A team of lawyers-to-be from Birkenhead Sixth Form College have reached the national final of the Bar Mock Trial competition for the second year running.
The competition tests A Level Law students’ skills as barristers in front of real judges and in real courts, and the College team’s success comes after a superb performance at Liverpool Crown Court against a host of teams from other schools in the region. They now head for the Grand Final at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in April with 24 other teams out of thousands of entries.
"The team really were outstanding and this is nothing more than they deserve after putting in hours of work in and out of College time.” - Alex Earley, first year Law student
Run by the Citizenship Foundation, and now in its 25th year, nearly 55,000 students have taken part in the Bar Mock Trial since it began, including the College’s 2016 team who put in a stellar performance at the iconic Old Bailey in their national final appearance last year.
The team’s path to the final has not been all plain sailing, however, and their place in London only came about thanks to the eagle-eyed analytical skills of one of our barristers-in-training.
The regional competition at Liverpool Crown Court in November actually ended in disappointment for our legal line-up, with the team narrowly missing out on victory and a place at the Royal Courts of Justice.
First year Law student, Alex Earley, took some time to read the post-event report that was sent through to Head of Law, Paula Blakemore, and spotted a crucial error.
Alex said: “I was just looking through all the individual marks and I noticed that one of our barristers only had two marks, where there should have been three like everyone else. We worked out that, based on the other two marks that she had, if the third was added as it should have been, we would have had the highest score in the competition and made the final.”
On appealing to the Citizenship Foundation, they granted our Law students their victory and their rightful place among the country’s best young mock barristers.
Alex, who is aiming to study Law after his A Levels, said: “What I did in spotting the mistake was nothing compared to what they team did at Liverpool Crown Court. They really were outstanding and this is nothing more than they deserve after putting in hours of work in and out of College time.”
Head of Law, Paula Blakemore, said: “The students put in such a strong performance in November and I was genuinely surprised that they didn’t make it through at first. It was a disappointment but also a great learning experience, and we were preparing to organise some more events with local schools so the students could carry on their superb work.
“They’ve got the place they warranted in the end, though. A huge well done to everyone involved, and a special mention for Alex for being scrupulous in his attention to detail. Now for the final in London!”