22nd Bar National Mock Trial Competition to be battled out at Royal Courts of Justice

18 March 2013

The Citizenship Foundation, in partnership with the Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, Scotland's Faculty of Advocates, the Bar Library of Northern Ireland, the four Inns of Court and the six Circuits of England and Wales, are preparing for the 22nd annual final of the Bar National Mock Trial Competition on Saturday 23 March at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Sixteen teams selected from 2,000 students in state schools will take on the roles of barristers and witnesses to compete against other students in a live format, with one team prosecuting and the other defending in mock criminal trials judged by senior members of the Bar and serving judges. The final of the competition will be held in the world famous Royal Courts of Justice.

The Competition provides a unique opportunity for students aged between 15 and 18 (in years 10 to 13), to gain practical experience of the workings of the legal system. Past competitors have gone on to become barristers, solicitors and law or citizenship teachers as a result of the experience.

Prizes will be awarded by the Chairman of the Bar of England and Wales, Maura McGowan QC.

The Bar National Mock Trial Competition is wholly funded by the Bar, through the Bar Council, the Faculty of Advocates, the Bar Library of Northern Ireland, the Inns of Court and the Circuits.

Andy Thornton, CEO of the Citizenship Foundation, said:

"The Bar Mock Trial competition remains a landmark feature in legal education and happily finds itself in a landmark legal venue this year.

"Finalists from across the UK will see first-hand the courts that make the daily news. But these champions are just the tip of the iceberg: along the way thousands of others have had their day in courts in their locality during in the 16 heats across the UK. They have all gained valuable knowledge, skills and confidence; learning to debate and to advocate for others - a key life skill that has been enriched through the support of courts, clerks, barristers and judges.

"It's a perfect mix for raising aspirations and bringing citizenship education to life. It couldn't happen without our treasured partnership with the Bar Council, Faculty of Advocates and Bar Library of Northern Ireland, Inns of Court and the Circuits, as well as the hundreds of volunteers from across the legal profession, for whom we are continually thankful."

Speaking on behalf of the partner funders, Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar of England and Wales, said:

"The Bar Council is very proud to support the Bar National Mock Trial Competition, which we see as an important means of educating students about issues surrounding citizenship and the criminal justice system.

"It has been a privilege to be involved with the Competition, which attracts over 2,000 state school students. The Bar Council is committed to helping young people to understand their rights and responsibilities, and is extremely proud that in addition to providing financial support, over 300 barristers and 90 judges volunteer their time each year to bring the legal system to life.

"The number of participants demonstrates the important role this scheme has in equipping students from state school backgrounds with a meaningful insight into our legal system."


ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525.

2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:

• The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services
• Fair access to justice for all
• The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and
• The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board.

3. Any accredited press who wish to attend please contact Deeba Syed on 02076111453.

4. For further information about the Bar National Mock Trial Competition   please contact please contact Sufiya Patel on 020 7566 4155.

5. The Bar National Mock Trial Competition is run by the Citizenship Foundation and funded by the Bar Council of England and Wales, the Faculty of Advocates, the Bar Library of Northern Ireland, the Inns of Court and the Circuits. For further information about the Bar's involvement in the Competition, please call the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525.

6. The finalists of the Bar National Mock Trial Competition 2013 are:

7. The final round will be judged by:

  • HHJ Chris Kinch QC

  • HHJ Wendy Joseph QC

  • Bernard McCloskey QC

  • Gregory Bull QC

  • Herbert Kerrigan QC

  • Mark Wall QC

  • Alistair MacDonald QC

  • Vice Dean W James Wolffe QC 

  • Adam Hiddleston

8. The Citizenship Foundation is  an independent charity (no. 801360) working throughout the UK and overseas to promote more effective citizenship through education about the law, democracy and society. Founded in 1989, it aims to empower people, particularly the young and disadvantaged, with the knowledge, skills and understanding to engage positively with their communities.

9. The Bar Library of Northern Ireland is the regulatory and representative body for barristers in Northern Ireland.

10. The Faculty of Advocates is the regulatory and representative body for advocates in Scotland.

11. The Inns of Court provide educational activities and support for barristers and pupils.The four Inns of Court are Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray's Inn.

12. The Circuits provide important sources of support, advice and representation for barristers practising in the six Circuits. They are the Midland Circuit, the Northern Circuit, the North Eastern Circuit, the South Eastern Circuit, the Wales and Chester Circuit and the Western Circuit.