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Collaborative professional learning in a simulated Magistrates Court. Learning and Teaching Conference Friday 13 July 2007. Introductions. Sergeant Steve Day (Professional Development Sergeant, Fda Certificate, Policing in Partnership with Communities)
Collaborative professional learning in a simulated Magistrates Court
Learning and Teaching Conference
Friday 13 July 2007
Detective Inspector Ali Eaton (Police Lead, Fda Certificate, Policing in Partnership with Communities)
All based within Brighton Business School.
The theme of this year’s Teaching and Learning Conference is:
“Sharing the learning space”
One of the most difficult things about learning to be a professional is developing confidence to practice effectively alongside other professionals.
Our aim in this session is to present a case study of a
“safe learning space”
for students learning to take up professional roles in the law.
Two important PACs that the Student Officer’s must achieve are:
preparing for court; and presenting evidence in court.
They are also required to prove competence in respect of the the relevant National Occupational Standards in relation to:
court procedure; case preparation; and
giving evidence in court.
“The value of training and teaching Police Officers to be able to perform to the highest standard when involved in court cases and providing evidence cannot be underestimated. Many cases are lost through poor preparation and mistakes in the witness box.”
D.I. Ali Eaton
Therefore an excellent opportunity was identified for the the police team and the law team at Brighton Business School to collaborate in developing a simulated courtroom/ roleplaying event, which could offer a unique learning experience for both police and law students.
However, from the outset there was a fundamental difference between the involvement of the police and law students:
The training of the student officers comprises:
The aim is to deliver key material to the police students in the classroom, and then reinforce it through the simulated court experience.
The training of the law students comprises:
The aim has been to enable the law students to train at their own pace, and at a time of their own choosing, principally via a dedicated area on studentcentral.
“The course was very professionally put together and realistic. I think both sets of students were nervous but it was an incredibly useful experience.”
Emma Bosson - Student officer
“I was certainly nervous before I went in, but as it progressed I settled into the environment. Looking back now I think if I was to go to court in a real incident for a court case I would be much more comfortable. I’d know who I needed to speak to, and where I needed to go, the kind of questions I would be probed on and how to give my answers in an effective way”
Ryan Tipping - Student officer
“I thoroughly enjoyed questioning the police witnesses on Monday, all of whom I think deserve to do really well in their assessment. It was a particularly valuable experience from an academic point of view as this was for many of us the first time we were able to apply our legal knowledge in a very practical and realistic context. My ambition is to practice as a barrister (although in civil law rather than criminal) and the simulated court experience has very much confirmed to me that being a lawyer is what I want to do. Students on the law programme at this university should be fervently urged to take part in projects like these. It offers the chance to test yourself in real-time, apply our knowledge of law and procedure in a very public setting and to work alongside people on the course who we may not have met otherwise.”
Daniel Hoadley - BA(Hons) Law with Business student - Year 2
“This experience is one I would recommend to anyone, no matter what area of law they are looking at pursuing. Standing up in front of real magistrates and putting your case forward was admittedly nervewracking at first, but by the last case we were enjoying ourselves so much that we didn't want to stop. It was nice to know that we weren't the ones really under the pressure, and remember that the exercise was to benefit the trainees and not a chance for us to prove ourselves as great litigators of the future, but also great to have a couple of cases that we could have more fun with and put our prosecuting and defending skills to work... thinking on our feet when needed (as was certainly the case for one of mine!), and generally getting into our roles and enjoying every minute. It gave us the opportunity to prepare cases, stand up and argue them, and just get a feel for what our futures might be like! Loved it, and would certainly do it again!”
Katie White - PG Dip Law/CPE - Year 2
“This was an excellent activity, very professionally organised and much more than just something to stick on my CV.I'm generally quite confident about my 'presentation skills' so I was taken aback at how nervous I felt standing up in court and how weak I thought my voice sounded.The first thing I did when I got home was to sign up for some voice coach training.From taking part I picked up important practical details, such as learning that police witnesses are trained to address all their answers to the bench, so they're never actually looking at you when they're answering your questions which really takes some getting used to, especially as a defence lawyer.”
John Russell - PG Dip Law/CPE - Year 2
“Considering how nervous I was about the experience I actually found the challenge quite enjoyable. I was particularly worried about how my nerves would hold up during the hearing, but found that I wasn't as bad as anticipated. I was actually quite proud at the end of it. I feel that the experience was extremely beneficial. Surprisingly I would actually quite like to do it again, now that I know what to expect. I actually received compliments on how professional I sounded in one of the hearings, which was a bit of a surprise!”
Shennelle Morant BA(Hons) Law with Accountancy student – Year 3
“By making the learning experience as realistic as possible this is the nearest exposure the students are going to have to the court system in terms of their role and giving evidence. What makes this training so successful is that we have got real magistrates along with law students who will be real prosecutors and defence solicitors in the future and soon to be police officers.”
Sergeant Ian Cheesman - SOC Lecturer
“[I]t was a great opportunity to open up our local police training to public scrutiny, it was great to see such a wide range of people involved in the training of their police officers. I am sure for many it was the first time they had been so close to Police training, particularly those who watched with such interest from the public gallery..
These couple of days have demonstrated how far initial police training within Sussex has progressed, these new recruits have far more contact with their local communities than ever before, and are already reaping the benefits of partnership working”
Sergeant Stephen Day - SOC Lecturer
“[W]are pleased that the Authority is leading the way by being involved with this innovative form of training. We want to see cases being properly prepared and brought to court in a way that convictions will be secured. Giving evidence in court is a challenging experience and watching the students do it brought home to us how valuable it is for them to be given the chance so early in their career. Hopefully when they come to do it in ‘real life’ they will be more confident.”
Sue Iles-Jonas, Sussex Police Authority Magistrates