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Arshad Gassita

Career Path: Pupil Barrister, MC Law Offices
Location: Beau Bassin-Rose Hill

I have always been inspired to become a Barrister so as to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. Prior to the BPTC, during my mini-pupillage, I had the opportunity to shadow Sir Hamid Moollan QC and the late Yousuf Mohamed SC, whereby this experience triggered my interest and motivation to become a Barrister. Having been offered a full scholarship after my pathway at high school, I originally completed a Bsc (Hons) Management before embarking into the legal profession.

I then attended University of London to study LLB (Hons) and I was subsequently invited by Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne for my remarkable achievement in London, 2019. Studying the Bar Professional Training Course at the University of Northumbria was a decisive factor before I can reach my ultimate career goal as a Barrister. Having successfully completed the BPTC, I was Called to the Bar of England and Wales as a Barrister in November 2021.

What are you doing now?Arshad Gassita

I have done my Pupillage at Dentons LLP and I am currently a Pupil Barrister at MC Law Offices. My practice covers both civil and criminal areas of law.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I first visited the University of Northumbria before doing the BPTC and I can clearly say that it was love at first sight. I fell in love with the campus of the University of Northumbria and Newcastle is just an amazing city to live in, it is less hectic than London and is extremely beautiful in all aspects. If I have to do an LLM, it will be again at University of Northumbria itself. Its people are really friendly and you feel at ease with everyone there. Regarding the BPTC itself, the course is so well-structured and it has a curriculum that allows you to plan well in order to be a successful barrister. University of Northumbria has a solid reputation in the North East and I was further impressed when I found out that the University and the legal profession was interlinked as many lecturers are practising barristers in Newcastle. In addition, the costs of living and that of the BPTC are more affordable than anywhere else.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Studying at Northumbria was probably the best choice I made in my life. The BPTC at Northumbria was extremely interesting, stimulating and intellectually challenging. The campus is very spacious and is of highest quality in terms of learning, facilities such as a 24-hour library, a food corner and an indoor gym are at our disposal. As the BPTC is a professional course, it was tailored to such an extent that you get both theoretical side and the practical side of the Bar; in other words you receive the end of both worlds. What I love at Northumbria were the small group sessions with the lecturers. These were very interactive and constructive feedback was provided on the spot. The BPTC at Northumbria comprises of lectures, small group sessions, mock trials, seminars, individual feedback sessions and a replica of a court room. All of these shape your career as a Barrister and allow you to become tomorrow’s professional in society.

How connected was your course with industry?

At the University of Northumbria, the BPTC has a direct link with the law practise industry. Many of my lecturers were practising barristers at reputable set of Chambers in Newcastle and they are always willing to help. There were 12 Qualifying Sessions in total and one was even held in Newcastle so that we are familiarised with the local Courts, Barristers and other members of the Judiciary. Visiting lecturers came to deliver their experience as foreign Barristers in other jurisdictions and these were crucial for us regarding professional networking. Northumbria Law School provided us with many opportunities such as court marshalling, mini-pupillage, publication of legal articles and interactive advocacy classes.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

I had the opportunity to be selected for a mini-pupillage in Newcastle whilst I was studying for my BPTC. Unfortunately due to Covid-19, it had to be done online but nevertheless this has boosted my confidence and contributed in shaping my professional career towards the Bar.

What was the best thing about your course?

At University of Northumbria, there were lots of encouragement and support coming from the lecturers. My tutors have always been there for me since the very first day of the BPTC. During the small group sessions, I was given individual feedback to improve myself and this boosted my overall confidence. The BPTC was very interactive and since it is a professional course, it was designed and tailored in such a way that it helps you to acquire all the necessary skills that you need to successfully practise at the Bar.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

I have always wanted to become a Barrister. Studying the BPTC at Northumbria has helped me to realise my career goal despite all the challenges that I had to face. Despite unprecedented times such as Covid-19, I have received relentless support from lecturers and staffs at University of Northumbria who have all been there during this pandemic. The constructive feedback I received from my tutors has definitely pushed me to excel at the Bar. Northumbria University also prepares you for the professional life at the Bar and holds several seminars about Pupillage as well. In addition to the strong reputation of the University combined with one’s hard work, Northumbria shapes one’s career to the next level.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Practical skills such as conferencing, drafting, legal opinion taught at University of Northumbria for the BPTC are the stepping stone of a successful career at the Bar. I am thankful to my tutors for teaching me how to master examination in chief and cross examination; skills which I use daily in Courts. Extensive preparations for Advocacy sessions at Northumbria have paid off as these have allowed me to develop my own advocacy style and I was able to deliver the best of myself for practice at the Bar.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I have probably spent the best moments of my life when I was studying at Northumbria University. Despite the fact that the BPTC remains a challenging yet enjoyable course, nevertheless with hard work, perseverance and determination, it is still achievable. I am incredibly grateful to the lecturers for their invaluable and continued support throughout my journey at the Bar. The experience at Northumbria comes altogether with a package, unique in its own way and forever memorable.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Be it in terms of architecture or quality teaching, one of the best places to study in the UK is at University of Northumbria and I guarantee that you will not regret it. Not only the courses are more affordable than other universities but the cost of living is way cheaper than anywhere else. The campus is just lovely and offers a high range of facilities to students. I will definitely encourage anyone who wants to gain a world class qualification is by studying at University of Northumbria, an institution for excellence.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Unique, challenging and rewarding.

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