Students from Steiner Academy Hereford, who received mentoring support from a Birmingham barrister, were crowned runners-up at the UK finals of the Citizenship Foundation’s Bar Mock Trial Competition.
Winners from the UK regional heats gathered in Edinburgh to contest the final.
During the event, teams from eighteen schools competed in three rounds in order to determine the two schools that would go head to head in the grand final.
Steiner Academy, one of the youngest teams in the competition, faced Wirral Grammar School in the deciding round.
Three senior judges presided over the competition: Lord Justice Leveson, representing England and Wales, Lady Rae, representing Scotland, and Mr Mark Mulholland QC from Northern Ireland.
At the end, Lord Justice Leveson spent time with the Steiner team, congratulating them on their work, language skills and sophistication of their advocacy and urged several students to pursue legal careers.
Paul Hougham, the academy’s justice teacher, said: “There was high drama and serious legal wrestling with issues and evidence throughout the competition.
“We are a small rural school and utterly delighted with the achievements of our students. It was a fantastic experience for all involved.”
The Bar Mock Trial Competition is open 15-18-year-olds and offers an opportunity to learn about the law by running a mock trial where students take the roles of barristers, witnesses and court staff.
Members of the bar and judiciary support the competition by both mentoring school teams and adjudicating the competition.
The team from Steiner Academy team was mentored by Simon Ward of St Phillips Chambers.
Mr Hougham said: “Simon has brought a wisdom and a kindness to the team’s preparation for this competition and helped these students see that the law is not just the cut and thrust of debate, but that courage and astute analysis are more reliable companions to social justice.”
As finalists of this UK competition, the Steiner team is now eligible for the Empire Mock Trial world championship in New York in October.