23rd Annual Bar National Mock Trial Competition Reaches a Finale

18 March 2014

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 making final preparations for the 23rd annual final of the Bar National Mock Trial Competition on Saturday 22 March at Cardiff Crown Court.

Winners of the regional heats, which took place in crown courts across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in November 2013, will compete against each other in teams to determine the national winner of this year's competition. The final involves teams of students aged 15 - 18 (years 10 to 13), selected from 2,000 students in state schools, taking 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 Competition is a practical and challenging way of educating young people about their legal rights and responsibilities and the criminal justice system, whilst at the same time improving their public speaking, analytical and team-working skills. 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 Emily Thornberry, Shadow Attorney General and MP for Islington South and Finsbury.
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:

"At a time when schools are grappling with so many changes it has been comforting to see the Bar Mock Trials achieving another successful year across the UK.

"The legal profession in the UK has similarly been grappling with many changes; we pay deep tribute to the loyalty of the five bodies whose contributions have brought this competition to life again. They and hundreds of volunteer barristers and advocates travelling to schools and putting their teams through their paces are the life support team to this vital programme.

"I say thanks to the legal village that rallied round the teachers who herded the students who stepped up to the challenge from our staff and gave it their all with such energy for life and learning. They reminded us of why the law is so important, how the next generation will grasp and sustain it given the opportunity, and why society still so desperately needs education for citizenship."

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

"The Bar Council is delighted to support this Competition, which engages over 2,000 students every year and is now in its 23rd year helping young people to understand important issues surrounding citizenship and the justice system.

"In addition to providing financial support, the Bar Council is extremely proud that over 300 barristers and 90 judges volunteer their time each year to bring the legal system to life for the Bar National Mock Trial Competition - especially at a time of great challenge for many parts of the Bar.

"The Bar Council is committed to enhancing understanding of the law and the legal profession, and this is just one of the ways in which we help to provide young people with a meaningful insight into our legal system."



Notes to Editors

1. For further information, please contact 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. The Bar Mock Trial Competition will start at 09:15 and finish at 16:30 on Saturday 22 March. For further information about the Bar Mock Trial Competition, please contact Sufiya Patel on 020 7566 4155.

4. Any accredited press who wish to attend please contact Sarah Hunt on 020 7611 1476.

5. The Bar 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 2013/14 are:

  • Alcester Grammar School (Alcester, West Midlands)
  • Alton College (Alton, Hampshire)
  • Aquinas Grammar School (Belfast)
  • The Becket School (Nottingham)
  • The Boswells Academy Trust (Chelmsford, Essex)
  • Dalriada School (Ballymoney)
  • Mackie Academy (Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire)
  • North Halifax Grammar School (Halifax, West Yorkshire)
  • QE Academy Trust (Plymouth, Devon)
  • Queen Mary's College (Basingstoke, Hampshire)
  • St Alban's RC High School (Pontypool, Torfaen)
  • St Peter's Catholic Comprehensive School (Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Spalding High School (Spalding, Lincolnshire)
  • Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School (Tunbridge Wells, Kent)
  • Upton Hall School FCJ (Upton, Merseyside)
  • Wilmslow High School (Wilmslow, Cheshire), and
  • Wirral Grammar School for Girls (Wirral, Merseyside).

7. The national final will be judged by:

  • Lord Justice Jackson
  • Lord Justice Clarke
  • Lord Turnbull
  • Lady Rae
  • HHJ Eleri Rees, Recorder of Cardiff
  • HHJ Thomas Crowther QC
  • HHJ Patrick Curran QC
  • HHJ William Gaskell
  • HHJ Philip Richards
  • HHJ Daniel Williams
  • Stephen Hockman QC
  • Paul Lewis QC
  • Paul Hopkins QC
  • Mark Mulholland QC, and
  • John Cooper QC.

8. Founded in 1989, the Citizenship Foundation inspires young people to take part in society as equal members. It helps them to understand the law, politics and democratic life. It promotes participation, helps teachers to teach citizenship and works with young people on issues that matter to them. The Citizenship Foundation wants a democracy in which everyone has the knowledge, skills and confidence to take part as effective citizens.

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.