KEIGHLEY schoolchildren were among more than 150 youngsters who took part in mock court trials.

Pupils from Ingrow and St Anne's primary schools were given a taste of the judiciary during workshops at Bradford Tribunal Hearing Centre.

The sessions – run by the National Justice Museum – gave young people the chance to play the roles of judges, barristers, defendants, witnesses and court officials, in trials based on genuine ones involving knife and hate crime, cyber bullying and robbery.

And the youngsters had the opportunity to quiz judges about their work.

One mock trial was watched by the High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, Dr Zulfi Karim, who was visiting the hearing centre that day.

Judge Laurence Saffer, one of eight judges who took part in the initiative, said he was hugely impressed by the students.

He added: "The defence barrister in this particular mock trial was able to persuade the jury, myself and Dr Karim that the defendant should be acquitted of the knife crime he had been accused of. In the real case the defendant was convicted, so the school defence barrister did better than the real defence barrister, as she achieved an acquittal!

"The school judge said she would have sentenced the defendant to four years in jail if convicted, and the real defendant was jailed for four years and three months. So there are at least two legal eagles in the making!

"Some of the students indicated a wish to enter the legal profession. Even those who did not will hopefully have learned about the importance of the justice system.

"We hope to be able to repeat the programme and are happy for any organised school group to visit by arrangement."

Gill Brailey, director of learning at the National Justice Museum, said: "You can’t match the impact for a young person of being in a real court building, knowing there are legal professionals working there, and using a genuine courtroom – plus having the chance to dress up in wigs and gowns! These sessions teach young people about citizenship and the importance of the rule of law.

"The pupils also learn about the many different apprenticeships offered by HM Courts and Tribunals Service."

The judiciary also runs a programme in which judges and magistrates visit schools. More details can be found at

And a free online course explaining the rule of law is available, at