Year 12 Law Students’ trip to Luton Courts
Year 12 Law students’ trip to Luton Courts
Year 12 students spent a day visiting the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts in Luton. These are both Criminal Courts which hear trials and/or sentences for defendants charged with criminal offences. The Crown Court hears more serious offences such as; Murder, Manslaughter, Rape and Robbery. The Magistrates’ Court hears less serious offences, such as road traffic offences, common assault and low level thefts. However, all cases have an initial hearing in the Magistrates’ Court.
The day kicked off with a talk from a Court Usher who explained the layout of the Courtroom and gave students a list of scheduled cases for the day. The students split into smaller groups and spent time in several of the Courtrooms. They were able to watch trials on serious sexual assault, robbery and wounding. In one Court, a notorious gang were on trial for multiple offences including conspiracy to murder. The students were able to observe important parts of the criminal court process, including; swearing of the jury, witness evidence, cross-examination and closing speeches.
The Magistrates’ Court is a faster pace as it deals with many preliminary matters and lower level crimes. Being a Monday morning, this was a particularly busy day and the students were able to view many interesting cases. They watched a preliminary case for a Murder (first appearance involving a statement of the facts and an initial plea), many custody cases involving sentences and bail matters. A Magistrate took some time out to speak with the students about his role, which is part-time and on a voluntary basis.
The day has inspired several students to aim for a career in law. Joshua Huntley, spoke of the day and said “I was surprised at the differences between both Courts and am amazed at how the public are able to watch such graphic cases”. Hannah McGarvey said “My favourite case was the Murder trial, it was not what I expected. When I watch trials on TV such as Judge Judy, it seems much more organised and often even aggressive! Whereas, when I was at Luton they were calmer and not as intimidating.” Callum Shortt said “We are excited to go to another court to see different cases and gain a further understanding of what goes on inside a courtroom”.
Team Leader of Law