Mock trials as a method to improve practical and ethical skills in legal education

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Are mock trials effective as a learning and assessment method in legal education? Do they enhance students’ learning and engagement? In what ways do they develop learners’ communities and ethical reasoning? Are there differences in the efficacy of face-to-face and online mock trial simulations? This work sheds light on the efficacy of mock trial simulations in legal education, and evaluates the benefits of this learning method in both online and face-to-face pedagogical modes. Recent years have brought many new challenges to traditional face-to-face lecturing in higher education, including in law. In particular, it has become more and more challenging to engender a culture of participation and engagement, and to attract students’ attendance, and enhance their complex ethical thinking and attention in the classroom. The development of online learning environments did not resolve the participation and engagement problem, and introduced additional challenges, including concerns over students’ sense of belonging to a learners’ community. In legal education, this disengagement process has led to reduction in students’ preparedness for joining the profession and acquiring practical lawyering skills. A growing literature in education have identified active and experiential learning as one of the most effective methods to enhance the learning experience and improve learning outcomes in higher education. However, to date there is very limited data available about the actual effects of mock trials on students’ engagement, satisfaction, ethical reasoning, and learning outcomes in legal education, and no study thus far have compared the impact of mock trial simulations on students’ satisfaction and learning outcomes in online versus traditional face-to-face settings. Using surveys and interviews with students who participated in Deakin Law School’s mock trial assessment in a large, Priestley 11 unit (Evidence), this work fills this gap in the literature, providing nuanced data on the efficacy of this important teaching and learning method.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventProfessional Legal Education Conference 2020: Harmonising Legal Education: Aligning the Stages in Lifelong Learning for Lawyers - Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 1 Oct 20203 Oct 2020


ConferenceProfessional Legal Education Conference 2020
CityGold Coast
Internet address

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