Students Compete in 2018 Mock Trial Competition
Two teams from Santa Maria College are competing in this year’s WA Law Society annual Mock Trial Competition. We have a development team (SMC Nova), composed of girls who have not competed before, and an experienced team (SMC Primus).
The Competition has been a long running feature of legal education in Western Australia and has gone from strength to strength. Each year more teams enter and compete in mock trials. There are 53 schools with over 120 teams competing in the 2018 competition.
Trials are either civil cases or criminal cases. Our teams represent either the defendant or the plaintiff / prosecution. We prepare for each trial through a number of pre-trial coaching sessions with the assistance of Mrs Anne Durack, a practicing barrister who kindly volunteers her time and expertise. Mrs Durack helps the girls understand the case and the law and prepare their arguments and questions.
On the evening of a trial we travel to the Supreme Court. The trials are conducted in the actual courtrooms of the State’s highest court, which is fantastic experience for our girls. There we meet the opposing team in a courtroom and settle into the roles. There is quite a lot of preparation and hushed last minute strategising. There are two barristers supported by a solicitor, two witnesses, a court orderly and a judge’s associate. The judge is a practicing legal professional.
The girls must be well prepared but also able to get into character and to adapt their case to meet the opposing party’s strategy. Witnesses need to be able to think quickly in response to cross-examination questions. Barristers need to speak confidently, object to questions, argue their objections, develop a line of reasoning and deliver statements to the court. Court orderlies and judge’s associates help with court procedures.
The Mock Trial Competition is a great opportunity for students interested in the law, courts and justice. It develops confidence, strong reasoning, public speaking and role-playing skills. Our girls meet other students and engage in friendly competition in a fantastic setting. They work with legal professionals and deal with the types of issues that are frequently before our courts.
Mock Trial is a co-curricular activity run by the Humanities and Social Sciences Department in support of its Civics and Citizenship and upper school Politics and Law courses. It is open to students of the Year 10 Politics elective and Year 11 and 12 Politics and Law students each year. Other students can participate if numbers permit.