Our WICL Midlands Founder Members are:
Michelle Heeley QC - No 5 Chambers
Mary Prior QC - The 36 Group
Grace Onoewiou - Head of Birmingham CPS
Janine Smith - Head of East Midlands CPS
HHJ Shant QC - Resident Judge at Derby
Chloe Ashley - No 5 Chambers
Sarah Allen - No 5 Chambers
Laura Pitman - 1 High Pavement
Almas Ben Aribia - 1 High Pavement
Mara Silva Romefort - Bray & Bray
Midlands WICL is looking forward to promoting the achievements of women, and offering practical advice and support. Going forward the group have arranged a seminar with Leicester University who are carrying out research on the effects of rape trials on professionals.
Other events planned include seminars giving assistance to those considering applying for Silk or Judicial Appointments, with mentoring programmes also in the pipeline.
WICL Midlands does Wellbeing!
WICL Midlands met at Leicester University on the 28th May 2019 to hear a presentation from Dr Anna Carline & Dr Clare Gunby on "Exploring how emotions taint the work of rape barristers.” The event was co-hosted by MALA and 36Crime. Anna and Clare conducted a nationwide survey which took place between 2014-2016 when they interviewed many senior practitioners. The key message was that most practitioners were aware of the impact of the work they did but few if any had been taught how to cope with the emotions that they felt.
One practitioner who was interviewed said that sometimes she found it difficult to interact with her children after a day in Court and sometimes had to shower before she could do so. There was a perception of feeling condemnation from the public when defending and many practitioners seemed to feel the need to justify defending by indicating that this made them a better prosecutor. The responses were remarkably similar across the country and across the genders.
We also had a speech from Mrs Justice Sue Carr DBE on the impact of rape and serious sexual offences on all practitioners including court staff and the judiciary. District Judge Fayyaz Afzal OBE stressed the importance of wellbeing to all practitioners and explained the commitment of MALA to improving the wellbeing of all those who work in the justice system, reminding us that the RASSO cases flow into family and civil work.
After the presentation the 50 members of the profession who attended chatted and spoke to stall holders who gave us ideas about wellbeing. We were fortunate to be joined by Angela Whitt and Grace Moronfolu from the CPS who have set up an innovative programme of wellbeing for their RASSO practitioners.
You can catch some photos of our wonderful evening below.
In the News...
WICL Midlands launched on 7th February.
The Nottingham launch saw speeches from founder, Katy Thorne QC, as well as Mrs Justice Carr DBE and Janine Smith, Head of East Midlands CPS.
The event was attended by clerks, solicitors, barristers and Judges and provided an invaluable networking opportunity.
Speaking after the event Emma Coverley of The Johnson Partnership said she was delighted at the success of the launch and how well attended it was.
Others commented on the informal nature of the event, and enjoyed the fact clerks mingled with Judges with everyone being very positive and approachable.
We were featured in the Derbyshire Telegraph!