The Banbridge Academy Bar Mock Trial team travelled to Edinburgh recently to represent Northern Ireland in the national final of this prestigious competition.
The final was held in the Edinburgh Court of Session and the level of competition was extremely high as all of the schools present had all won their respective heats in different regions across the UK.
After competing in three rounds against fellow finalists Royal Latin School, Oxford; Sixth Form College, Colchester; and Ripon Grammar School, the teams gathered in the impressive Great Hall of the Court of Session and the Academy were delighted to be announced as one of the top two schools from the 24 who had competed throughout the day.
This meant progression on to the grand final, against King Edward VI School, Handsworth.
The final was judged by the Right Honourable Sir Brian Leveson, who had conducted the inquiry into Freedom of the Press and phone hacking; the Honourable Lady Rita Rae, a Judge of the UK Supreme Court; and the Chair of the Bar Council, Richard Atkins QC.
All members of the Academy team performed magnificently but unfortunately they were pipped at the post in an extremely tight and hard fought contest, with the victory and progression onto the World Finals in New York being awarded to King Edward VI School.
The team was initially disappointed, however, the magnitude of what they had achieved sank in very quickly as they were highly praised for their performances throughout the day by the other schools and impartial observers.
Miss McClelland, Head of Politics and Citizenship, expressed her thanks on behalf of the School to two of our former pupils who are now barristers – Severina Kelley and Vikki Singer – who give of their time and expertise.