Young lawyer ready to go it alone in court

On February 7, 2015, in News, by Site Admin


A young Bermudian lawyer is set to make her solo debut in an English court.

Cyle-Bianca Allen is five months into a year-long training contract at a leading UK law chambers.

Now she is about to start taking on cases of her own for the first time in May.

The 23-year-old law graduate was awarded the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Criminal Pupillage Award and a $25,000 bursary by the Bermuda Bar Association in July last year, and she started her training contract at Carmelite Chambers in London in October.

“I am enjoying my pupillage in every aspect,” Ms Allen said. “It is probably the best decision that I have ever made.”

For the first half of her training, Ms Allen shadowed Lee Halliday-Davis, a senior member of chambers, and assisted her wherever necessary.

But when Ms Allen receives her Provisional Practising Certificate from the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales, she will be allowed to appear in court independently.

“I am excited about this part of pupillage because this is what I have been waiting for since I started law school,” Ms Allen said.

“Essentially, this is when the biggest learning curve occurs, so I am really looking forward to it. I am a bit anxious, but this is when I will be able to see what I can do as a barrister.”

Ms Allen revealed that her interest in criminal law stems from the excitement she feels in court and her work experience at the Department of Public Prosecutions and law firm Mussenden Subair.

“Crime is a big factor in Bermuda and I went into law because I wanted to make a difference,” she said. “I am passionate about the justice system and ensuring fairness is maintained for all parties, which is why I wanted to go into defence.

“I like that there is a continuous challenge and the opportunity to interact with your clients, as their life is essentially in your hands when you are a barrister,” she added.

Ms Allen studied law at the University of Kent and completed the Bar Vocational Course at the University of Law in Birmingham.

When finished with her training, Ms Allen intends to return to Bermuda to join a chambers or firm that tackles both criminal and civil matters.

“Being Bermudian is my favourite thing about being here,” Ms Allen said. “Every day in court I meet new people who ask where I am from.

“Each person smiles and they begin to share their stories about Bermuda or Bermudians and then they ask: ‘Why are you here then?’. I enjoy this because, along with all the daily legal lessons that I learn, I am reminded that I am a Bermudian and it is a proud moment.”

The recipient of the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Criminal Pupillage Award is selected by a panel chaired by Chief Justice Ian Kawaley, Bar Council member Elizabeth Christopher and Justin Williams, the president of the Bermuda Bar Association. Mr Williams said that Ms Allen was chosen because of her authentic and genuine interest in criminal law.

“Ms Allen has aligned herself throughout her studies to seek out practical knowledge and training, which will lead her to a successful career in the realm of criminal law,” Mr Williams said.

He added: “The legacy of Dame Lois Browne-Evans is well served as this award is now in its seventh year and, with five of the awardees currently practising criminal law in some form or another, all of which is a testament to Carmelite Chambers for their continued support of this joint mission to build up the Criminal Bar in Bermuda.

“Carmelite Chambers is delighted to again welcome the scholarship candidate from Bermuda and are delighted that the scheme is proving so successful,” said Marie Spenwyn, barrister and head of pupillage training at Carmelite Chambers.


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