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 Smart Law account – https://smartlaw.org.uk/my-account/. Please see our instructional video for more help with this:
When and how do I find out if my application to take part was successful or not?
The Mock Trials Team will be in touch via email in October to inform you of whether or not you have been successful in securing a place in the competition. If you have not received an email by then, please get in touch to enquire about your application.
Can I have a student in my team who is older/younger than the prescribed age range?
If your student is 11 years old, they are allowed to compete as this does not pose an advantage in terms of academic years. If a student is 15 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.
How much time do we need to spend preparing for the competition?
We find most teachers spend around 15-20 hours with the students in order to prepare. However, we encourage the students to undertake independent learning where possible e.g. learning speeches at home. You will receive a Schools’ Guide along with the case which goes through a suggested method of preparation and outlines different workshop activities you could use to prepare.
Do you have any tips to help me recruit students for a school 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 can be a great role for budding actors.
- Use an enrichment days/life education days to explore criminal 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.
Why haven’t we been allocated a liaison magistrate or been on a court visit?
We cannot guarantee all schools will be assigned a liaison magistrate or be able to have a court visit. In the first instance, email your local organiser to try and arrange a visit and they will be able to let you know what is on offer in your local area.
We have the details of our local organiser 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.
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.
Can students take notes into the trial?
Student may take some notes into the trial but should not read excessively from notes or speak from memorised scripts because they will lose marks. The judges will award more marks for spontaneity.
How many guests can we take to the heats?
We ask schools to keep guests to a minimum for security reasons. If we are not informed of the names of any guests then they may not be able to enter the court on the day of the heat. It is best to check with your local organiser if you are intending to bring guests.
How long does the heat last?
The heat will generally run from 9:15 to 14:00 though your local organiser will send you more information regarding this, if you do not know who your local organiser is then please contact the Mock Trials Team.
Is lunch provided?
Only certain courts that have the facilities to cater for the schools, information will be given in due course regarding each individual heat by your local organiser.
Will there be parking available at the local heat?
Your local organiser will send you any information you will need regarding this
Please see terms and conditions for further details.