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SmartLaw is a programme from Young Citizens.

Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition (12-14yo)

The Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition has been running since 1994 and annually involves over 4,000 students from over 270 schools and 1,700 legal professional volunteers across over 40 magistrates’ courts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition is part of the Young Citizens ‘citizenship experiences’ and helps to improve young people’s life skills, their understanding of the justice system and the legal system, and helps them to understand that the law touches every aspect of their lives.

Students from non-fee-paying schools, they must be in years 8-9 in England and Wales or years 9-10 in Northern Ireland.

The students take on the various roles in a trial and try a case against another school with the assistance of real life magistrates, legal advisers, court staff and other legal professionals.

Across the UK at one of the 40+ Magistrates’ Courts involved in the competition.

The Competition introduces the legal system to young people in an exciting way that has a lasting impact on all those involved, while developing student’s soft skills that will be of use throughout their lives.


  • March – Local Heats
  • May – Regional Heats
  • June – The National Final

Please note: the competition takes place on Saturdays when the courts are not in use.

The cost to enter the competition for one team is £155, for two teams the cost is £205. Your application is not complete until the entry fee is paid.

To register for the competition you will need to set up an account here before you can access the application form at the link below. If you already have an account you will need to sign into your account before you apply for the competition.

Applications are now closed and will reopen in September.


Please see the terms and conditions for further details.

If your usual court is not up on the form yet it may be that we are still awaiting confirmation from them, please check back in a few days or email

The withdrawal deadline for this competition is 15th December. If you withdraw before 15th December you will get your entry fee refunded minus a £5 administration fee. If you withdraw after the deadline we will be unable to refund your entry fee. 

If you have any questions visit our FAQs page or Contact Us

Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition Leaflet

Student participant, Witness, Ranelagh School:

‘I was a witness and I really enjoyed learning my script to be asked questions about it by the opposite half of our team’s lawyer. She was very good at being intimidating and thinking on her feet so I had to really up my game to match her skills. I think I rose to the challenge and I think that this experience has been great for my public speaking and my confidence as I am not naturally a particularly outgoing person but the others on the team are. Overall, this has been great fun and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.’

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