What is Mock Trial?

What is Mock Trial?

Mock Trial is a high school or college club. It is a simulated performance of a courtroom trial. There are attorneys, witnesses, judges, and jurors involved during each competition. You will either receive a civil or criminal case to work on during your Mock Trial season. Your goal is to piece together the entire case with your team and argue your point in a competition against another team.


Mock Trial Courtroom Setup

courtroom
In this graph, this is how a Mock Trial courtroom will be set up. The same setup is used for a classroom with slight modifications to the Jury.

This is a general courtroom setup that is generally followed whether or not you’re competing in a classroom or courthouse. Often, the judge will become the jury if you compete in a non-formal setting such as a classroom.

TIPS:

  • Always face the person/people you are talking to at the moment. For example, when you are questioning a witness, you should face them when asking questions.
  • The plaintiff/prosecution always sits near the jury and witness stand.

What’s Inside a Mock Trial Case File?

Stipulations – These are facts that have been agreed upon by both parties. For example, both sides have decided that the specific fact listed is true and cannot be argued against.

Witness Affidavits – These are written statements provided by witnesses in the case. You will primarily look at this information, and this is what makes up the bulk of the information provided in a case file. You will need to scrutinize each statement and rebuild the “puzzle” using this information

Exhibits – This is evidence. It can be documents, photographs, reports, items, etc. It will most likely be printed documents, photographs, and reports. Items are rarely seen as they can be prohibitively expensive for some teams and they may be different across teams.

Statutes/Case Law – This is a document that defines the law and controls your arguments so they cannot be too broad.

Jury Instructions – This a document that states the laws for the jurors. In real life, they are read by the judges, but in Mock Trial, judges don’t typically read them. However, it can be useful for your case theory.

Rules of Evidence/Procedures – The rules that set the boundaries for the court. It states what evidence is admissible and how a trial will play or act out.