25 April 2016

Image of Law Students Excel in Bar Mock Trial National Final

The Sixth Form College’s Bar Mock Trial National Final competitors returned from the Old Bailey having done themselves proud and gained invaluable experience for their summer exams and their personal futures.

Although the team didn’t make the final two, each Law student made an incredible effort in London, which was the culmination of all their hard work since winning the regional competition in December.

The Bar Mock Trial, which is run by the Citizenship Foundation, is celebrating its 25th anniversary and has seen over 2,000 students, 300 barristers and 90 judges from all four home nations involved in the competition this year alone. In December, our team of ‘barristers’ beat opponents from selective and grammar schools across the region to win the Chester heat of the contest. They then joined 17 other regional victors at the Central Criminal Court of England, better known as the Old Bailey.

Head of Law, Paula Blakemore, said: “I couldn’t be more proud of my team, who were competing against the best in the UK.”

Former solicitor, Paula, added: “This is a superb addition to all the students’ CVs. It sets them apart from all other Law students and it’s a catalyst for a career at the Bar. If people want to become barristers these days, one of the first questions they’ll be asked is if they did the Bar Mock Trial. The whole experience stands them all in extremely good stead.”

Indeed, more students went on to study Law from The Sixth Form College than any other Wirral school last year, and it was the most popular choice of any degree course for our 2015 leavers.

A Level Law student and team member, Emma Donnelly, who joined the college from Woodchurch High School, described how she benefitted from the experience, and that their barrister mentor, Richard Gray of Elysium Law and Law Mentor of the Year, added to the solid legal foundations that the team have been taught in class.

Barrister and mentor, Rick Gray, gives the team a final pep talk


Emma said: “Even though we didn’t win, I don’t think any of us minded because we all loved it so much. Everything went to plan. All our teams came out smiling and feeling confident after their turns.

“We’ve all learned advocacy skills that just wouldn’t be possible in any other situation. Our mentor, Rick (Gray), has taught us so much about how to present evidence and the role of a barrister.”

The experience has also helped Emma, who studies Psychology and Sociology alongside Law, with an important career decision ahead of her impending A Level exams:

“Even though it was an amazing experience, it’s made my mind up that I’d rather be a solicitor than a barrister. I loved being in court but I don’t think I could handle that pressure or the uncertainty every day. I’ve applied to study Law at university and I’m looking at apprenticeships too but I’m definitely set on becoming a solicitor now.”

First year and fellow team member, Carl Kelly, has other plans, however.

Carl joined us from the Mosslands School, Wallasey, and said: “I was a bit torn between wanting to be a barrister or a solicitor and it’s definitely pushed me towards the Bar. I like standing up, speaking to people and presenting so I’d rather not be behind a desk. I love the pressure of it all.”

Law, Government & Politics, Business Studies and Economics student, Carl, continued: “It was horribly nerve-wracking but definitely worth it in the end. As much as there’s been a lot of time dedicated to doing it, what we’ve gained from learning to present and apply the law is absolutely paramount. The experience will definitely help with our exams.”

If the prestige of getting to the final wasn’t enough, the setting for their barristerial turns was as awe-inspiring as it comes for budding lawyers.

Carl explained: “We had a tour of the Old Bailey to start and we ended up giving our case in the same court that Peter Sutcliffe was tried in. The building is enormous too, which you never really see on TV. When I stood outside and saw the Lady Justice statue on top of the dome, it seemed unreal”

The Dalraida School of Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland came out eventual winners of the competition.

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Bar Mock Trial National Final April 2016

Tags: Law Bar Mock Trial

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