On 11 November 2017 a number of barristers from Red Lion Chambers took part in and ran the South of England Regional Heat of the Bar Mock Trial competition run by the Citizenship Foundation. Red Lion Chambers sponsored this heat, which was one of 18 taking place around the country as the Citizenship Foundation promote access to the law to sixth form students from diverse backgrounds.
Seven teams of young students from schools across the South West competed in a series of Crown Court ‘trials’ for theft and grievous bodily harm, complete with wigs, gowns, live witnesses, juries and teams of ushers and court staff.
Michael Goodwin organised the heat as Regional Coordinator. Each team was supported by a barrister from chambers, who visited the school to teach the class in the run up to the competition. We assisted the students prepare for the oral advocacy as well as inform them about the criminal justice system and life as a barrister. Tim Kiely, Allison Clare, Nina Tavakoli, Jane Bewsey QC, Zoe Chapman and Francesca Kirby all acted as mentors and attended on the big day to support their teams.
Chambers aslo provided two judges for the competition. Jeremy Benson QC and Sailesh Mehta ran and judged the first three rounds of the heat in Courts 3 and 4 . The final was judged by the Recorder of Guildford His Honour Judge Fraser.
The teams, having been steered through the rudiments of performing in court displayed an impressive grasp of the foundations of advocacy.
The final was held in the nail-biting atmosphere of Court Room 1, with Tim Kiley’s team winning the heat and going through to the National Final.
“As the designated coach for Bishop Luffa School in Chichester I am proud to say that my team eventually took home the shield after a gruelling, close-fought contest. It is an edifying moment when a team which you have seen absorb the lessons of their previous trials push steadily on, raising their game as they go, until the prize is theirs.” Tim Kiley.