17 Bellingara Rd, Sylvania, NSW, 2224
Each year Sylvania High School enters a team in the NSW Mock Trial Competition. The Mock Trial Competition is conducted by the Law Society of NSW and is a practical means of introducing students to the law and to increase understanding of the basis of our judicial system. Over 150 schools compete annually.
The competition also helps students to enhance core skills such as listening, speaking, writing, reading and advocating, as well as team work and working under pressure. The goal is not to win for the sake of winning, but to learn and understand the meaning of good citizenship through participation in our system of law and justice. All who participate in the Mock Trial Competition are winners in this sense.
Sylvania High School now enters a Year 11 team in the competition each year, with a Year 10 “training” team waiting in the wings and learning from their senior peers.
Each team consists of 6 students who play the roles of barristers, solicitor, court officer and witnesses. In most cases the Law Society will assign a Coach to each team, who is a qualified barrister or solicitor. The Coach provides information about court procedures and advocacy techniques.
The Law Society also provides ‘the case’ for the mock trials. The cases mirror criminal and civil matters actually heard in the Local or District Court. A team may act as either the defence or prosecution during a trial, with each team member taking on the role of a barrister, solicitor, court officer or witness, pitting their skills against the opposing side – a team from another school.
Each trial is presided over by a Magistrate (a solicitor or barrister), who awards marks to each team based on a range of criteria, such as strength of opening addresses and closing submissions, understanding statutory provisions and the relevance of case law, and effective cross examination. The team with the highest mark wins the trial.