Law is arbitrary to many people, not seen as something that protects them. How do you help people understand the reasons for making and changing laws and to appreciate the complex processes involved?
The Bar Mock Trial is a prestigious competition which gives young people an exciting and innovative insight into the workings of the legal system. The Competition has run every year since 1991, involving over 2,000 students. It is made possible with the help of legal professionals who volunteer their time, including 300 barristers and advocates and 90 judges from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Teams of students use witness statements to prepare the prosecution and defence of two specially written criminal cases. Students take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, court staff and jurors and compete against other schools in a live format, with one team prosecuting and the other defending. Their performances are judged by Circuit Judges and senior barristers and take place in Crown Courts across the UK. At regional heats teams take part in three trials both prosecuting and defending one case and prosecuting or defending the other.
‘This is a wonderful opportunity to educate students about the finer workings of the Bar, which would otherwise remain a mystery to many young people. The effort and enthusiasm of the students is a joy to see, and we are grateful to the many members of the Bar who continue to give up their time to make the experience as realistic as possible.’
Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar Council 2013
Auditions for the Bar Mock Trial team take place in early September and the team meets every Monday from 3.30pm to 4.45pm and during various lunchtimes. The competition takes place in November in the Royal Court of Justice, Belfast.
Teachers involved: Miss McClelland and Miss Carson