Reigning Supreme: student trial honour

16th October 2009 at 01:00
Queen will watch as A-level law candidates stage trial to mark opening of new court

Sixth-form law students from Surrey are to stage a fictional legal case today in front of the Queen and the Prime Minister for the opening ceremony of the Supreme Court.

The group, from Strode's College in Egham, were asked to conduct a moot - a debate on an imaginary case - to mark the "major historical event".

The new Supreme Court represents a constitutional change, separating the legislature and the judiciary and replacing the House of Lords as the highest court in the land.

Earlier this month, 11 Supreme Court judges were sworn in from the House of Lords, nine of whom will provide judgment on the students' moot.

Dr Peter Jepson, head of the law department at Strode's, a 16-19 college and the largest provider of A-level education in north-west Surrey, said the opportunity to perform the case was of enormous significance.

"This is a major historical event involving the House of Lords Judicial Committee being replaced by a newly established Supreme Court," he said.

"For our students to be undertaking a moot at such an historical event is almost unbelievable. It is a tremendous honour."

The opportunity for the students came about after Dr Jepson asked one of the Law Lords to judge an essay-writing competition last year.

This year, the judge was invited to an annual mooting competition, where small teams of students are asked to prepare and present a debate on a legal issue.

According to the college, the judge was so impressed he invited them to visit the Supreme Court when it opened.

But this later became a request to conduct a moot at the opening ceremony.

The 17-year-olds will now be displaying their debating skills and knowledge of case law in front of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prime Minister.

Dr Jepson added: "Many of our successful mooting finalists have gone on to read law at Oxford, Cambridge and other major universities.

`We have always been delighted and proud of their success.

"However, to see 17-year-old law students taking part in such an event is breathtaking.

"This is a reward for the efforts of all students who have taken part in our annual mooting competition over the years."

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