Coleraine High pupils called to the bar m’lud!

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PUPILS from Coleraine High School will travel to Belfast for their regional heat in the 22nd annual Bar Mock Trial Competition.

They will get a feel for how the bar and more specifically the criminal justice system operates and will be competing for a place in the national final.

Coleraine High will compete against 15 other schools from across Northern Ireland, working on a court case that has been written specially by a barrister.

tudents have been supported by local volunteer barristers who have provided mentoring support throughout; advising on points of law, how best to present the case and court procedure.

Coleraine High is one of over 100 state schools from across the UK taking part, and the top 16 regional winners will meet for the National Final at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on March 23 next year.

he competition aims to expand participants’ understanding of the law, develop their skills of argument and reasoning and widen the knowledge pupils have of a career at the Bar.

he students, who range in age from 15 to 18 years old, have dedicated many weeks to prepare for the heats. They will appear in court as barristers, witnesses, jurors and courtroom staff, and will be judged on the level and detail of case preparation as well as their advocacy skills on the day.

Mrs Anne Bell, principal at Coleraine High School said: “The level of competition just to qualify for the Mock Trials is testament to the value that educators place upon the competition.

“There are few such programs which offer the same level of exposure to a profession, and it is a fantastic lesson in legal education.

The CHS team is being organised by Mr Jonathan Frew and Mr Peter Semple from the History and Politics Department.

They said: “Our Department has obvious ties to the legal profession. We are delighted that we can provide this opportunity for stretch and challenge our students. It is very clear that the skills the students pick up throughout the process are exceptionally valuable, and that they are transferable to so many other aspects of the students’ education.”

The competition is run by the Citizenship Foundation with the support and funding of the Bar Council of England and Wales, the Faculty of Advocates, the Bar Library of Northern Ireland, the Inns of Court and the Circuits.

Michael Todd QC, Chairman of the Bar Council, said: “It is a joy to see the effort and enthusiasm that the students put in, and we hope that some of those who compete will be inspired to look into a career at the Bar in the future.”