The Mock Trial Competitions from a student’s perspective

Students like me have chosen to participate in our Mock Trial Competitions for over 26 years now. This unique opportunity immerses students in all aspects of a criminal trial as we take on the roles of barristers, witnesses, clerks, ushers and jury members. The competition has supplemented traditional classroom learning by encouraging the development of essential skills such as logical reasoning, clear communication and teamwork.
While a student at St Alban’s RC High School, Pontypool, I got involved in the Mock Trial competition and the impact it had on me was profound. I'm writing this blog, to share the importance of this competition and what it has done for me and my plans for the future. 

In today’s society, communication is a skill that is absolutely vital; that needs to be mastered by everybody and, in particular, young people. It is important to remember though that communication is not just talking. The person must also have confidence, fluency, and structure to what they are delivering.

The Mock Trials competition, organised by Young Citizens, incorporates all of these aspects into a competition which is aimed at engaging young people in the law and allowing them to be able to experience what goes on inside a real courtroom - a sight most teenagers don’t really see!

The students, in a team, take roles as barristers, witnesses, court ushers and court clerks. Not only does this allow them to gain practical skills needed for life, it allows them to experience what that career actually entails. This can inspire them to want to peruse that profession in the future.

I have always been interested in the law and my teachers were very dedicated on educating students about the law and citizenship, and helping them to be well-informed citizens for the future - this is one of the main aspects to which Young Citizens focuses on - Public Legal Education (PLE).

My career choice was definitely set in stone after participating in the Mock Trial competitions and being able to advocate in the Royal Courts of Justice. A court not even many qualified legal professionals get to advocate in! My personal communication skills have improved and, in particular, the ability to speak in confidence to large groups of people.

The competition is an extremely invaluable experience which should really be taken advantage of. I would highly encourage schools that haven’t previously been involved with Mock Trials to do so - your students will value it highly!

Without experiences like this, I don’t believe that I would be in the position that I am today, publicly pushing to engage my peers in society. While I am now too old to participate in the competition, I will continue to support it in whatever way I can.

Once again, this is an invaluable experience that all schools should take advantage of. If you are not sure how to participate, you could even attend one of the Student Workshops which take your students through masterclasses on how to become experts in advocacy!

Jack is now studying for a law degree and has recently become a Young Citizens Ambassador for his continued advocacy for greater Public Legal Education in schools.