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Old Bailey Trip

Student reporter, Jesse, recounts the recent Excellence in Scholarship Programme trip to the Old Bailey.

On Tuesday 20th February, a group of 20 students spread across both Year 9 & 10, visited the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey, led by Ms. Leaver. The boys observed court hearings and were taken on a tour around the Royal Courts of Justice. They started their journey at approximately 9.00 am at Woodside Park and reached their final destination at Chancery Lane.

They arrived at the Royal Court of Justice eager to learn and experience something completely new to them all. After passing through security, they patiently waited for their tour guide from whom   they learnt about the history of the building.

It was built on 4 December 1882 and took 7 years to complete! It was architected by George Edmund Street who sadly passed during the making.

The gathering of boys were informed as to why judges wear wigs and the reason being, in the 17th century, Charles I’s son Charles II of England fled to France to escape after losing in the Battle of Worcester to Oliver Cromwell. Whilst in France, Charles II noticed the fashion of the Court of Louis XIV for powdered wigs was very evident. Upon his return from France, Charles II explained why he came back wearing a wig. This then became a trend for the smart members of English society.

The Royal Courts of Justice are split into 3 divisions. They are: The Queen’s Division, The Chancery Division and the Family Division. The Chancery Division deals with business law, trusts law, probate law, insolvency, and land law in relation to issues of equity. The Queen’s Bench Division deal with cases relating to personal injury, negligence, breach of contract, breach of a statutory duty, breach of the Human Rights Act 1998, libel, slander and other torts, non-payment of a debt and ‘enforcement orders’ which allow the court to ensure that a party complies with a judgment against them. The Family Division deal with cases regarding forced marriage, female genital mutilation, cases where a child who is the subject of legal proceedings must be protected and this protection is not possible under the Children Act 1989 and applications for financial relief where a divorce has taken place outside England and Wales.

After their didactic tour, they all “took a walk down Carey St.” This is a famous saying as most shops on Carey St. during the 18th and 19t century went into bankruptcy.

Not long after, the boys stopped to have lunch before making their way to the Old Bailey. Everyone stared in awe at the statue “Lady Justice” who towered 200ft over the street. In her right hand, she holds the sword of retribution and in her left the equally balanced scales of justice.

On the day, there were 7 court hearings: 2 of which were terrorism related, 1 fraud-related and the remaining 4 were murder trials. The boys were shortly escorted to Court Room 16. This was the trial of 3 young boys aged 14, 14 and 15 who were accused of murder after 18-year old Saif Abdul- Majid was stabbed twice in the neck in Neasden, North- West London. The trial was said to be vastly gripping and intriguing. The boys said that seeing the mix of emotions between the people in the court was inordinately overwhelming. The boys watched the defendant witness speak and a transcript of one of the defendant’s interviews, after which time drew a close to their day at the Old Bailey.

On returning to school at approximately 5.30pm. Jesse, from 9F said “Our trip to the Old Bailey has given us a more informative insight into competing against other schools in a Magistrates Court Mock Trial. After I leave school, I definitely want to study Law.” The boys that participated were part of the Excellence in Scholarship Programme and enjoyed the experience immensely. On behalf of all who were involved we would like to thank Ms. Leaver for giving us this amazing opportunity.