Student Vimbai Sibanda wins the Law School’s Mock Trial Advocacy Competition

Law and Criminology student Vimbai Sibanda proved her advocacy skills in the final of Kent Law School’s Mock Trial Advocacy Competition last week, winning a week of work experience with Vyman Solicitors.

Vimbai was judged to be the best advocate by Vyman’s Trevor Linn, a barrister with extensive experience in criminal law and procedure.

The final, held last Wednesday in the Law School’s Kennedy Wong Moot Court, saw final-year student Vimbai compete against second-year Law LLB student Kristina Kreizova. Trial witnesses included Emma Palmer, President of Kent Law Society, and Ben Leb, a barrister at Stour Chambers.

Vimbai and Kristina were selected to compete as finalists by Mooting and Mock Trial Director Darren Weir. They were among a group of ten students who each won a Judge’s Award for Best Advocacy during ten mock trials held as part of the Law School’s Mock Trial Advocacy Module.

Other Judge’s Award winners were:

  • Xavier Alexis-Greenfield
  • Alia Al Hazmi
  • Sarah Ludgate
  • Rinu Mathew
  • Ashley Omondi
  • Akshaya Ramalingam
  • Rebecca Seling
  • Milan Thapa-Chhetri

(Visit the Kent Law School Mooting page on Facebook for pictures of the winners being presented with their awards by Trevor Linn)

The extra-curricular module was introduced last year by Darren Weir for Stage 2 and Stage 3 law students. It provides an introduction to the Crown Court Trial and equips students with the advocacy skills they need to win a case. The students are also able to gain experience in the use of CaseLines, a computerised evidence and courtroom presentation system that gives lawyers, court staff and judges online access to legal evidence bundles. Kent was the first university in England and Wales to begin using Caselines after being given access in 2019 for the Law School’s mooting programme.

As part of the assessment for the Mock Trial Advocacy Module, students assume the role of an advocate, representing either the Prosecution or Defence in a Mock Crown Court Trial. They are expected to conduct an examination of a witness as well as either an opening or closing speech. Other students (or members of the wider community) assume the roles of Court Clerk, Usher, witness, defendant and jury members. Four of the trials held last term were judged by Criminal Judges from Canterbury Crown Court.