Champions of School Mock Trial Competition Crowned

8th July 2016

The Priory Academy LSST in Lincoln has been crowned the champions of the inter-school mock trial competition held at Sheffield Hallam University.

The competition, which took place at Sheffield Hallam Moot Court and run in association with Sheffield Law Society, saw The Priory take on Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (Ashbourne, Derbyshire) in the final for the national title. In front of an audience of lawyers, academics, legal students and parents, the winning team won the competition on both performance and point of law by the narrowest of margins of just one point in each category. Senior barrister and lawyer Bruce Houlder CB QC, who was recognised in the New Year's Honours List for services to defence in 2014 and is an Honorary Doctor of Laws at Sheffield Hallam, judged the final trial. Mr Houlder said: "It is tremendous that Sheffield Hallam University is involved in this kind of outreach with schools across the region. The competition is a wonderful opportunity for young people to gain an understanding of how the principles of justice really work. "What we saw from the pupils involved was an exercise in how to construct and deliver well-reasoned arguments, whilst showing an appreciation of fairness and evidence-based commentary. "All of the young people involved performed with great authority and at no point were they overwhelmed by the competitive occasion, for which they should be very proud of themselves." The mock trial took place as part of a wider law taster day at Sheffield Hallam for pupils to find out more about the University's law and criminology courses. The day included a guest lecture from renowned lawyer, Tunde Okewale MBE. As well as his role as a barrister at one of the country's leading Chambers, Doughty Street Chambers, Mr Okewale is the founder of Urban Lawyers - a multimedia education and information resource designed to educate, engage and stimulate discussion amongst young people interested in a career in law. Mr Okewale said: "The University should be commended for putting on such an all-inclusive day which provided a practical opportunity to see what the job would really be like. "The young people who attended also had the chance to meet experienced legal professionals and recent graduates to understand the process of becoming a professional lawyer, which should prove hugely beneficial as they look to progress their legal careers." "I think this kind of competition - and the wider taster day alongside it - should be replicated at institutions across the country." Attendees at the day were also invited on a tour of the University's Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice and heard a talk on human rights from Sheffield Hallam's Jamie Grace.

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