Fun for all at Mock Trial competitions
Mock trial competitions give secondary school students an insight into the workings of the legal system.
(1) The National Mock Trial competition
The annual National Mock Trial Competition, which started in 1999, is organised every year by Public Access to Law (PAL). Supported by the Courts Service the national competition offers transition year students an opportunity to gain an inside view of how our legal system works. The idea is that students assume the roles of solicitors, barristers, jurors, witnesses and court reporters to form a team to compete with other schools in a mock court case. PAL is Ireland's nominating body which nominates four schools to participate in the 'World Cup' of mock trials held in New York every year.
Each school team consists of a squad of 16 students - 6 jurors, 1 court registrar, 4 witnesses, 1 solicitor, 2 barristers, 1 legal reporter and 1 television reporter. A practising barrister or solicitor is assigned to each team to act as a reference point for the team in the cases to be tried in the Competition. They also advise on general law, procedure and court etiquette.
In addition to the Mock Trial competition, students can participate in four additional individual competitions:
Legal Reporter Competition
This competition affords the competitors to test their skills as newspaper reporters. One team member watches the first cases of the morning and then writes a news report of the type that might appear in a quality newspaper. The report is handed into the event organisers at the information desk in the Criminal Courts of Justice. The event is judged by a leading journalist.
Television Reporter Competition
For those who would like the thrill of appearing before a television camera this competition is a must. One team member watches the first case of the morning and then gives a main summary of the case before a recording camera in the form of a legal report. The report should be of a maximum duration of 100 seconds. The event is judged by an experienced media practitioner.
The art brief is to capture the characters/mood of the competition day or a mock trial court hearing. Participants are encouraged to submit a caption with their entry and/or a short sentence describing their art entry.
Photograph to capture the characters/mood of the competition day or a mock trial court hearing. Participants are encouraged to submit a caption with their entry and/or a short sentence describing their photo.
Mr. Vincent P. Martin, B.L., Director of Public Access to Law, Law Library, Four Courts, Dublin 7. Tel: 087 2312105. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.palddp.ie/
(2) The All Ireland Mock Trial Competition
The All Ireland Mock Trial Competition is organised and coordinated by James T. Fahy, B.L, through the Law Education for Schools programme and follows a similar format to the National Mock Trial Competition.
Mr. James T. Fahy, B.L., Law Education for Schools. Website: http://www.laweducationforschools.com/
(3) Conduct a mock trial in your own classroom
Teachers - for information see our Let's Look at the Law module