Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition
School teams go head to head in local Magistrates' Courts.
Over 95 per cent of criminal cases (more than a million every year) are dealt with by magistrates, yet many people know very little about what they do.
The Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition, which has been running annually since 1994, introduces the legal system to young people in an innovative and exciting way.
In the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates and court staff, students prosecute and defend specially written criminal cases. Teams compete against each other in real Magistrates' courts in front of real magistrates.
What does it deliver?
This year, when asked how the students benefit from taking part, 95% of teachers said it improved their:
- knowledge and understanding of the legal system
- team work
- public speaking
- ability to develop an argument
- analytical skills.
‘It is a superb way to raise students understanding and knowledge of the law in action. It has raised confidence and achievement in our school and provided excellent citizenship education' Participating teacher 2011/12
‘I've realised just how important the law is to everyone' Participating Student, 2011/12
How does it work?
Students compete in teams of 12/13 and must be in Years 8 and/or 9 in England and Wales (years 9 and 10 in Northern Ireland).
We supply comprehensive preparation materials, such as a competition guide, lesson plans and a specially written criminal case.
School teams then play off against each other in local heats. The winners compete in a regional final and, in turn, those winners meet in a national final. The winner of the national final walks away with a shield, prizes for the team (which in the past have included book tokens for the students and resources for the school) and a deserving sense of pride.
Everything you need to know about this competitions is now on our dedicated Law in Schools website.