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News > General News > Club Focus: Bar Mock Trial

Club Focus: Bar Mock Trial

Mock trial club goes from strength to strength after break during pandemic
26 May 2023
Written by Claire Bunting
General News
2023 Mock Trial Team
2023 Mock Trial Team

What is Bar Mock Trial?

The Bar Mock Trial club at Campbell runs from September to February and is for students in Years 11-14.

Bar Mock Trial is a competition organised by the UK Charity Young Citizens and has been available in schools since 1989. Young Citizens aims to enable and encourage young people across the UK to actively participate in and make a positive difference to the societies in which they live. Mock Trial was designed to provide an experience that helps develop the legal capability of young people and support their understanding of how the law touches every aspect of their life. 

Each year two fictitious cases are released to schools, the aim being that schools' Mock Trial teams work through the preparation and present their defence and prosecution against each other, in a Crown Court, in front of a real judge. The team must read through the witness statements, analyse the evidence, and then agree which role they wish to take from the following:

  • Prosecution Barrister
  • Defence Barrister
  • Prosecution Witness 
  • Defence Witnesses
  • Court Reporter/ Artist
  • Defendant
  • Juror
  • Usher

Together the teams read and build up the case, learn how to write opening and closing speeches, draft questions for cross examination of witnesses, listen actively to the evidence presented and take notes - just as would take place in a real trial. Young Citizens provides resources to help teachers and students to guide them on the processes, the approach to take and what to expect on the day of the competition.

Bar Mock Trial Competition 2023

On January 28th, 18 boys travelled to the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast to represent Campbell at the Northern Ireland Crown Courts Bar Mock Trial Competition. All of the boys worked tirelessly for several months, after school and during their lunch breaks. With the expert guidance of history teacher Mrs. Jan Hempstead and supervision of classroom assistants Aaron Wilson and Anna Bunting, they were assigned and prepared for their roles as court clerk, ushers, barristers and witnesses, with some boys stepping in to fill multiple roles. Each witness worked with two pairs of barristers on one of two cases provided to the school by Young Citizens. The Campbell barristers prepared impressive opening and closing statements, cross-examinations, and “friendly” questions for each witness, who in turn learned their statements by heart and endeavoured to fully inhabit their characters while under the scrutiny of the prosecution.

The boys performed to an impressive standard, and displayed their skills in persuasive writing, speech and acting throughout the three rounds of the competition. Campbell also stepped in as a substitute team, competing in double the required amount of trials, as there was a need for an extra team in each round. In rounds where they were not competing, some boys got the opportunity to be jury members in other schools’ trials, and delivered verdicts at the end based on observations they delivered to the courtroom. Each trial was presided over by one of the volunteer judges from the Belfast area, who guided each team through the court proceedings and delivered valuable advice to each participant at the end. This year CCB did not win the overall competition but won over the jury in five out of their six cases. Finalists would go through to the national final in the Old Bailey in London, so there was great disappointment not to have made it through.

The boys who competed and their roles were:

Barristers: Tim, Year 12 (Allison's), Memo, Year 12 (School); Edward, Year 12 (Allison's) Bertie, Year 12 (Price's); Niall, Year 13 (Dobbin's); Bertie, Year 13 (School); Robbie, Year 13 (Allison's); Dylan, Year 13 (Dobbin's); Asher Year 14, (Yates's)

Witnesses: Bertie Year 12 (Price's), William, Year 12 (Alden's) Ollie, Year 12 (Dobbin's); Oliver, Year 12 (Dobbin's); Tim, Year 12 (Allison's); Kaidan, Year 12 (Yates's), Alfie, Year 13 (Price's); Scott, Year 13 (Dobbin's)

Clerk: Reuben, Year 13 (Yates's)

Usher: Nathaniel, Year 13 (School)


Senior Bar Mock House Competition

House Bar Mock for our Senior Boys took place in March, allowing even more of the students to get involved in the debating society. The students who had attended the day out at the Royal Courts of Justice took charge and led their Houses by preparing them to be barristers and witnesses in their own Bar Mock event. The boys took the lead with great enthusiasm, staging spirited debates and keen cross-examinations, with many KS3 boys filling in as ushers and members of the Jury.

The winner of the senior event will be revealed later in the term. Next on the agenda for the debating society is to run a Key Stage 3 House Bar Mock.


Find out more

If you are interested in joining or learning more about Mock Trial at Campbell, please contact Mrs. Hempstead. You can also find out more on the Young Citizens webpage. 

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