Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the Edinburgh MiniTrials, held at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Many lawyers and court staff were involved. Along with three other members of the Faculty of Advocates, I played the role of a sheriff and watched as pupils from various Edinburgh high schools took over the courtroom.
As a member of the Bar it's always fun to get a taster of sitting in the judge's chair. I sat on the Bench with my script, nervously hoping I don't fluff the lines up. Sitting there I realised it's actually hard being a judge - the varying judges I have come into contact with over the course of my career always make it look so easy.
My nervousness made me appreciate that I won't be the only nervous one in the courtroom. I have to say though, I was astounded by the level of talent that was displayed by the pupils taking part. From excellent examination in chief to well thought out jury speeches, it was clear that the pupils participating had put a lot of hard work in and indeed will be an asset to whichever path they choose in the future.
Seeing this level of enthusiasm and talent was really eye opening for me and made giving up my Saturday well worth it. For the Scottish legal system to continually strengthen, as practicing lawyers, it's important that we help the younger generation develop. Giving these pupils a small taster of what it's like to be a lawyer could help inspire them into a career in law (or put them off...) and even if they choose a different career path, at least they will have had this opportunity to boost their confidence in public speaking. Working hand in hand with schools, we can help feed ambitions of pupils. MiniTrials is the perfect project for doing just that.
Safeena Rashid Advocate