Coleraine Grammar School wins the National Bar Mock Trial Competition 2024

On 16th March, 325 students aged 15-18 from across the UK competed in the final of the National Bar Mock Trial Competition at the Royal Courts of Justice. 

22 state school teams went head-to-head in mock criminal trials overseen by members of the courts judiciary. 

Coleraine Grammar School from Northern Ireland were the overall winners, closely followed by St. Clement’s High School (King’s Lynn) and The Boswells School (Chelmsford) in second and third place respectively. 

There were also prizes for highest performing court usher (Glenthorne High School), court clerk (Calthorpe Park School), prosecution barristers (Truro & Penwith College and The Rochester Grammar School), defence barristers (Wilmslow High School and Calday Grange Grammar School) and witnesses (Pleckgate High School and St.Peter’s Catholic School, Southampton) – as well as the best performing new team to the competition (Northampton School for Boys). 

Prizes were presented by Sir Matthew James Nicklin, His Honour Judge Christopher Kinch, Dr. Sally Penni MBE and many more volunteers from the judiciary and the bar. Her Honour Judge Louise Brandon, a former Mock Trials participant, and Sam Townend KC, Chair of the Bar Council, addressed students and teachers at the end of the day.


Advocating for legal education

In an interview with Young Citizens, Judge Louise Brandon said: “This competition means so much to me. I think young people should take part because it equips them with a whole variety of skills. It enables them to learn about the legal system and what goes on in a courtroom, but most importantly it demonstrates that you can work as a team, speak in public and solve problems, which are fantastic skills for future employers. It’s not just for those who want to be lawyers, but if you do, it’s a great way of learning what the job is all about. Not only that, it’s also great fun!” 

“I’ve been fortunate enough to see three of the trials today, and the advocacy was just brilliant. The questions the students were asking were thoughtful and insightful, and the way they were delivering their speeches was fantastic. I think I’ve seen several barristers in the making here today.” 

Founded in 1991, the competition helps young people to understand how the law impacts their lives. Teams of students take on the main roles found in a criminal trial, such as prosecution lawyer, witnesses and jurors, with cases written by legal professionals. They compete in regional heats against other schools in real courthouses, with support and mentorship from judges and practising barristers. Regional winners progress to the National Final in London. 

186 schools and nearly 3000 students have taken part in the 2023/24 competition, with heats hosted in 17 different courts and 4 university settings. 

Supported by The Bar Council, The Law Society, HMCTS, The Inns of Court and the Circuits, the competition is the largest and longest-running of its kind, with thousands of students having taken part in its 33-year history. 

Find out more about the programme here: