The state-wide Mock Trial Competition begins with over 400 State and Private schools each year. There are four qualifying rounds, followed by finals elimination rounds of the best sixty-four schools to qualify. Hornsby Girls High has often reached the elimination finals.
The Mock trial group provides a team of six for each trial. There are two witnesses, two barristers, a solicitor who instructs them, and a court official. Each mock trial is conducted after school, and occupies more than two and a half hours. The team score is based on:
- the preparation of the witnesses and their ability to cope under cross-examination
- the manner and questioning of the barristers, and their opening and closing addresses
- the participation of the solicitor in conducting the case and
- the efficiency of the court official swearing in witnesses, enforcing time limits and keeping a record of objections upheld and dismissed
The Law Society provides a magistrate to adjudicate each trial. The Hornsby team is coached by Mrs Debra Black, Head Teacher Social Sciences and Mrs Vanessa Gilmore, Legal Studies Teacher.
The students receive an excellent insight into law and court procedures, as well as thinking and reacting in pressure situations.
Western Sydney University High School Mooting Competition
Since 2016, Hornsby Girls High School have entered a team of four Year 11 students in the Western Sydney University Mooting Competition. Mooting involves arguing a hypothetical legal cast to an appeals court. Teams compete in a knockout competition where they develop their skills in advocacy, legal problem solving, application of law, constructing legal submissions and responding to questions put to them by judges. Mooting provides an opportunity for students to experience the presentation of arguments in real life court settings and provides insight into the type of work performed by a barrister.