What is the Mock Trial Competition?
The Citizenship Foundation’s Bar Mock Trial competition is a practical and challenging way to educate young people about their legal rights and responsibilities, the criminal justice system, and the legal process and profession generally, while at the same time improving their public speaking, analytical and team-working skills. The competition involves teams of young people aged 15-18 from schools across the UK presenting opposing sides of specially written criminal cases in real Crown Court buildings. The students take on the role of barristers, witnesses, court staff and jurors, and their performances are judged by real judges and senior barristers.
What the competition does
The Mock Trial competition has three primary aims:
Public legal education – The competition furnishes young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to recognise and address the legal problems they may encounter.
Introduction to the legal profession – The legal profession can seem alien and obscure to many young people. The competition helps to correct this by giving the young people competing direct contact with those involved in the administration of justice and by giving them realistic insight into how courts work, and how cases are prepared, presented and decided. Students who participate are often offered work experience by barristers.
Enrichment – The competition helps the young people involved to develop the skills and behaviours, such as communication skills and resilience, which will enable them to function and succeed in all aspects of their lives.
The Mock Trial is a great way to enhance a student’s UCAS personal statement with an extra-curricular activity that really impresses universities. It is also a great way of obtaining work experience in the legal profession.
When does it take place?
The competition takes place in the autumn term, with a practice trial on the first weekend in November and the competition on the first weekend in December.
Rehearsals will take place in school from October onwards with the number of rehearsals depending on your role in the trial. We will arrange rehearsals to fit into your timetable at school and there will be some after school rehearsals too.
The fictional legal case is acted out by school teams. Students can apply for roles depending on how enthusiastic they are at public speaking. There really is something for everyone!
Each team has four barristers, who take the leading role in the team, appearing for the prosecution and the defence. There are four witness roles that include the defendant and the victim. Other members of the team act as court clerk and usher. For those who prefer a non-speaking role we also act as jury.
Cowes Enterprise College has been in the top three in the competition result for the past four years. We won the competition in 2018 and came second in 2017 and 2019, performing top of the local sixth forms. We always produce a competitive team and are very proud of the way our students perform.
“Participating in the Mock Trial two years running greatly developed my confidence, taught me about the legal system, and created some great memories for myself. The whole experience was fun, from the preparation of the case, watching professionals act it out, to participating in the competition (as a court clerk the first year and a barrister the second). The competition itself was great fun, also it allowed me to develop my public speaking skills.” – Beth Pitts
“Whether you are interested in law, politics or just self-development this competition caters for all. On one side it’s a serious chance to test yourself with a detailed case, face to face with other schools. On the other its fun, a laugh and extremely informative. As someone interested in a future career in politics, I can’t recommend this highly enough and it is equally useful for any applications to university. The confidence and awareness, in my view, of the precariousness of our judicial system that you will gain from it are second to none. It’s a real hands on experience. Also, we need a strong team to continue our domination of the top positions!”
Mrs Sara Cody
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