The Isle of Man Courts & Tribunals Service recently held its first mock Court competition.
Sixth Form students from all of the Island’s secondary schools were invited to participate in the competition, involving making or opposing mock applications for Court Bail.
12 students from Ballakermeen High School, St Ninian’s High School and King William’s College were randomly assigned a role and a case, provided with Court papers in advance of the competition, along with a pre-competition video tutorial on the law.
The students were introduced to Court 3 and given a brief tour, after which they conducted final preparations with guidance from Advocates Sara-Jayne Dodge from Smith Taubitz Unsworth Limited, Emily Johnson from Cains, and Trainee Advocate Mark O’Connor from CallinWild.
The Court proceedings were overseen by three of the Island’s Magistrates, aiming to offer an experience as authentic as possible for the aspiring Advocates. The event concluded with a Q&A and feedback session.
This opportunity allowed participation from the students without prior legal knowledge. The event was also an occasion for those seeking to develop their public speaking skills more broadly.
Alexander Armstrong, the Court’s Legal Officer and Assistant Chief Registrar, organised the competition and drafted the mock applications.
He said: “All of the students demonstrated excellent levels of public speaking and had clearly put a lot of time into the preparation and structure of their arguments.
“With recent changes to the route to qualifying as an Advocate in the Isle of Man, the Courts & Tribunals Service is keen to offer its support to students who are interested in pursuing a career in law. This experience has hopefully provided a brief insight into the work of an Advocate which will assist the students in their future careers goals, bolstering their CVs and providing a spring board to further legal work experience. The day also provided an opportunity for the students to better understand the role and work of the Courts.”
The winner of the competition was Anna Rose Ridgway from Ballakermeen High School.
It is hoped that the competition will grow in 2024 with more students encouraged to participate.