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14 March, 2006

The Common Serjeant of London Judge Brian Barker announces Kesteven and Grantham Girls School nation

The Bar National Mock Trial Competition reached its climax at the Old Bailey on Saturday, when Kesteven and Grantham Girls School, took first prize in the 15th year of the prestigious Bar National Mock Trial Competition, organised by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Bar Council. Wimslow High School from Cheshire were runners up.

The Kesteven and Grantham Girls School team beat off competition from fifteen other schools from around the UK, who had also made it through to Saturday’s final from the regional heats.

Carolina Bracken, and Charlotte Porter from the winning team said “It’s great to say you have prosecuted a case at the Old Bailey, we didn’t realise how much we would enjoy the competition until we took part”. Rebecca Steele who had taken on the role of the defendant said it had made her confidence “go skyhigh”.

Among the judges at the final was Stephen Hockman QC, Chairman of the Bar Council, who commented: ‘The Mock Trial Competition is extremely well organised and a valuable opportunity for young people to gain an understanding of the law. The participants have worked extremely hard and performed to such a standard that I can see some star advocates of the future among the competitors’.

The competition is one of very few active learning competitions in existence for 15 - 18 year olds and provides an interactive way of delivering the citizenship curriculum. Students take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, jury and court staff in a fictional criminal case designed to provide an understanding of the legal system and their rights and responsibilities. One of the cases this year looked at protecting your home with reasonable force.

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Notes for editors:

The Bar National Mock Trial Competition is aimed 15-18 year olds and seeks to introduce the legal system to young people in an innovative and exciting way giving them the opportunity to gain hands on experience. The competition is entering its fifteenth successful year and involves young people from schools throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Every year over 2000 students, 200 barristers/advocates and 90 judges are involved.

The competition is funded by the General Council of the Bar together with the General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland; the Faculty of Advocates; the Inns of Court and the Circuits, and is organised by the Citizenship Foundation. The competition is also greatly assisted by the Department for Constitutional Affairs through the provision of Crown Courts and court staff.

The Citizenship Foundation is an independent charity (no. 801360) working throughout the UK and overseas to promote more effective citizenship through education about the law, democracy and society. Founded in 1989, it aims to empower people, particularly the young and disadvantaged, with the knowledge, skills and understanding to engage positively with their communities. www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

The Bar Council is the regulatory and representative body for barristers in England and Wales: www.barcouncil.org.uk; www.legaleducation.org.uk.

The Bar Council of Northern Ireland is the regulatory and representative body for barristers in Northern Ireland: www.barcouncil-ni.org.uk

The Grand Final was judged by the the Common Serjeant of London, Judge Brian Barker.

The 16 finalist schools were:

St Patrick’s Academy;Stratford Upon Avon Girl’s Grammar School;Judd School;Ysgol Tre-Gib;Sir John Leman High School;Wilmslow High School;

Kyle Academy;Greenhead College;Caldat Grange Grammar School;

Langley Park School for Boys;

St Michael’s RC School;

Kesteven and Grantham Girl’s School;

Waingels College;

Queen Elizabeth’s Community College; and Queen Elizabeth School.

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