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Law students set to reach national finals

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WINNERS: Sheraaz Hingora and Natalie Chant

Law students from De Montfort University (DMU) look set to be on their way to the finals of this year’s Blackstone’s National Criminal Advocacy Competition.

The prestigious annual event, now in its third year, sees teams from UK law schools meet and compete in a series of mock trials and pre-trial applications to test their legal knowledge and advocacy skills.

In the second of the preliminary rounds, Natalie Chant, third year LLB (leading counsel) and Sheraaz Hingora, third year BA Law and Business Management (junior counsel) were pitted against a team from Nottingham University in a mock murder trial.

The trial, judged by Paul Mann QC from 1 High Pavement in Nottingham, saw the teams make opening and closing speeches to an imaginary jury. They also had to examine and cross-examine witnesses.

DMU beat the Nottingham team by 75 points to 44, having already scored 82 in the pre-trial submissions, making it almost certain they have earned enough points to reach the finals, which are to be held at the University of Hertfordshire in June.

Prof Michael Hirst, Professor of Criminal Justice at DMU, said: “It’s a great result for our students and I’m sure with a point score like that we will get to the finals. Assuming the team gets to Hertfordshire they will find themselves competing fairly intensively, preparing new cases for trial at very short notice. They will be up before professional judges of the Crown Court, and will be introduced to Sir Anthony Hooper, Editor-in chief of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice and until his retirement last year a Lord Justice of Appeal. I hope they will make the most of this opportunity.”

Prof Hirst thanked colleague Louise Jacklin, a barrister, for her help and guidance to students on the principles of advocacy.

Sheree Peaple, Head of the Law School, praised Prof Hirst and Ms Jacklin for their work  mentoring the law students. She said: “It is very gratifying to see instances where busy colleagues go the extra mile to encourage and support students’ extracurricular activities. To the students we pass on the School’s congratulations, and best wishes for the final at the University of Hertfordshire in June.”

Posted on Wednesday 3rd April 2013

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