School students take over Royal Courts of Justice

Students from 16 UK state schools are set to take over the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the national final of the Bar Mock Trial Competition later this month.

Sixteen teams of 15 students selected from 2,000 year 10 to 13 students at UK state schools will be judged by barristers and judges in the 22nd annual competition, held at the RCJ on 24 March.

Teams will compete simultaneously in eight courtrooms at the RCJ in morning and afternoon sessions before the final between the two top-scoring teams takes place.

Students will use witness statements to construct their case and will play the roles of witnesses, court staff, jurors and barristers and compete against other teams, with one group of students defending and one prosecuting – proceedings will to be judged by circuit judges, recorders and senior barristers.

Sufiya Patel, project manager at the Citizenship Foundation which organises the competition said: “The aim of the competition is to help students gain skills in advocacy and communication. It also helps them get a better understanding of the criminal justice system by playing the different roles from court clerks, barristers and witnesses.”

Regional heats have been judged in crown courts across the country with teams initially taking part in three trials. The two teams with the highest scores from each region have competed against one another in a fourth trial and the successful teams will now compete in the national final.

Students will learn about the rights and responsibilities which the law governs, how the criminal and civil justice systems function and how court proceedings can shape the law.

The Bar (comprised of the Bar Council, the Faculty of Advocates, the Bar Library of Northern Ireland, the Inns of Court and the Circuits) wholly fund the competition.

On Tuesday and Wednesday next week (5-6 March) Lawyer2B, in association with BPP Law School, is holding a careers day for Year 12 students interested in a career in law.