The Royal Latin School, The Buckingham School and Sir Thomas Freemantle School were among seven local schools appearing in front of magistrates at Milton Keynes magistrates’ Court in March.
But don’t despair for the youth of today – the studentstaking part in the first heat of the 2016 Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition, run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Magistrates’ Association.
Sir Thomas Fremantle School won the first heat, and go through to the regional finals at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court in May. These are followed by the prestigious national final at the Royal Courts of Justice in June.
The competition involves groups of 12 to 14-year-olds taking on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates, court staff and defendant. This year the students enacted a specially written case in which the defendant stood accused of Assault by Beating.
The contest enables students to learn about all aspects of the criminal justice system and develop confidence in skills such as public speaking working as a team.
Local magistrates, law students and other legal professionals help the teams prepare by giving them information on the everyday workings of magistrates’ courts and hosting court visits.
Students may also take part in the Court Reporter and Court Artist competitions.