Mock courtroom formally opened at university

Judge Levett with law school representatives Eleanor Scarlett, Dr Ruth Flaherty, Dr Stephen Colman and Dr Tina Davey. Photo: Simon Lee.

The University of Suffolk’s mock courtroom has been formally opened.

The courtroom was installed by professional court fitters on the top floor of the Waterfront Building in 2020 and includes a dock, witness box and a judge’s bench with the experience further enhanced by legal gowns and lecterns bought by Gotelee Solicitors and the university’s Foundation Board in 2019.

It was formally opened by the Resident Judge of Ipswich Crown Court and Honorary Recorder of Ipswich, His Honour Judge Martyn Levett, and those attending the opening included Professor Helen Pankhurst, Chancellor of the University of Suffolk, Deputy Mayor of Ipswich, John Cook and the President of the Suffolk and North Essex Law Society.

Judge Levett said: “This addition to the University’s seat of legal learning means that now and in the future students will experience and learn the realities of a courtroom drama unfolding. The recently installed and now opened new mock courtroom in the Waterfront Building gives a realistic setting for court proceedings and it is a great training venue for public speaking which is not easily found in everyday lectures, so it provides the essential training tool in every law student’s curriculum in legal training. 

“I have been a keen advocate in promoting Suffolk’s young ambitious local lawyers and I would very much like to see them remain in the county: there are great openings and employment opportunities in the county council and borough council offices, the numerous firms of solicitors in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Sudbury and on the east side of the county, in Woodbridge, Felixstowe, Framlingham and Halesworth up to Lowestoft.”

After the ribbon was cut, Judge Levett presented prizes in the annual David White Trust Memorial Mooting Competition, in which students argue points of appeal on a fictional legal problem.

He then presided over an Easter themed criminal damage sentencing hearing which was conducted by two second year law students at the university, Liana D’Amore and Schnelle Moses.

Dr Stephen Colman, senior lecturer in law at the University of Suffolk said: “The courtroom provides students with the opportunity to develop their advocacy skills and apply the law learned in the classroom in a practical setting. The mooting competition is sponsored by the David White Memorial Trust, which supports students wishing to enter the legal profession and participation in the competition develops confidence both in public speaking and in legal research which are vital skills for modern law graduates.”

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