Charlotte Hunt and Nathan Taylor-Allkins, based in Woodfines’ Crime and Regulatory department in Milton Keynes, attended Walton High School in Milton Keynes earlier this month to support a team of Year 11, 12 and 13 students in the school’s annual participation in the Bar National Mock Trial Competition held at Oxford Crown Court on Saturday 12 November 2016.
The Bar National Mock Trial Competition has just celebrated a milestone anniversary with 2016 being the 25th year of running the competition. It is run by the Citizenship Foundation and in the last 25 years, over 53,000 students across the country have taken part in the competition.
The competition involves teams of students from different schools going head to head in a criminal mock trial taking on the roles of barristers, defendants, witnesses, court staff and jurors with one team acting as the prosecution and the other as the defence. The criminal mock trials are held in Crown Courts across the country with the final being held at the Old Bailey in London and are judged by Circuit Judges, Recorders and senior barristers or advocates.
Charlotte and Nathan spent time mentoring the Walton High team in preparing two specifically written criminal cases. They worked with the students to develop their advocacy techniques, ensuring the right questions were put to witnesses, providing guidance on court etiquette, advising on the technicalities of the law, in particular the burden of proof and helping to consider the witness statements of the cases, to develop both the prosecution and defence cases.
The Walton High team were incredibly enthusiastic and rigorous when preparing the cases and showed a great deal of dedication to the competition and their assigned roles which shone through as they prepared their cases alongside their day to day studies and school activities.
With the students having had an insight into the legal system and a taste of the work undertaken by lawyers, Charlotte and Nathan hope it gave the students a desire and passion for the law to pursue a career in law and one day become lawyers themselves. Charlotte and Nathan were thoroughly impressed with the students’ attitude and aptitude in the preparation of the cases and are grateful to all those involved, especially Ms McLean for her organisation of the event.
With Walton High’s participation in the competition again being such a success, Charlotte and Nathan look forward to acting as mentors assisting the school in next year’s competition, which no doubt will be just as successful thanks to the dedication of the students and teachers at Walton High School.