As part of our British Values curriculum, a second group of year 8 boys visited the Royal Courts of Justice. Walking into the cathedral style Great Hall was a spectacular introduction and to see the judges, barristers and clients going about their business really demonstrated that we were at the heart of criminal and civil law. It was lovely to bump into an old boy within a minute who is currently a human rights solicitor. We were taken to an empty courtroom and had a fascinating talk on criminal and civil law, practical cases and how the appeal system worked. The questions the boys asked showed many were really interested in law and wanted to know more.
Our mock trial was a real case of knife crime. Boys played the roles as judge, court usher and clerk, defence and prosecution barristers and solicitors (wigs and all), witnesses, the defendant and, of course, the jury.
There had been preparation by all involved and the barristers and solicitors had certainly done homework given the list of questions they had brought for their case. As ever the boys loved playing parts in the trial even if the ‘not guilty’ verdict was the opposite of what happened in the real case.
The Royal Courts of Justice Education centre really do an excellent job and as an opportunity for boys to understand how the law works and even hone a possible interest in the legal profession in the future, it is unique.
We take our third and final group of Year 8s next term.