Top marks for MiniTrials

17 Oct


Learning about the law through the Faculty’s MiniTrials scheme for schools has been given a “ten out of ten” rating following the latest event at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Teenagers from eight schools took on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, accused and jurors to act out two trials – an assault case and a drugs case – in genuine courtrooms.

Janey Murdoch, an S6 student at Portobello High School, was delighted to have taken part.

“It was really exciting, not only getting to be in the courtroom, but given a tour of the cells. Ten out of ten. Everyone should do this,” she said.

Others echoed her views.

“I really enjoyed seeing all aspects of how the courts are run and I think it is useful for young people to have an insight into this,” said Stefan Peacock, S5.

“It was a really good experience and has given me a valuable insight into the world of criminology, which I want to go on to do at university,” added Aimee Morgan, S6.

MiniTrials have been held throughout the country since 2002 and aim to demystify the law. The youngsters work from information packs provided by the Faculty and are assisted by lawyer volunteers.

The Edinburgh event was a MiniTrials debut for Richard Hart, a teacher at Trinity Academy, who helped bring it all together.

“Organising the MiniTrials event for the first time was hard work, but to watch more than 100 pupils, teachers, solicitors, advocates and court staff give up their Saturday and have such an enjoyable day made all the effort worthwhile,” he said.

“It is safe to say that from the feedback from the young people participating, it is clear that this is a very effective way for them to learn about the law.”

Gemma Banks, a teacher at Portobello High, has been there before, but remains impressed.

She said: “As always, I vastly enjoyed participating in MiniTrials again this year. Our young people are so lucky to get the chance to do this, and I am so impressed at what they can achieve in such a short space of time and on the day. It has definitely inspired so many of them to pursue a career in law."