Wednesday, 6 July 2016

A Day in The Life of a Law Student in Cambodia

COUNTRY: Cambodia
PROGRAMFaculty Placement
WRITTEN BY: Lauren Cutuli

A typical working day starts around 7am with breakfast at your hotel, followed by the bus, which takes students to their designated legal NGO for the day. We would usually spend the morning in court, either the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Trial Court or the Appeals Court. At the ECCC the court provides headphones that translate Khmer to English, however in the Trials, Supreme and Appeals Court you will need a translator who is usually the staff member with the best English. 

Lunch breaks are quite long in Cambodia, around 2-3 hours! During this time some staff members will have a siesta in the office, but we would use this time to have a walk around the streets and explore. We are provided with a packed lunch but can opt to eat out which we did do several days. 

After lunch we would either have a briefing about the court and justice system in Cambodia or attend a meeting with a prosecutor, NGO or community group that provides support to clients. We were very lucky that these meetings were arranged for us to be able to ask questions and we were surprised with the honesty of their answers. Many lawyers and professionals are interested in the Australian legal system so we would also share the differences between our systems and even voice our concerns for the Cambodian legal industry.

A days work will finish somewhere between 4pm and 5:30pm, at which time our driver returns us to our hotel where we would meet with the other students on our trip to discuss our days and our plans for the evening. Depending on how early we have to be awake the next day we will all have a drink at the rooftop bar at our hotel and head out to dinner. Dinner is usually a traditional rice, noodle, soup or curry dish and, if we can fit it in, deep-fried ice cream or Nutella crepes! 

Weekends are ours to plan as we please, but we will usually always fit in a trip to one of the local markets, a tourist attraction and a big night out!

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