Watermans' trainee solicitor Craig Armstrong takes part in school mock court project

Trainee Solicitor Craig Armstrong headed to a local school for a mock court project with about 50 pupils.

The afternoon started by me introducing the Scottish legal system in general, types of courts, what a court looks like, who sits where etc. I then moved onto how you raise an action in court, discussing the roles of solicitors in terms of pursuer and defender and finally, we discussed the mock problem.

The claim revolved around an insurance claim made by the parents of a teenage girl. The teenage girl had a sleepover while her parents were in Paris. It developed into an out of control party when more and more people kept turning up that were not invited. The upshot of this is that there was damage to various items within the home and garden, and so the parents made a claim on their home insurance. The insurance company are only willing to pay for some of the damage.

The school kids have to now draft an initial writ and start the court process. They will follow the case through the various stage of the process – initial writ, service of writ, receiving and reviewing defenses, making any adjustments, lodging the record and then play out the case in a mock proof in front of a Sheriff. I lent a hand with procedural issues relating to drafting the initial writ and over the course of the next week the children will draft up the main part of the writ explaining what happened. I’ll review these over the course of the week and offer help and guidance where I can, but it is very much to be the pupil’s work.

The kids in general were great. I couldn’t believe how many questions they were willing and prepared to ask. I could tell they were actually thinking about what I was saying and how the process works. We had a summary session at the end and the amount of knowledge they took in when quizzed about what I had been saying was great.