Learning about the Australian legal system and witnessing it first-hand, are two very different experiences. Year 11 Legal Studies students were privileged enough to find out on their excursion to the District and Supreme Courts in Brisbane on Tuesday.
Throughout the year we have explored the different fields of law, studied numerous relevant and important cases, and produced our own mock trials. So, the opportunity to observe court proceedings was not taken for granted.
Arriving at the Courts that morning, we noticed the atmosphere around us change; everyone was dressed formally, walking purposefully. Like bees to honey the class began to weave into the civil and criminal courts – listening to cases that involved charges such as armed robbery, drug possession, and the more serious charge of murder. Upon entering any courtroom, we respectfully bowed to the judge and took seats in the public gallery; the court etiquette itself was new and exciting. We listened attentively as prosecutors stated their case. We saw solicitors provide legal advice. We heard familiar terminology used. Ultimately though, it was the depth and importance of the trials and hearings that stood out most. The class was mindful however, that while we were enjoying the insight into the open trials, we were also witnessing real lives being changed and shaped by the law.
Some of the most memorable moments on Tuesday involved seeing jurors selected for duty, and watching as the opposition on a case debated in defence of their clients. Our first time in Court certainly went above and beyond our expectations.
The day honestly seemed to fly past us, as our minds became consumed in the cases we were seeing. Slowly, the chapters from our legal textbooks found greater meaning; theory had been put into practice. When departing at the end of the day, there was a consensus in the class, the highly complex inner-workings of the Supreme and District Courts are a marvel, one that is truly an integral and valuable part of our society and one that we are all grateful to have been able to appreciate in person.
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