14 of Notre Dame’s students took part in the Young Citizens Bar Mock Trial Competition at Leeds Beckett University on March 26.
The competition is the largest and longest running of its kind, involving hundreds of schools and thousands of students each year. Those who take part develop an understanding of how the law touches every aspect of their lives, and the competition also enables young people to develop their critical thinking and public speaking skills. Students take on all the main roles of those involved in a criminal trial - such as prosecutor and defence barrister, defendant and witness - with each case specially written by legal experts.
Notre Dame was competing against ten other schools from Yorkshire and Humberside. Our students took on a number of roles, including jury members, witnesses, a court clerk, and an usher. Four acted as barristers, and spent two months preparing two different legal cases to present to a qualified barrister, who judged their efforts. Our students had to deliver opening and closing speeches, as well as questioning and cross-examining witnesses played by students from other colleges.
We took part in three trials, and in each case the jury (made up of students from other schools) was convinced by the arguments put forward by our students and sided with our team. The organisers and staff from other schools commented on how polite and welcoming all our students were during the event.
A-level and BTEC Law teacher Tom Sampson said, “The students represented Notre Dame with distinction, and were a credit to the college all day. They showed excellent dedication and maturity with the amount of preparation that was needed, and every one of them contributed valuably. It was an excellent day, and all the students improved their confidence and public speaking during the experience.”
Pictured are college Principal Justine Barlow, teacher Tom Sampson, and our students with their certificates for participating in the competition.