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22 June, 2005

School pupils to try chinchilla smuggler

Chinchilla smuggling and common assault are the offences to be contested in this year's Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition finals.

Magistrates' Court Mock Trial Competition logo.

The competition, in which teams of 12-14 year olds adopt the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates and court staff, aims to introduce young people to the legal system in an innovative and exciting way. It is an engaging tool for exploring specific legal issues using active learning, and enables teachers to deliver key elements of the citizenship curriculum.

Over 4,500 young people competed this year in what is one of only a few active learning legal competitions in the UK.

Finalists will have to contest cases on chichilla smuggling or common assault, while being judged by real magistrates and legal professionals.

“The enthusiasm and understanding the young people show for the Mock Trials is inspiring," said Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation.

"But more importantly, the skills that they take away - including analysis, communication and team work, as well as a sense of achievement from the whole process - cannot be underestimated.”

The competition is organised by the Citizenship Foundation, in partnership with the Magistrates’ Association and local magistrates and court staff. It is funded by the Department for Constitutional Affairs and Wilkinson, and prizes are donated by educational publisher, Hodder Murray.


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