Verdict in for mock trial final

21st June 2013

A team of sixth form law students from The Priory Academy Lincolnshire School of Science and Technology (LSST) have been announced the winners of the Inter-School Mock Trial Competition 2013, run by Sheffield Hallam University.

They beat fellow finalists, Sheffield's Notre Dame High School, after successfully prosecuting a fake trial based around the theft of a car at Sheffield Law Courts last night (19 June). The two teams were allocated a role of prosecution and defence and had to prepare their cases to present before a jury made up of local law practitioners and Sheffield Hallam staff. Each member of the teams took on roles of lead and junior barrister, a researcher and a witness and were given facts about the case prior to the final in order to prepare their arguments. Acting as the trial judge, James Gould, a barrister at Bankhouse Chambers, said there had been some 'future stars' that had emerged from the court room battle. "The standard has been absolutely fantastic," said James. "Both teams had prepared extremely well. It was a close contest but The Priory Academy won it in the end but I think we have definitely seen the lawyers of the future as well as some budding young actors as well." The winning team were rewarded with work experience opportunities at local law firms, Bhayani Bracewell who sponsored the event, Bankhouse Chambers and Bell and Buxton Solicitors. Both finalists were presented with certificates and paperweight to mark their achievements. Alistair Weir who took on the role of lead barrister for The Priory Academy, said: "This whole experience has been really enjoyable. We've worked really hard for it so it has been extremely satisfying to come out on top. Either way though, it's been a really good thing to be a part of so even if we hadn't won, the idea of coming into a court room and doing something like this is amazing on its own. "It's definitely confirmed my aspirations to go into law, especially now that we have, in the most part, done well at it so if anyone is wanting to progress into a career in law, I would certainly recommend getting involved with this competition." Eight schools and colleges from across the region took part in this year's competition, organised by Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with Sheffield Law Society, Bhayani Bracewell and fellow sponsors, Howells Solicitors and Banner Jones Solicitors. They each had to impress the judging panel in the heats as they debated on issues around the right to privacy for public figures. Now in its second year, the competition was set up to give young people the chance to gain the skills and confidence to debate, challenge and influence others and provides a creative insight into the law profession. Anna Rudkin, former president of the Sheffield Law Society and senior law lecturer at Sheffield Hallam, said: "It's always really encouraging to see how much effort and planning the students put into this. Not only does it put their team-working skills to the test, it looks at their own personal development and it's great to see young people debating and putting their persuasive and influencing skills into practice."

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