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The OBA/OJEN Competitive Mock Trials for High School Students

The OBA/OJEN Competitive Mock Trials (OOCMT) is a partnership between the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) and the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN), and the OBA Foundation.  Most competitive mock trial tournaments in the province are part of OOCMT, which means they use the official OOCMT case and rules, and their winners may participate in upper-level competitions organized by the OBA and OJEN.

On this site, you will find information about the tournament in your local area, the official materials for this year’s program, archived cases from previous years, and resources to help you prepare to participate in a tournament.

Key Information for the 2020-21 School Year

Competitive and Alternative Formats

As 2021 is certainly not a ‘typical’ year, the OOCMT has undergone some temporary changes in order to better serve the needs of our participants and organizers. This year, the OOCMT will be offered in two formats, the details of which are covered below.

The Competitive Format

The competitive format will be an online version of a traditional mock trial. It will be quasi-provincial nature, in that registered teams from one region will not necessarily compete against another team from their own region.

Here are some of the basics:

  • Teams will be matched with coaches from their regions. While this year is different in many ways, it is important to maintain the facilitation of local connections, and regional cohesion. While in some cases coaches from one region may help in another where supply is shorter, the same local-based framework as always will still apply to the online mock trials.
  • Every team will need at least one video conferencing account in order to participate in their online tournament. Depending on the team’s capacity, preference, and safety guidelines from respective school boards, they may plan to be in the same room while physically distancing, or they may choose to join a call from separate accounts.
  • OJEN will provide matrices for which teams will play each other at which times, as per usual.
  • Our team from OJEN will provide the Zoom account and host the meeting for each hearing. This will be considerably simpler than coordinating training for each committee and having each committee responsible for their own hearings. OJEN will admit participants, oversee audio and video settings, and in general moderate the technical aspects of each hearing.
  • OJEN will ensure only the participant conducting an examination, one opposing participant, the witness, the judge, and the clerk have video and audio functionality at once. In other words, the reality of real court will be reflected virtually. 

The Alternative Format

  • In order to avoid creating a competitive advantage for any participants, teams involved in the online tournament will be precluded from participating in the alternative format, or from using the testimony recorded by lawyers to prepare their own strategies. 
  • The alternative format is designed to be more flexible and accessible than the competitive format in a few different ways.
  • In contrast to the competitive format, delivering the alternative format allows participants to submit as individuals, as small groups, or as a whole class. The resources for the alternative format will also be available to participants from January until the end of the school year. 
  • Participants can submit an Opening Statement based on the facts of the case scenario for either Crown or Defence. They can also submit a Closing Statement based on the witness examination video resource. These can be done either in writing or by video submission. If participants choose to submit their statements by video, they do not necessarily need access to a video conferencing platform. We will accept video submissions in MP4 or .mov video formats. 
  • Once submissions are received, they will be reviewed by lawyer volunteers, who will provide feedback on the participants’ arguments based on their professional experience and their reading of the case scenario. Awards for top submissions may be distributed as determined by each OOCMT organizing committee.  

Timeline for Local Tournaments

UPDATE: Competitive Format Provincial Tournament dates are as follows:

Preliminary Rounds: April 21 and 22, 2021

Final Rounds: April 29, 2021

OOCMT mock trial tournaments will take place in the spring of 2021, with event dates between late March and mid-May. While some of our larger tournaments will still be held in their respective regions, a provincial-style tournament will be facilitated for participants in places where a regional tournament is not available. You can click on “Local Tournaments by Region” in the grey bar above to find specific information as it becomes available.

Registration dates are also set by local tournaments, and registration is open in  most regions at this time. In most cases, registration will not close until February 2021. Note that registration in Peel Region and the City of Toronto will have a shorter registration window due to the popularity of those tournaments and their limited capacity. Please continue to check back here as more information becomes available. 

The first round of message boards for the Alternative Format, including the ‘Ask a Lawyer’ board, are scheduled to be open between March 15 and March 19.

Publication of Case and Materials

No significant changes have been made to the tournament materials (Official Rules, Tournament Guide, Marking Scheme) for this year. You can find the materials in the grey bar above under “Tournament Materials & Resources”, and get oriented to the program right now. There you will also find the 2021 OOCMT Case, R v Kim (You can still find last year’s case, R v Kaye, as well as cases from earlier years, in case you’re interested).

Every year, we produce a new case scenario, which will be used for all tournaments. The case comes out first in a draft form, with a period afterwards for prospective participants to submit questions which may require clarification, or any errors noticed. The final version is usually published about two weeks after the first draft. It is very rare for any major changes to be made to the case in the final version.

 


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