Pupils sent to court

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SCHOOLCHILDREN will find themselves in the dock when they learn all about legal life in a magistrates’ court.

Four schools are taking part in the local heat of this year’s Magistrates’ Court Trial Competition at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, in Middlesbrough.

Year 4 pupils from High Tunstall College of Science, in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, and Northfield School and Sports College, in Marsh House Avenue, Billingham, will be among those taking part in the event.

The competition on March 12 is organised by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Magistrates Association, local magistrates and court staff to explain the workings of the legal system to the latest generation.

Teams of 12 to 14-year-olds take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates and court staff in a mock criminal case, battling against other schools as prosecution and defence.

Their performances will be judged by real magistrates and legal professionals.

A spokesman for the event said: “Over 95 per cent of criminal cases are dealt with by magistrates, yet very few people know enough about their vital role.

“The Magistrates Court Mock Trial Competition offers young people a hands-on introduction to the legal system, and how law can be relevant to their everyday lives.”

The other two schools taking part in the local heat are Middlesbrough’s Nunthorpe School and Stokesley School.

The winners will go to a national final that will take place in June.