Law students from the University of Lincoln are engaged in a series of courtroom battles with aspiring advocates from other UK universities. The Lincoln Law School is taking part in two national competitions designed to test the advocacy skills of undergraduate law students. A Lincoln team has already progressed through Round One of the UKLSA (UK Law Students Association) Mooting Competition 2012, the final of which will take place at the UK Supreme Court in April. The students defeated a team from the University of Cumbria in a contest held last month in the Lincoln Law School's moot court - a realistic recreation of a UK courtroom, complete with bench, witness box and public gallery.
Last week (7th February 2012) another group of undergraduate law students made their opening statements in Preliminary Round One of the UH/Blackstone's National Criminal Advocacy Competition, where they were away against contemporaries from the University of Derby. The contest was based around a mock criminal trial, centred on an allegation of manslaughter. Students were expected to do everything that real Counsel would do, from case research and preparation, making an opening speech to the jury, down to examination and cross examination of witnesses. The two teams will meet again in the spring for the second round of the competition, this time in Lincoln. Similar contests are taking place at other UK law schools and the 10 highest ranked teams nationally from the preliminary stages will progress to the national finals at the University of Hertfordshire this summer. John Kelly, Lecturer in the Lincoln Law School and a former barrister, said: “Having conducted many jury trials when I was in practice at the Bar, I know that this type of exercise is the closest thing you can get to doing the work of a barrister without actually being one. It’s invaluable experience for students who aspire to be members of the legal profession.” The Lincoln Law School is based in the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Lincoln, which in 2011 moved into a spectacular new £6m building on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool campus.