A QE team triumphed in their heat of the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition, beating both fellow Elizabethans acting as prosecutors and a team from another school.
After successfully grappling with a case involving harassment across the two rounds, the defence team amassed enough points to beat all other competing schools and take the top spot. Now both QE teams will take part in a national celebration event in June.
Biology teacher Nadia Kaan, who oversaw the boys’ involvement, said: “This competition is a fun and engaging way to introduce pupils to the law, while also developing skills such as teamwork and oracy.
“Our boys had worked hard since October to prepare, and they duly performed very well on the day. My congratulations go to our defence team on their victory.”
The competition, which is run by the Young Citizens education charity, has been running for over 25 years and is open to 12–14 year-olds from UK state schools. Participants take on the main roles found in a criminal trial – such as prosecutor and defendant – with the cases specially written by legal experts.
Run with the active support of practising magistrates and legal advisors, the competition is usually held within real courthouses, although this year’s event was held online because of the pandemic.
The two QE teams, all drawn from Year 9, found themselves facing each other in their heat after one of the other schools expected to take part pulled out. Defence team ‘lawyer’ Colin Copcea explained that it was only after much deliberation that a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict was returned by the supporting professionals in this round. He paid tribute to the efforts of all QE entrants, whether defenders and prosecutors: “Both teams fought hard to influence the magistrates.”
In the second round, the QE defence team went up against another school, and again secured their desired ‘Not Guilty’ verdict.
Afterwards, QE participants reflect on how much they enjoyed taking part and on the competition’s benefits:
- Vase Pardeepan: “This experience was absolutely incredible, and to be able to compete against other schools and communicate with professional lawyers really helped me understand my personal passion for the career of law.”
- Simi Bloom: “It was interesting to learn more about how legal proceedings work and the justice system. ‘Mock trial’ was a great way to learn to how respond when things don’t go your way, boosting public speaking skills and overall confidence. I think the experience largely encouraged teamwork, too, as well as establishing trust between one another.”
- Adam Liang: “Of the many other clubs and competitions that I have attended, this one was by far the best. Thank you for this amazing experience!”
- Adithya Raghuraman: “Despite perhaps not playing a very important role on my team, I still greatly enjoyed being a part of the whole experience, from attending on Wednesdays when the club began and auditioning for different parts, all the way to helping out with different things on the day of the competition itself. It has made me realise that I have a passion for law, and perhaps may pursue it in the future.”
- Vidyuth Shankar: “Personally, I found the mock trial competition quite refreshing. It encouraged us to work as a team and creatively and intuitively work out the best angles to a problem. I found performing my speech exciting and enjoyed working in a team.”
The other QE competitors were: Samhith Aggana; Devansh Jha; Muhamad Mohamed; Soham Kale; Daniel Moon; Sai Murarishetty; Daksh Vinnakota; Ash Iyer and Adokshaj Magge.