that the Trust requires in return for such a generous career changing opportunity) but I just wanted to take a few moments today to express my gratitude to the Pegasus Trust and to say hello to my instructing solicitors; I am excited to be back and looking forward to working with you again soon!

And you thought I had just been on a long holiday...

Details to apply for a Pegasus Scholarship:

Applications open September 2014. Interviews are usually in January
You will require two referees and to fill out an application form. Further details on how to apply can be found at the Inner Temple's website.