From the 29th of November to the 1st of December, Glasgow was fortunate enough to host the mock court competition! We at the Law Clinic were fortunate to be involved in lending our services to clerk for some current Sheriffs, in a welcome break from our typical studies.
Primary schools from Glasgow and the West descended on the Saltmarket as soon as regular court business had concluded in the matter of Talk ‘n’ Text v Telfor. Donning homemade wigs and gowns (which frankly put the real ones to shame…), some of the legal professions future leading lights took their places in courtrooms, and set to work for their respective clients.
Leading evidence from their witnesses, the sides did battle over whether or not a contract was formed; with some interesting results – the same set of facts in separate courtrooms often produced different results! This was only a testament to the ability of the pupils involved. Clerking for Sheriff Miller, our Outreach Manager Rachel Campbell said:
“Some of the skill shown were extraordinary. The productions were well organised and the lawyers questioned their witnesses with a clear plan and considerable confidence. I only wish I was that good in primary school.”
Assistant Outreach Manager Ross Wilson, clerking for Sheriff Murphy QC, also added:
“I’ve been lucky enough to witness some of the top advocates in Scotland cross-examine witnesses, from Donald Findlay QC to Gordon Jackson QC. The pupils would have given them a run for their money – I felt uncomfortable sitting outside the witness box.”
Also involved was our Senior Operations Manager David Scott, who commented:
“I only wish I had the confidence to stand up in the infamous North Courtroom of the High Court and lead evidence in front of a Sheriff at that age. The pupils were a credit to themselves, their schools and their communities. I hope to work with them someday, although certainly not in opposition.”
As a team, we had a great time assisting with the project. It shows pupils from a very young age that courts aren’t just for criminals, but for everyone. It also helped them too see that the courts aren’t so terrifying, the Sheriffs were kind and understanding, and this showed in the confidence displayed by the pupils. As an aside, our volunteers benefitted from seeing behind the scenes of a court and to network with some of the most experienced jurists in the country.