Year 13 students studying Law and Criminology enhanced their studies when they visited the Combined Court in Leeds.
Both groups of students have to study what happens in a courtroom as part of their courses. What better way to understand than to actually go and watch real life cases in the public gallery?
Dressed smartly and arriving bright and early, students passed through intense security checks, before walking into a world unknown to most, a world that appears as if it’s from another age.
Students stared wide eyed, as men and women, in 18th century-style court regalia, strode around purposefully, looking important and as if they were dressed for a costume drama.
Barristers or solicitors, who have been appointed Queen's Counsel ("QCs"), wear a silk gown with a flap collar and long closed sleeves. For this reason, QCs are said to have "taken silk".
The other element of the ‘real life’ drama we had entered, was the people involved in the case. It was a surreal moment as we saw the witnesses, victims and the accused, along with their friends and family. Each face portraying deep emotion and, a few, shedding tears as they anxiously waited to give testimony and, subsequently, entering court to hear the jury’s verdict.
After getting over their initial awe, students soon began to feel a little more comfortable and entered courtrooms, still a little apprehensive, to discover other cases being heard. Although we are unable to comment specifically on what was witnessed, there were a wide range of cases, providing further insight into our justice system.
The students all agreed the visit was an amazing opportunity and much better than hearing about it in the classroom, or carrying out internet research.
Would they recommend the trip to their friends? Oh yes!
Society, Business and Health
*Photograph credit - Charlotte Rampling as Jocelyn Knight in TV drama series, Broadchurch