Real-life court drama at UC

21 September 2011

UC law students are being exposed to real-life legal dramas right on their doorstep.

UC law students are being exposed to real-life legal dramas right on their doorstep.

Since the beginning of this month the University of Canterbury’s School of Law has been hosting the District Court, with civil trials being held in the School’s ground floor Moot Court.

Associate Professor Richard Scragg, Dean and Head of School, said he was contacted by the Ministry of Justice who were aware the University’s moot room followed the same design as a modern court room, bar the one exception that its public gallery extends around to where the judge sits.

He was delighted the University agreed to fling open its courtroom doors to accommodate the Ministry of Justice for its District Court Civil hearings. The University premises will not be used for criminal proceedings.

“Canterbury Law School values its close relationship with the Christchurch legal profession and it is a pleasure to give this support.”

Professor Scragg said it was a win-win situation as the Ministry has ongoing needs for accommodation because the majority of central city courtrooms are not yet accessible post-quake and it gave UC an engaging point of difference from other law schools in the country.

“It is a unique situation in New Zealand and may well be in the world too. We’ve actually got a genuine court operating in our School of Law and for the vast majority of civil trials there will be a public gallery so students can go in and watch what’s happening.”

It is likely the District Court will use the room for hearings for at least the remainder of the year and possibly the agreement will be extended. The Environment Court will also sit on campus next month and there is talk of The High Court (Civil Jurisdiction) using the School’s facilities.

The judiciary will be formally welcomed by the University later this month.

For online information on justice services operating in Christchurch go to: http://www.justice.govt.nz/.

For more information please contact:
Maria De Cort
Communications Officer
Communications & External Relations
Mobile: +64 27 299 0741
maria.decort@canterbury.ac.nz  

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