School pupils take part in mock trial

Aspiring young advocates were given the opportunity to gain practical experience of the workings of the legal system following the launch of the 20th annual final of the Bar National Mock Trial Competition.

Sixteen schools participated in the competition, organised by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Bar Council, and Chelmsford County High School scooped the top prize after presenting trials in front of serving judges and senior members of the bar.

Chief executive of the Bar Council David Hobart said: “The competition is a triumph of opportunity, excellence and achievement. It opens a new door for students and gives them knowledge, understanding and a practical feeling for the fascinating subject of law in action,”

“Whilst not intended as a recruitment tool for the profession, participation in the competition has led to a number of young people going on to study law and enjoying a successful career at the bar and a range of other professions.”

The finals were held in the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast, where state school students aged between 15 and 18 gained practical experience of the workings of the legal system. 

Chief executive of the Citizenship Foundation Andy Thornton said: “It is incredible to think that, 20 years ago, the competition started with a modest eight schools in Reading Crown Court and is now operating 16 heats annually and received applications from 230 schools in this year alone.”