The Citizenship Foundation, in partnership with the Bar Council of Northern Ireland, held its 24th National Mock Trial Competition on Saturday 28th November 2015 at the Royal Courts of Justice, Belfast and fifteen pupils from Victoria College Belfast took part.
Students from across Northern Ireland took on the roles of barristers and witnesses, with one team prosecuting and the other defending, judged by senior members of the Bar and serving judges. Each team also consisted of a court clerk, an usher, and jury members.
Pupils from Victoria College had been preparing and practicing for several months leading up to the competition, with support from their barrister mentors, Ms Fiona Kennedy and Mr Francis Rafferty. Each student barrister and witness had to prepare to prosecute and defend their case, conditional on the draw which was chosen on the day of the competition. The pupils spent hours learning opening and closing speeches, statements and preparing chief examination and cross examination questions. This experience not only enabled the pupils to develop an understanding of the Law, but also enhanced their self-confidence and leadership capacities.
Speaking on behalf of the Bar Council chairman Gerald McAlinden QC said:
“The Bar Council is delighted to support the 24th Bar National Mock Trial Competition and each year, we look forward to welcoming the students to the High Court.”
“We are dedicated to providing young people with an exciting and novel insight into the workings of the Northern Ireland legal system. They learn more about their legal rights and responsibilities through the process and I want to publically acknowledge the barristers and judges who volunteer their time each year to work with these young people in bringing the legal system to life. Again congratulations to all the pupils who took part.”