Schoolchildren set to get their day in court
HE IS Scotland's most senior judge and more used to presiding over the complexities of the criminal justice system than a rabble of argumentative children.
But Lord Hamilton, the Lord Justice General, is about to take the unprecedented step of flinging open the doors of the Court of Session to a group of ten and 11-year-olds.
The children are so young he was required to give special dispensation for them to host mock cases in the supreme civil court of Scotland before some of his fellow judges.
The P7 pupils of Oxgangs, Pentland and Colinton primary school, all in Edinburgh, will host their own civil court cases tomorrow afternoon.
Each class has been separated into pursuers and defenders and will face the other schools in court.
The cases centre around a dispute over a mobile phone bill and will test the children's use of the English language, maths and analytical skills.
It also fits in with the Scottish Government's Curriculum for Excellence, by applying skills learned in school in real world environments.
Gerald Murphy, director of Chamberlain McBain debt recovery experts, who has advised the children in the run up to the case, said: "It's about bringing meaning to what children are learning in school.
"The court case is not based on law. It will be judged on how good their English is, both written and orally presented. Because there is a mobile phone bill it will involve maths."
Susan Imrie, headteacher at Colinton, said: "It's all very well doing stuff in the classroom; this gives them proper real life context. Some will be pursuers, some will be defenders, and they will all be presenting before a real life judge."
Carolyn McGinlay, acting headteacher at Pentland, added: "The court case is centred around a dispute over an unpaid mobile phone bill. The children have been allocated roles and their remits involve investigating and researching in order to prepare a formal writ so they can present their case to Lord Kinclaven in court."
Lindsay Cartwright, partner in employment law at Morton Fraser, who also advised the children, said: "The kids have been very good. It's interesting working with ten-year-olds - their minds work differently from adults, but they've got to grips with the issues and sometimes come at it from a completely different point of view."
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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