Peterborough - Roma students try out a career in law!

11 March 2024
Peterborough - Roma students try out a career in law!

Peterborough Magistrates Court recently played host to a number of Roma young people, who were there with other students from their school, to find out more about how the law worked – and to maybe even one day become judges, magistrates, lawyers and court staff themselves!

The students, from Queen Katharine Academy, Peterborough, even took part in a mock trial during their visit, which was organised by Diversity and Tribunal Judge Rosemary Lloyd. The students each played a part in the trial, including judge, solicitors, barrister, jury and court clerks and ushers.

“I enjoyed wearing the gown and wig,” said Martin, who played the role of a solicitor.  “I was very excited when I was told we were going to the Magistrates Court,” he added. “I did not know what to expect. It was a good opportunity for me. After I went to the court, I felt that I could have actually have a chance to become a lawyer!”


Marlene Flor, Accelerated Curriculum Teacher at Queen Katharine Academy – which has over 57 different languages spoken among its student cohort – said that the experience was of great value to the students – as well as being great fun!”

“Some quiet students surprised us in the role play by fully embracing their role; they enabled students to produce truly valuable responses because their questions and statements were so good,” said Marlene Flor. 

“One thing that struck me was that one of the session magistrates talked about his background (which was similar to many of our students) and talked about his journey to becoming a magistrate; he never believed he’d be in that position.  It showed our students that you can achieve anything.” 


Fabricio played the part of the judge in the mock trial – and enjoyed it because he liked being in control! “I liked being in charge, asking witnesses to come to the stand and ordering everyone,” said Fabricio. “I was surprised because I thought the court would be bigger. Being part of the mock trial helped me because I realised the importance of good behaviour, and my attitude has improved. I (…) came away on the bus thinking of what I want to be in future.”

Over one in ten of Queen Katharine Academy’s students are estimated to be Roma from the Czech Republic, and over half of all the students do not have English as their first language. To support their Roma students and other international students to reach their full potential, the Academy has a special community liaison team to support them – funded by the National Lottery - including speakers of Czech, Slovak, Romanian and Romani, who work to empower Roma families and Roma students. Many of the students and their families have seen further and higher education denied to Roma children in segregated and impoverished communities across Europe.


Judge Rosemary Lloyd is keen to see more students visiting courts across the UK, including magistrates courts, crown courts – and even the High Court.

“Diversity judges across the UK are very keen to work with students and young people to better understand our justice system, and to give an inside view of the UK legal system,” said Judge Lloyd. “This can involve visits to the courts to take part in a mock trial to play the role of the judge, defendant, legal representatives, witnesses, clerk, usher and jury; all using a prepared script to reach a verdict.”

“The mock trial can also take place in a school or college,” added Judge Lloyd. “The trials can cover different scenarios such as knife-crime or cyber-bullying. Students can also have a question-and-answer session with judges. Judges can also visit schools and colleges to talk about different areas of law such as discrimination and human rights.”


“I was really nervous when I had to direct the witness to take the Oath and I kept making mistakes,” said Sophia, who eventually enjoyed playing the part of the barrister. “I feel like I could do better if I went back,” she added. “I thought the court was going to be bigger.  I thought afterward I could actually be a lawyer!”

Helena Ground, International Lead at the Queen Katharine Academy, said that the visit was inspirational for the students.

“Our students thoroughly enjoyed themselves and came away feeling truly inspired - many of them were telling me how they now want to pursue a career in the legal sector,” said Helena Ground. “It also really opened their eyes to the issue of Hate Crime, as well as the legal processes and support in place for those who have been victims,” she added.

Rafeal, who played the part of a witness, enjoyed the mock trial and said that it made him think deeply about himself, even though he doubted that he wanted to work in law. “It helped me understand how life can be and it can be really difficult and challenging in court,” he said. “You have to be honest with yourself. It was good to watch and learn about law and crime but I do not think I want a career in law.”

If you are interested in applying for a court visit – or for a judge to visit your school, please contact Judge Rosemary Lloyd by email on

TT News

(Photographs © Queen Katharine Academy)