Students from two Barnet schools will face mock trials as part of a national competition.

Year nine pupils from Copthall and Queen Elizabeth’s Boys’ Schools are competing in the 2014 Magistrates’ Court competition today (Saturday, March 8).

The trial will allow pupils to play the parts of defendants, lawyers, witnesses, magistrates and court staff.

The two schools are taking on eight other schools from the North West London area, with just two spaces available in the regional finals in May.

Magistrates, law students and other legal professionals have been helping the 12 to 14-year-olds with teamwork and public speaking skills in their preparations.

The competition is designed to help pupils learn more about the criminal justice system.

Peter Morton, English teacher at the Queen Elizabeth’s Boys’ School, said, “The boys have found it quite a sharp learning curve, but also quite exciting.

“The school took part in the competition for the first time last year, securing a place in the regional finals. We’re hoping to repeat that success this year and perhaps go one better.”

The trial, which has been specifically written for the competition, sees a defendant accused of dishonestly receiving a stolen bicycle.

The Citizenship Foundation has worked with the Magistrates’ Association to recruit magistrates and legal professionals to judge the winners.