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23 February, 2007

5,000 12-14 year olds to go to Court!

From 24th of February to 17th of March, more than 5,000 students will be competing in the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Magistrates’ Association, with nearly 70 heats taking place around England Wales and Northern Ireland.

The competition will see teams from more than 350 schools compete against each other, as students from years 8 and 9 take on the roles of magistrates, lawyers, defendants, witnesses and court staff to simulate carefully designed cases, this year examining animal rights and the responsibility of care. Teams will compete as either the prosecution or the defence against students from other schools. They will be judged on their performances by real magistrates and legal professionals.

Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation said “Over 95% of criminals cases are dealt with by magistrates, yet very few people know enough about their vital role. The Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition offers young people a hands-on introduction to the legal system and the role of magistrates' courts in local justice and how laws are administered.”

Tom (13), from Valley Gardens school, added “it has been one of the best learning experiences I’ve had. Although daunting at first, it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience and you learn a lot. It’s great.”

Winning teams will get the chance to take part in the National Final at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court in June.

Further information

To find out more please email:

Notes for editors:

1. Information on heat locations, copies of the case, images and spokespeople available.

2. About the Citizenship Foundation

The Citizenship Foundation is an independent charity (no.801360) which aims to empower individuals to engage in the wider community through education about the law, democracy and society, Founded in 1989, it focuses on developing young people’s citizenship skills, knowledge and understanding. Its work includes resources, training, active learning programmes, community projects and research. www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

3. About the Competition

Now in its 14th successful year, the Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition is run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Magistrates’ Association and is funded by the Department for Constitutional Affairs and Wilkinson. Each year the competition it involves thousands of young people throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 800 magistrates and other legal professionals. It is open to all state funded secondary schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk/mmt

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