Court in Action

Court in Action was an immersive court education project for secondary schools in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Commissioned and funded by the Police & Crime Commissioner and overseen by the Local Criminal Justice Board, the project offered an exciting introduction to the Criminal Justice System for young people aged 11-16.


The project

The aim of the project was to help students explore how the justice system works, including the role of judges and barristers and how sentences are determined. They also explored the personal and social consequences of crime.

Educators were able to access a free and flexible online toolkit of teaching resources. This was especially designed to meet key PSHE and citizenship areas such as the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law and individual liberties.

The toolkit contained:

  • Information about the Criminal Justice System for teachers
  • A framework for running your own classroom mock trial
  • Ready-to-use lesson plans

Students also had the chance to visit working courts in Truro, Plymouth and Exeter, where they took part in a Q&A with working judges and observed a live trial.

This ground-breaking scheme has been so enlightening for students and teachers in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. With this unique insight into the role police, lawyers and judges play in our community, I hope the young participants will become advocates for our justice system, with many considering careers the sector.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez


Impact and feedback

2400 students benefitted from the classroom resources, with 300 visiting local courtrooms.

One student said: “Being able to hear from legal professionals like barristers and judges was really useful to gain knowledge about how the system operates, along with being able to actively witness court cases.”

A teacher commented: “The students really enjoyed it and were really excited by the experience. They took a lot from it, learning about court processes and the criminal justice system in general. I think it was eye opening in terms of career pathways.”

Read the Centre for Education and Youth’s full impact report here.


Get in touch

The Court in Action pilot project has now come to an end, but you can find out more about Young Citizens’ legal education work here.

If your organisation is interested in running a similar programme, please get in touch with our Director of Programmes and Learning, Yvonne Richards:

Where next?