Q: Do you need be taking a law course or in a particular grade to participate?
A: No. Participating students just have to be in high school at any grade level, although individual schools may choose to restrict the school team to students in law courses or a particular grade level, which is at each school’s discretion.
Q: Can schools submit more than one team?
A: Generally, no. As space in the courthouse venues is at a premium, schools can generally only submit one team. In some exceptional circumstances where space exists, schools may be invited to submit additional teams, but this is rare. Teachers who have fielded two teams often report that dispersing resources and energy between two teams can be a detriment to both. You can, however, refer to the Tournament Guide to see how you can run an in-school tournament, and you can always involve more students than just the school team in the educational experience of a mock trial within your own school.
Q: Can I bring a whole class to the tournament?
A: No. Many tournaments have upwards of 12 teams competing in the courthouse at one time, and the space would be overwhelmed if every school brought a whole class of students. A small number of student spectators may attend with the team, and parents of participants are welcome. Local tournaments with fewer space constraints may relax this policy at their discretion.
Q: Can we take photos during mock trials at the courthouse?
A: Tournament organizers will take steps to allow the taking of photos in courtrooms, which is often permitted for mock trials even though it is strictly forbidden when court is in session. However, please refer to your local tournament’s instructions for the rules for your tournament location before taking any photographs. In certain circumstances, it is against the law to take photographs inside a courthouse. Therefore, do not ever take photos inside the hallways and common areas of the courthouse, even if you have been given permission to do so in the courtrooms being used for the mock trials.
Q: Can we use electronic devices in the courtrooms?
A: If you have your notes on a tablet or a laptop computer, you may use those when you are speaking if you are playing a lawyer. Unless you use an electronic assistive device because of a disability, it is probably not a good idea to use a tablet or a laptop while you are at the counsel table as judges may find this distracting or disrespectful. Using your phone for any purpose other than to keep time is not a good idea as it will not be looked upon favourably by the judges. Texting during a mock trial round is not going to make a good impression on the judges!