25th May 2018
Writing: Benjamin Corby (Year 8)
Editing: George Corby (Year 12)
It’s rare to get the opportunity to gain an insight into how the justice system works. However last Friday, 28 students in Year 8 travelled to the magistrates’ court in High Wycombe to see the judicial system in action. With multiple discussions from those who work in the court and even a chance to act out a trial ourselves, we were greatly impressed.
The day started with a talk from four veteran magistrates. We were introduced to how a normal trial would work in a courtroom, and which roles helped in different ways. Some could be paid huge amounts of money - such as successful lawyers from large firms in London, while others are unpaid, such as magistrates. We were astounded to see such variety in one place.
We were particularly surprised by the interesting layout of the room - with a small corner, secluded by a wall of glass and chairs raised above the rest. All these details were part of the complicated events that would take place in the court.
Later in the visit, we were treated to a special visit from a judge, Hugh Howards, as he discussed his career. Judge Hugh Howards commented ‘96% of crime is solved in the magistrates' court,’ and went on to note how we only hear about the very worst offences on the news.
The day followed with a talk from a young solicitor about what she liked most in her job, as well as what her regular routine included. With the satisfaction of helping others, but also having to be around every hour of the day for your clients, it seemed a career in law would be hard work, but also rewarding. A few students then later expressed an interest in working as a solicitor when they were older after what she had to say.
Finally, the visit concluded with us acting out a trial of our own. The story of a woman called Kelly Johnson and her visit to (an amusingly named) ‘Prymark’ store was debated furiously amongst the students. Was Johnson innocent or not? The students voted guilty after an intriguing but also educational afternoon at the court.
Thanks must go to the magistrates' court in High Wycombe for having us at such a special event.