On Saturday 25 March at The Royal Courts of Justice hundreds of students from 22 schools across the UK will come together to compete in the final of the National Bar Mock Trial Competition 2023. This is the first time that the competition’s final has taken place in person since the pandemic in 2020.

The competition has given thousands of students aged 15-18 a unique insight into the legal profession, with many going on to successful legal careers. The event was founded in 1989 by Young Citizens (formerly The Citizenship Foundation) and is backed by the Bar Council.

On the day 11 judges, including ex-Head of Criminal Justice The Right Honourable Sir Brian Leveson, will oversee each mock criminal trial and score students’ performances. Schools will go head-to-head to prosecute and defend two cases tackling topical legal issues such as assault and possession with intent to supply.

Nick Vineall KC, Chair of the Bar, said: “The Bar Mock Trial competition is a truly wonderful initiative for school students, and it is a great way to attract the best young people to the Bar of tomorrow. I am delighted the Bar Council supports this project that provides practical experience and a real insight into our profession.”

Ashley Hodges, CEO of Young Citizens, said: “Legal literacy is at the foundation of a thriving democracy. With nearly 2/3 of us not knowing our basic legal rights, programmes like Mock Trial Competitions are a vital way for young people to develop this knowledge and other key life skills. We are so grateful that the finalist schools will get the chance to visit The Royal Courts of Justice in person again. It is inspiring experiences like these that truly light the spark of active citizenship in young people and resonate throughout their lives.”