Please see below for some frequently asked questions:
How do I sign-up, and access the competition resources?
Once you apply and pay the entry fee, you will be able to access your resources through your SmartLaw account – https://smartlaw.org.uk/my-account/. Please see our instructional video for more help with this:
Do you have any tips to help me recruit students for a mock trial team?
- Register your interest for the competition and use the Running a Mock Trial classroom pack that you receive with your classes so they are aware of what is involved.
- Run a school assembly – use the themes of the case as a hook.
- Diversify where you are looking for students e.g. drama students may enjoy playing the role of witnesses which can be a great role for budding actors.
- Use an enrichment days/life education days to explore the rule of law and what happens in a courtroom.
We are more than happy to discuss how to promote legal education in your school; call or email us to discuss approaches further.
Can I have a student in my team who is older/younger than the prescribed age range?
If your student is 14 years old, they are allowed to compete as this does not pose an advantage in terms of academic years. If a student is 19 years old we think this poses an unfair advantage. We will, however, consider this on a case-by-case basis so if you are worried about the age of students on your team, email us and we can discuss your situation.
What do we do if we have a team of less/more than 15 students?
Schools can have a minimum of 8 students to take part in the competition. For this to work, team members will need to double up on roles. This will require additional preparation on behalf of your remaining team. As you will not be prosecuting and defending at the same time students who are in the prosecution team can also have roles in the defence team. If you want to discuss the best way to configure your team, email us.
You can have up to two additional students on your team to act as reserves but due to court capacity we ask you to limit your team to a maximum of 17 students (18 in Scotland).
Why haven’t we been allocated a barrister mentor or student mentor?
We cannot guarantee all schools will be assigned a barrister mentor. We have a limited pool of volunteers who can help and we try to prioritise schools new to the competition. Some of our schools use school community or alumni networks to contact barristers or lawyers in the area and ask for help from them. If you have not received a barrister mentor and need additional support let us know and we can support you.
We have been allocated a barrister mentor but why haven’t we heard from them yet?
Please persist in trying to make contact and if you still do not receive a response, contact us and we will reach out to them on your behalf.
When will we know the draw for the regional heat?
The draw will inform you if you will be acting as prosecution or defence for each of the cases. This will be uploaded to your SmartLaw account by the Wednesday before your regional heat although please note that this is indicative only and changes can occur right up to the day of the heat.
What do jurors do in the competition?
Jurors play a vital role in a criminal trial. It is a juror’s duty to weigh up the evidence presented and to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not. The judge gives the direction to the jury on the relevant law which the jury has to apply to the facts of the case in order to reach a verdict. Jurors in the competition will take part in a trial between two different schools in another courtroom to their classmates. They will find out what court they are in when the draw and jury rota has been released. They must listen to the evidence presented and decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. After deliberation, a ‘foreperson’ will be elected to convey the verdict to the rest of the court. For more information on the role, please refer to the Juror’s Guide.
What should students wear on the day of the heat?
Students can either wear school uniform or court attire – this means formal wear. It is not necessary for witnesses to dress according to their character though some teams may choose to do so. What students wear will have no bearing on scoring.
Will wigs and gowns be provided on the day?
Wigs and gowns may be available in some heats during the competition. This varies by court location and the amount of schools in a heat. If you have your own wigs and gowns feel free to bring them along, but keep in mind that if the opposing team does not have wigs and gowns you will not be permitted to wear them for that trial.
Please see terms and conditions for further details.