In March 2014, 17 students from the Boswell School in Chelmsford competed in the national finals of the Bar National Mock Trial Competition at Cardiff Crown Court.
The competition gives young people an exciting and innovative insight into the workings of the legal system. The Boswell students were supported on the trip by an Educational Visit Grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation.
The challenge, which is run by the Citizenship Foundation, involves students using carefully constructed witness statements to prepare the prosecution and defence of two specially written criminal cases. The Boswell team competed against 16 other schools from across the country, with students from each school taking on the roles of a whole range of court staff including barristers, witnesses, jurors and court ushers.
Over 240 students took part in the competition in front of an intimidating panel of judges which included Bar Council Chairman Stephen Hockman QC, leading criminal lawyer John Cooper QC and Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Rupert Jackson. Though the Boswell team didn’t manage to take the top prize, their participation in the competition was wholly worthwhile and will be of benefit to the students in the future.
Year 12 student Lauren Barber, who played a member of the jury said, “Not only was the competition a learning curve, but it was also great fun. The challenge gave us the opportunity to take on challenging roles inside a working court and has given us knowledge that we can apply both in our A Level law classes and the world of work.”
Ann Flanigan, who accompanied the students on the trip said, “The students have developed their confidence and improved their communication skills, while it has given direction to some with regard to their future career.”
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