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Feb. 13, 2010

University of Portsmouth opens mock courtroom!

The first mock courtroom in the south east of England openned last week at the University of Portsmouth. It will be used to train lawyers, expert witnesses, social workers and probation officers of the future and was opened by Resident Judge of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, Richard Price.

The £1m development is an exact replica of a crown court, complete with dock, witness box, public gallery, jury room and interview rooms. State-of-the-art audiovisual facilities allow court proceedings to be filmed and simultaneously fed into adjacent teaching rooms or recorded for future feedback sessions.

”Clients” can give video testimony and the jury retiring room is also fitted with video equipment so jury deliberations can be recorded and analysed.

The courtroom will be used by students from the School of Law to practise advocacy, the art or persuasion and to stage full-blown mock trials, as well as by fellow students from across the University.

Students training to be social workers, interpreters, probation officers or journalists for example, will practise interviewing and testimony. Whilst engineers, scientists, accountants and psychologists will work with law students by providing and being examined on expert evidence.

Over 80 guests, including local law professionals, staff and the judiciary attended the opening at which His Honour Judge Price said: 'I am very impressed by the range and feel of this terrific new facility at the university. The courtroom will be a bonus to law students who can learn advocacy skills in relaxed surroundings with all sorts of professional input from lecturers, judges and other members of the legal profession. It is a wonderful addition to the university, which in every sense feels like a working courtroom. Practising the key skill of advocacy can be extremely scary but students will soon gain confidence. By bringing law to life using these facilities Portsmouth students will have a head start in a law career which really is a significant opportunity.'

Head of the School of Law, Caroline Strevens, said: 'The mock courtroom is a fantastic resource for the university. I believe learning by doing is extremely valuable for our students, who will now enter the world of work far better prepared. The students will also have the added benefit of being able to evaluate their learning from a different perspective - by watching themselves on screen in a courtroom environment they can see how they coped. Video-coaching is an extremely effective and efficient method of giving feedback that will revolutionise the way we teach.'

The School of Law will invite members of the public to attend the mock courtroom to view role-play of the criminal and civil justice process, as well as local school children. It will also be available to law professionals who wish to use it for training and development.

Find out more about The School of Law at the University of Portsmouth.

Find out more about postgraduate study at the University of Portsmouth.

Content added on 13th February 2010.

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