Children ‘on trial’ as mock court gives them a taste of the courtroom

Palgrave Primary School children are taking part in the final of the mock trial competition at Ipswi

Palgrave Primary School children are taking part in the final of the mock trial competition at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: PALGRAVE PRIMARY SCHOOL - Credit: Archant

They may seem a little young to be in a courtroom – but these children could show they are the barristers and judges of the future when they take part in a mock trial.

Pupils from Palgrave Primary School, near Diss, and St Mark’s Catholic Primary School in Ipswich have argued their way through to the final of the competition organised by the judiciary and the Ministry of Justice.

In the contest being held at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, March 15, they are set to take part in a fictional case of a bike being stolen from a garden shed in Ipswich.

They will play everyone involved in the case, from the lawyers for the defence and prosecution as well as the judge, police officers, witnesses, court staff such as the clerk and usher and even members of the jury.

The year-five and year-six pupils will be watched by real life judge Rupert Overbury, as well as Ipswich mayor Jane Riley, High Sheriff of Suffolk George Vestey and Bishop of Ipswich, the Rt Rev Martin Seeley.

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Will Munday, teacher at Palgrave Primary School, said of the pupils taking part: “They really enjoyed the first trial they did to get to the final.

“They found out lots about how courts work, wore the robes and wigs for the judge and barristers and they got to have a question and answer session with a real judge.

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“It has also inspired some of them, even at their age, to think about jobs they could do in the legal sector.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said the aim of the competition was to “inspire the future generation of judges, lawyers and magistrates”.

The spokesman added: “The event is part of the court’s community strategy – teaching young people about the criminal justice system.”

Schoolchildren from primary schools across Suffolk are invited to take part in the contest each year.

A trophy is presented to the winning team but all those involved receive a memento.

Scores are given for each performance, with marks awarded for presentation and imagination.

This academic year’s competition got underway in September.

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