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Justice Week 2020 – Final Day

Jessica Duxbury, Streetlaw Manager (London and Cambridgereflects on the process of managing and delivering Goldilocks Mock Trials from preparation to delivery and beyond.  

As Streetlaw Manager in London and Cambridge I manage over 150 law student volunteers with the help of 5 Student Directors (SDs) across several streams including Prisons, Schools and Homeless Shelters. In addition to this role I am also studying the Legal Practice Course part-time in the evenings and am what is referred to as a ‘career changer’, as I am a qualified Project Manager with a previous career in Infrastructure Projects. I began in a volunteer role with Streetlaw but my passion for empowering our clients with legal knowledge grew and soon led me to take on the role of Streetlaw Manager.  

Today as part of Justice Week I took 3 groups of student volunteers to deliver our Goldilocks Mock Trial workshop to 90 Year 5 pupils at a Primary School in London. The workshop is a really fun and interactive session designed to teach the audience about the criminal justice system, the basics of how a criminal trial works and the key players involved. There are worksheets, wigs and the whole class gets to act as Jury to decide the verdict… is Goldilocks GUILTY or NOT GUILTY?  

All of our Student Volunteers attend a training session to equip them with the skills and knowledge to participate in Streetlaw but they can never know which workshop or audience they will be allocated at this stage so a key requirement for Streetlaw is flexibility and adaptability.  

As a presenter, it was so much fun. I’m more used to a prison audience so it was a totally different style of presenting; I think I might have enjoyed it as much as, or perhaps more than, the students.” – Jemima Bishop, Streetlaw SD (London) 

Our 12 volunteers for the sessions today were offered this opportunity two weeks ago. Once allocated they began preparations to ensure a successful session for the Year 5 classes. The volunteers review the material and scripts for the session, meet with each other to practice and then attend a dress rehearsal with me. They do all of this alongside their coursework and I am always impressed by the level of organisation and enthusiasm shown by the volunteers, as are our clients.  

This Justice Week we also had a special volunteer – Jonny Hurst, the Head of Outreach & Student Recruitment and a Senior Lecturer at BPP. The student volunteers appreciated the extra support and guidance from an experienced teacher from their Law School. The Streetlaw Project also appreciates any assistance we are offered from law professionals as it means we can reach a wider audience and helps in achieving our aims of educating as many people as possible about their legal rights and responsibilities. Jonny also enjoyed the session so much that he has volunteered to deliver another! 

This morning, despite the challenges thrown at volunteers by London’s public transport network, the three sessions were successfully delivered. The sessions began with a reminder of the Goldilocks story and an introduction to some of the key terms we would soon be hearing as part of the trial. The Year 5 pupils were then given the opportunity to volunteer to play the roles of Court Usher, Goldilocks, Mummy Bear and PC Plod. We had some great Courtroom Artists in our classes and another extremely important role – that of the Jury – was filled by the rest of the class.  

 

Court Artist Drawing

Court Artist Drawings

Our ‘actors’ put on a brilliant trial with the help of the Student Volunteers playing Judge, Prosecution and Defence. The Jury paid careful attention and following the end of the trial participated in a constructive discussion about the evidence they had heard. The classes then got to decide on the verdict! Two of our classes found Goldilocks ‘Guilty’ unanimously with the other class passing a verdict of ‘Not Guilty’, demonstrating the powers of persuasion of the Defence and Prosecution. We led the classes in a discussion about punishment and consequences and finished with the pupils sharing what they learnt from the Workshop.  

The Student Volunteers and Year 5’s alike found the session enjoyable and learnt a lot.  

“My experience volunteering at a primary school with Streetlaw reaffirmed the critical role of accessible public legal education in fostering cation is important every week, not just during Justice Week. However, Justice Week has been a brilliant awareness, understanding and ultimately, in cultivating a sense of community amongst all members of society.” – Firoza Dhodi (Student Volunteer) 

Following the sessions today, the school has now requested additional workshops from the Streetlaw Project and so begins, for me, the next steps of planning and recruiting volunteers to deliver the sessions. For Streetlaw – Public Legal Edu opportunity to shine a light on just how important Public Legal Education is and the benefits it provides to both those who teach and those who learn. If you are reading this and want to find out more please do get in touch with us at Probono@bpp.com 

  

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