MiniTrials: “One of my best days in school,” says youngster

23 Feb


The Faculty’s MiniTrials project proved a hugely popular addition to the curriculum of Oxgangs Primary School in Edinburgh.

Youngsters were given some expert advice in acting out a criminal trial when David Parratt, Director of Training and Education, along with Julius Komorowski, Advocate, and Carole Ferguson-Walker, Faculty Solicitor, paid a visit to the school.

A number of the pupils took time to send letters of thanks, and one lad seemed to have  particular reason to be grateful.

“It was one of my best days in school…Thank you so much for helping me decide my job because I want to be a lawyer when I am older,” said Omar.

MiniTrials for schools were the idea of Lord Kinclaven (Sandy Wyliie, QC) who wanted to demystify the law in an enjoyable way and give youngsters the chance to learn what really happens in a Scottish court, as opposed to what they might see on television or read in books.

The project was launched in 2002 and thousands of pupils throughout Scotland have taken part.

The Oxgangs youngsters were the latest to enjoy MiniTrials, and Adah wrote: “Thank you all for giving up your time to help us…and for kindly doing it for FREE! Thank you also for the advice on volume (speaking up) and I’m sure that what you said about questions (closed and open ones) will also work great with my yonger brothers (to get them to say what I want).”

Callum stated: “I really learnt alot. Even though I find the subject of court cases boring you helped me understand them more and I find them quite fun now.”

Adia said: “It was really interesting to hear lots of things I didn’t know before.”

Brianna added: “Having you come in to help us definitely worked…When I am older I would like to witness a real court case.”

Robert said: “It was interesting to see that our verdict was different to the other class and how the questions from the lawyers can change the outcome.”

Their teacher, Dominic Hines, said he had been sceptical when invited to attend the Faculty to learn about MiniTrials for primary schools, but he was pleasantly surprised.

“The cases were accessible, relevant and fun. Both the children and I learned a great deal about criminal court cases and the roles of the participants. We received super advice and support from Carole, David and Julius and we are all grateful for their help,” he added.