Mock Trials

Mock trials are one of the most popular experiential learning tools we have for teaching newcomer students about the Canadian legal system. Students learn the relevant law as well as practice their preparation, analysis, and public speaking skills, in order to imagine themselves as future lawyers or judges and learn more about lesser known justice sector roles such as court clerks and court reporters.

LAWS mock trials are usually delivered as a culminating activity for ESL E classes. Law student volunteers and LAWS staff help students examine a scenario, identify the various parties involved, and prepare their cases. Students take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, judges, court clerks, juries and court security officers. The trial relies on and develops a collaborative learning strategy where each student involved has a role to play and the success of the trial depends on the full participation of all students.

Students prepare for their mock trials over a series of four in-class workshops, with each workshop including both instruction and student preparation time. Workshops include basic criminal and civil law concepts, such as the standard and burden of proof, the parties to the case and the legal elements involved. Based on their assigned role, students write and deliver opening and closing statements, examine and cross examine witnesses, and respond to questions from the judge. Final trials can take place at the high schools, law schools, or in some cases at a courthouse.