It was Hale versus Hale in the grand final of the Law Society’s Mock Trial Competition – and the winner was… Hale!
The winning team was Hale Briefs, made up of Year 11 students Matthew Foster (Barrister 1), Charlie Hurst (Barrister 2), Calum Wong (Solicitor), Jordan Pearce (Witness 1), Nikkhil Mukundala (Witness 2) and Marcus Jorgensen (Court Orderly), with Murray Pratt, Nicholas Stone, Stephen Hanna and Jamie Warnock as reserves.
They achieved a narrow victory over their Year 12 rivals and schoolmates, Hale Defenders – Lachie Stafford (Barrister 1), Byron Ellis (Barrister 2), Henry Chen (Solicitor), Connor Price (Witness 1), Aaron Bloch (Witness 2) and Henry Fowler (Judge’s Associate) – in a civil matter concerning the payment of wages to a young person working in a fast food restaurant.
Hale Defenders coach, Susannah Watson, said the fantastic result came down to the dedication and determination of the students involved.
“Yes, the boys are articulate communicators and their knowledge of courtroom practice has improved significantly over the past three years,” she said. “But the secret to their success is hard work and collaboration. It doesn’t hurt that they are intelligent and creative problem solvers, either. It is a privilege to coach these students.”
Hale School last won the mock trial competition in 2015.
Chief Justice of Western Australia, the Honourable Peter Quinlan, presided over the case on Thursday 11 October in Court 1 in the 1903 Supreme Court Building in Stirling Gardens.
The Mock Trials are fictional civil and criminal cases, with the rules of evidence and procedures modified and simplified. Each team prepares their own case and the students take on the roles of barristers, solicitors, court staff and witnesses. The competition is coordinated by the Law Society of WA, with school students taking on the court room roles. One hundred and twenty-four teams made up of 1175 students in Years 10, 11 and 12 from 53 schools took part in mock trials this season.
Law Society President Hayley Cormann noted that the Mock Trial Competition is a fantastic, dynamic way to introduce the law and our legal system to young people. She stated that there is strong evidence that too many Australians have an inadequate understanding of their rights and responsibilities before the law, and that community legal education has never been more important.