A group of Year 11 pupils and sixth form students from St Christopher’s CE High School and Sixth Form took part in the annual Young Citizens UK National Mock Bar Trial competition at Preston Crown Court earlier this month.
Accrington, Lancashire, November 27, 2023
Starting back in August 2023 the Mock Trial team was selected from a group of pupils and students who had a real interest in law and politics, and they began their training for the competition to be held in November. The team was made up of seven Year 11 pupils from main school and six students from across the sixth form, all taking on specific roles needed in a trial.
Using the resources that are supplied (including specially written criminal cases) they began preparing legal arguments and practising them in school on a regular basis. They also had the opportunity to visit Preston Crown Court and meet Judge Jeffries KC, barristers, and to sit in on a trial itself. They asked Judge Jeffries KC very insightful questions and got a real insight into the workings of a courtroom and what was expected in the upcoming competition.
Students were also provided with a Barrister Mentor, Joe Allman. Joe is a specialist prosecutor with the Crime Prosecution Service and specialises in Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime based in Manchester, Lincoln Chambers. He watched our students run through their legal arguments and offered lots of helpful advice and suggestions. Joe was very impressed with the confidence of our speakers and the progress they had made ready for the regional heat where they would go head-to-head with other Sixth Form Colleges in the area.
“The whole team are clearly bright and capable. I can’t believe none of you have done this competition before! Your standard is high.” – Joe Allman
The team gathered in the early morning of Saturday 18th November and made their way to Preston Crown Court. Once there they set to work prosecuting and defending their cases against Queen Elizabeth School, Winstanley College and Cardinal Newman College. Our witnesses and defendant held their own under cross examinations and some of our students acted as members of the jury for other trials, as well as Court Clerk and Court Usher. We are now all well versed in the minutia of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and the law regarding public nuisance. At the end of the day there was the opportunity for an in-depth Question and Answer session with the Judges who had presided over the mock cases. Although we did not get through to the next round of the competition, we were happy with our performance especially as it was out first year competing.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. It was fun to discuss and research laws that are relevant and controversial today. The day of the competition was fantastic. It was a great opportunity to meet like-minded people. I felt a rush of adrenaline when standing in court as a barrister; I particularly enjoyed the cross-examination. Sebastian Bernabe – Y12 Student
The Young Citizens Bar Mock Trial competition has been running for over 30 years and is open to15-18 year-olds from non-fee paying schools across the UK. The Competition helps young people understand how the law touches every aspect of their lives, gaining an insight into how the legal justice system works. By taking part in the competition the pupils and students gained a sound knowledge and understanding of the role of the law and justice system in our society and helped to improve their critical thing and boost their confidence.
“We are so proud of our students. They put in so much time and effort to prepare for this competition and we all got so much out of it. I think many of them are now set on a career in the Justice system” – Ellie Smith, Head of Law A level.
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