Young people to fight it out in court, for competition

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Young people will fight in court on Saturday, but it will all be for good as they take part in the 2014 Magistrates Court Mock Trial Competition.

Groups of 12-14 year olds will take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates, court staff and a defendant in the 20th annual competition, which is run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Magistrates’ Association.

The students will enact a specially written case in which the defendant stands accused of dishonestly receiving a stolen bicycle.

The competition will enable students to learn about all aspects of the criminal justice system - the law, procedures, consequences and the staff – and develop confidence in personal skills such as public speaking, analysis techniques and working as a team.

Local magistrates will help the teams prepare by giving information on the everyday workings of magistrates’ courts and hosting court visits. Students also have the chance to take part in the court reporter and court artist competitions.

The Milton Keynes’ local heat will host eight schools, on March 8, including students from Milton Keynes, Buckingham and Leighton Buzzard. 63 heats are taking place nationwide over the next three weeks, followed regional finals in May before the prestigious national final at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court in June 2014.

A teacher whose school entered last year’s competition said: “This is an excellent opportunity for students to participate in a completely realistic legal scenario. It is challenging and stimulating and I know that our students gained a lot of knowledge, confidence and enjoyment from taking part.”