Legal procedure runs a mock

Contest that urges pupils to know the law reaches the Old Bailey. Elizabeth Buie reports

Pupils from Mackie Academy in Stonehaven are heading for the Old Bailey after winning the Scottish heat of the Bar National Mock Trial competition, held at the High Court in Glasgow.

The event is run by the Citizenship Foundation and sponsored in Scotland by the Faculty of Advocates.

It aims to expand understanding of the law and develop young people's skills of argument and reasoning. Every year more than 2,500 Standard grade, Higher and Advanced Higher-level students from state schools across the UK compete in the 16 regional heats of the competition.

Kenneth Campbell QC, a member of the Bar National Mock Trial working party, said: "It is an opportunity for us to show the school teams what we do, and for them to understand better the important work that goes on behind the scenes as well as in court."

Teams of students aged 15-18 appear in court as advocates, witnesses, jurors and courtroom staff and present two specially-written court cases.

Real judges preside over the trials and select the winners, and advocate volunteers, who practise locally to the schools, provide advice to the students on points of law and court procedure to ensure realistic proceedings. Lady Stacey, a High Court judge, scored the final round of the heat between Mackie Academy and the runner-up, Dunblane High.

Mackie Academy will now compete for the coveted first place in the national final on 24 March.

- The other schools in the Scottish heat were: Dunblane High; Queen Anne High in Dunfermline; Hyndland Secondary, Glasgow; Glenrothes High; Cleveden Secondary, Glasgow; Greenfaulds High, Cumbernauld; Kelso High; Strathhaven Academy; St Mungo's Academy, Glasgow; and Bannerman High, Glasgow.

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