By Sarah Hammond, Clare Harris and Rani Krechster

On July 18th2014, the BABSEACLE office, in Chiang Mai, was transformed into a mock courtroom, as the University of Newcastle interns, the BABSEACLE Thailand team, law lecturers from Thaksin University, Thailand and other volunteers conducted a mock trial demonstration.

During their time with BABSEACLE, the University of Newcastle interns were tasked with drafting a mock trial scenario, to be used by universities, in order to help prepare for the inaugural Mock Trial event in Myanmar. This event will be held February 2015, at Dagon University, in Yangon. During this event, law students, from universities across the country, will participate with each other, to improve their access to justice, professional development and legal ethic values and practical legal skills as well as to , gain valuable advocacy experience and help develop professional networks.

The mock trial scenario was centered around the alleged theft of a bottle of face wash, from a supermarket, by a homeless woman. One of BABSEACLE’s core aims is to promote awareness of social justice issues in South East Asia, and the scenario focused on the social justice issue of homelessness.

Prosecutors were played by BABSEACLE team member, Ann, and by visiting Thaksin University law lecturer, Jack, while BABSEACLE team member, Bee, and Thaksin University law lecturer Got, played the roles of Defence Lawyers.

The Prosecutors and Defence Lawyers each called three witnesses, who were played by various BABSEACLE team members and University of Newcastle interns. The matter was presided three University of Newcastle interns, who played the role of Judges.

While the experience was a bit of a challenge for all involved, it provided all the participants a great opportunity to gain an insight into court processes. It also provided a very good opportunity for many of the non-naïveEnglish speakers to present and argue their case using the English language. In addition, the mock trial demonstration assisted the University of Newcastle interns to determine, not only the strengths and weaknesses of the scenario, but also its appropriateness for Myanmar and other law students. The University of Newcastle interns have now completed the scenario, incorporated the feedback, and gathered comments from many of the BABSEACLE directors and their DLA Piper and Herbert Smith Freehills partners.

All in all, the mock trial demonstration was a great success. The enthusiasm and cooperation, displayed by all participants, was very much appreciated. We look forward to seeing the case scenario soon to be used in Myanmar by all 18 law departments.

To watch the video of the mock trial demonstration, visit the ‘BABSEACLE’ YouTube channel here: