In spite of the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, four OBA-OJEN Competitive Mock Trial (OOCMT) tournaments took place by Zoom this spring. As well as a province-wide tournament, Halton, Peel and Toronto regions each held local tournaments. For announcements of winners and finalists, keep an eye on OJEN’s Twitter!
Students throughout Ontario began preparing for the competition as early as December, when the case materials were initially posted. Participating teams were matched with lawyer coaches from their region and met by Zoom. Where local coaches were not available, lawyers from beyond the immediate area were able to step in to help.
The case scenario, R v Kim, centred around an alleged assault causing bodily harm. With the help of volunteer lawyer coaches, teams spent hours learning about trial procedure and developing their strategy. Many thanks go to all the local committee members, lawyer coaches and judges who put so much effort into making this experience so memorable for the participating students!
Alternative Format is a Hit with Students
This year, a more accessible Alternative Format for the OOCMT was offered, allowing teachers and students to engage with the same case material while avoiding specific time commitments. Students were invited to work individually or in groups to submit Opening or Closing statements based on videos of mock witness examinations prepared by OBA lawyers.
Students who made submissions to the Alternative Format received feedback from lawyers in the field. This included tips on how to structure Opening and Closing statements, as well as specific feedback on the content of the submissions based on their professional experience.
Response to the Alternative Format has been really rewarding. For many schools who didn’t have the capacity to participate in the Competitive Format this year, using the R v Kim case and witness examination videos has been a helpful resource. It was so well received that we will make a place for it on the OJEN website in the coming weeks for others to use as a resource in the future.
Submissions for the Alternative Format will be accepted until May 28, 2021. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.