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Experiential Mock Trials at the John Sopinka Courthouse in Hamilton

Each semester, the Hamilton Committee holds Experiential Mock Trials at the John Sopinka Courthouse. This program invites students from across Hamilton to sign up and participate in an amazing experiential learning opportunity!

Using a mock trial case provided by OJEN, students prepare Opening and Closing Statements, along with questions for Direct and Cross examination of both Crown and Defence witnesses. They then act in the roles of lawyers, witnesses and other courtroom participants during the actual mock trial.

Eight schools compete every semester, with strong support from local justice sector professionals. Courthouse staff volunteers, lawyers from the local bar, Crown attorneys and judges assist the students during the mock trial and support students as they take on each role. To date, over 3000 students from Hamilton have participated in the Experiential Mock Trials.

While both Competitive and Experiential Mock Trials present amazing learning opportunities, the Experiential Mock Trial model encourages students of all learning styles to engage in a simulated trial. With no scoring and no “winner” declared, the rules are less stringent, taking some pressure off nervous students. Students who are not as comfortable with public speaking can still be a court clerk, a court services officer, or a member of the jury. This provides them with an opportunity to understand how a trial works and learn about various careers in the justice sector.

At the end of each Mock Trial Day, students receive a plaque for their classroom. Additionally, each student receives a certificate. The Hamilton Committee also recognizes one student with a Civility Award, presented to the student who best exemplifies respect and civility in the courtroom.


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