The Faculty of Law and Government of HELP University has always prided itself for its long and established relationships with the law fraternity of Malaysia and the UK. Recently, members of The Honourable Society of Inner Temple, UK were invited to present a guest lecture to HELP University’s latest batch of UK Degree Transfer Programme (Law) students.
The honoured guests from Inner Temple included Mr David Pittaway QC, Treasurer (Judge), Mr Patrick Maddams, Subtreasurer and Mrs Jill Pittaway. Accompanying them was Ms Teoh Pui Mun, a committee member of Malaysian Inner Temple Alumni Association (MITAA), law practitioner and UKDTP alumnus of HELP University.
This guest lecture with Inner Temple and MITAA is an exemplary effort of the Faculty to introduce their new UKDTP students to members of the Inns of Court in London, allowing them to understand the profession better, gain exposure to their future and establish professional connections early in their law studies.
During the talk, Mr Pattiway and Mr Maddams shared their experience as young lawyers in law school and what it means to be part of an Inn of Court. “I was a graduate of Leeds and I am particularly pleased to see Leeds on the Faculty’s list of UK partner universities. They are all really excellent universities, and if you are thinking of a career in the Bar and particularly at Inner Temple, then any of those universities would be absolutely fine,” said Mr Maddams as he spoke about his experience at the University of Leeds.
“One of the special things of the Inns of Court is that our barristers and judges as our members very freely and willingly give their time to help you. I would describe a career of the Bar rather like this: you will have fantastic facilities, receive scholarships, have access to a world-class library, be able to meet judges and barristers, and experience pupillages – but we can’t do it for you.”
“Hence, one of the key things of becoming a barrister is to have a high level of self-determination and perseverance. We will help you every day each of the way, and that is why when you do start your careers and become successful, it is quite natural that you would want to help the next generation of barristers come through,” he added.
Mr Pattiway also shared about the history and concepts of the four Inns of Court to the students. “There are four Inns of Court in England – Middle Temple, Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn and Inner Temple, and they all occupy a small area of London around the Royal Court of Justice. They have very long histories and a historical association with that part of London. As far as the Middle Temple and Inner Temple are concerned, the barristers first came there in the 13th century when the Knights Templar were dissolved. And that is why we have a beautiful temple church and a historical estate which surrounds the church.”
Inner Temple is one of the four Inns of Court in London, which are professional associations for barristers and judges. Law students who wish to be called to the Bar in England and Wales must belong to one of the Inns. Inner Temple was established in the 14th century and serves as a professional body which provides legal training, selection and regulation for its members. It is governed by an elected Treasurer and a Council of Benchers.
Some of the eminent members who were attached to Inner Temple included Tunku Abdul Rahman, first Prime Minister of Malaysia; Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India; Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (also known as Mahatma Gandhi), Indian independence activist; George Grenville and Clement Richard Attlee, Prime Ministers of the UK, and W. S. Gilbert, an English dramatist.
“During my time in HELP, we learnt the important skills that are needed to be a barrister and to become a proper and ethical person. When I was in Liverpool, I joined Inner Temple and they had helped me a lot. However, you have to want to be involved as help is always available but you have to go and get it. The doors are always open but if you are too shy and keep yourself in the Malaysian circle even when you are in the UK, then you won’t be able to go very far.”
“I spent a lot of my time in the Inn and I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to organise events as a student representative in Inner Temple. We combined the resources from different representatives from different universities and travelled around the country organising competitions. I was also given the opportunity to marshal with a judge in Birmingham and you get many privileges from the Inn. Like it or not, you need professional connections, whether you are in Malaysia or in the UK,” said Ms Teoh Pui Man, a HELP UKDTP alumnus who completed her law degree in the University of Liverpool on the 2+1 arrangement with HELP.
HELP University is one of the first private universities in Malaysia to introduce the UKDTP (Law), which has been recognised by prestigious and reputable universities in the UK. The Faculty has nine UK partner universities which are Cardiff University, University of the West of England, Bristol, Aberystwyth University, University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, University of Sheffield, Northumbria University, University of Hertfordshire and University of Leeds.
To date, the Faculty has produced more than 60 law graduates with First Class Honours from top UK universities, and in 2017 alone, there has been 14 law graduates with First Class Honours.