Court in session at Dundee and Angus College

Students at Dundee and Angus College have been given the opportunity to take part in an active learning experience.

Social Science students attended a mock trial hosted at the college’s Gardyne Theatre to gain an insight into the legal processes. The whole court process was condensed into one day to allow students to see the process from start to finish.

The jury was made up of Social Science and Performing Arts students who were treated exactly the same way as a jury in a real court would be treated. They had a separate room for their breaks and were left to make their decision before returning to deliver a verdict. It was essential to try and make the experience as close as possible to the real process.

Katie, a Social Science student was part of the jury. She said, “Being on the jury was fun, the actors were good and the case was interesting. It was good being so close to the action and you couldn’t see the audience due to the nice lighting. Doing the discussion at lunchtime and making the verdict became very heated, with differing opinions.”

Shaunie, another student on the jury shared her experience. “It was really interesting and I enjoyed it, it was done very professionally and the actors were believable. Being part of the jury and arguing our points and coming to a verdict was harder than I thought. I thought overall it was a really positive experience and was good to be part of.”

The witnesses in the case were all current Performing Arts students who had been rehearsing in the lead-up to the mock case, giving them the opportunity to perform in front of an audience and try a different type of acting.

As well as participants from the college a number of partners supported the event, giving up their time to perform roles such as Procurator Fiscal, Defence Solicitor and Sherriff. Scott Menmuir, Preventions Officer at Police Scotland acted as Procurator Fiscal, Jonathan Kee and Emma Somerville from Kee Solicitors acted as the Sherriff and Defence Solicitor and Kirsten Law from Families Outside took part in the Q&A at the end. The Q&A provided an opportunity for the audience made up of students to ask questions about the legal processes.

Jonathan Kee from Kee Solicitors supported the event. He said, “Emma and I were delighted with how the event went, credit to both John King for organising a flawless day and to the venue Gardyne Theatre for such a professional environment. Those involved were able to take full advantage and immerse themselves in the experience as a result of efforts behind the scenes. The students who participated were exceptional and a credit to their lecturers and we were taken aback by the level of student engagement in the Q&A segment. Well done Dundee and Angus College, we hope we were able to offer some insight into what happens in a Courtroom.”

With input from many college departments, this event was organised to promote good practice and cross-college collaboration to create an active learning event for students. Speaking on this John King, Learner Engagement Officer for the college said. “This was an incredible collaborative effort, being able to work with several internal and external partners to develop and deliver such an immersive learning experience for our learners, this shows just how rich the D&A community is.”