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ULaw BPTC* students celebrate advocacy competition triumph

Two ULaw BPTC students have achieved fantastic success in this year’s The Times/Kingsley Napsley Student Advocacy Competition. Tom Worden came joint second place and Claire Carroll came third place, having argued the question: “Is it time to give anonymity to defendants accused of rape and other sexual crimes?”

*Now known as the Bar Professional Course (BPC).

Tom and Claire were among four finalists who showed off their advocacy skills in the competition final in front of a panel of judges chaired by Lady Justice Rafferty, the senior Court of Appeal judge, joined by an audience of around 100 pupils and students from schools and universities across the UK.

The duo entered the competition just before starting their BPTC studies. They were selected for the finals after fighting off competition from hundreds of other students, all of whom had to submit their initial argument in a short video.

The day also included presentations by Kingsley Napsley partners Sandra Paul, Julie Norris and John Harding, along with barrister Sophie Wood. Bernard Richmond QC of Lamb Building led a participatory session on the art of advocacy.

Tom, also a graduate of ULaw’s GDL course, argued that the principle of open justice would be undermined if those accused of sex crimes had anonymity. He said of the competition: “Standing on stage being grilled by Lady Justice Rafferty and the other judges in front of a big audience made the final a priceless experience. It was a great chance to improve my advocacy skills with the help of some of the country’s best lawyers.”

Find out more about The Times/Kingsley Napsley Student Advocacy Competition.

Claire put forward a clear case against anonymity for defendants accused of sex crimes, labelling the prospect “dangerous”. An aspiring barrister, Claire said: “I entered the competition because I was keen to put my skills of legal analysis and advocacy to the test. I felt privileged to be able to put forward my argument in front of such a distinguished panel.

“I hope that being a finalist will convey to future employers that I am someone who has worked hard at developing a high standard of advocacy. I strongly encourage other students to apply for next year’s competition.”

Jacqueline Cheltenham, BPTC course leader, said: “These brilliant results in The Times/Kingsley Napsley competition are a testament to the extremely high quality of our BPTC intake, showing that our incoming students are already achieving marvellous successes in advocacy. We are delighted to be starting the academic year in this way and are justifiably proud of their achievement.”

Watch Tom’s submission videos below: