Mock Trial Philosophy and Rules
The purpose of the tournament rules is to create a level playing
field so all students can derive maximum educational benefit from
participation. To that end, teacher and attorney-coaches are
encouraged to emphasize the educational rather than the competitive
aspect of the tournament.
The Massachusetts Bar Association's annual Mock Trial Program is
governed by the rules set forth in the Case Packet. Teams are asked
to pay particular attention to the following:
KNOWLEDGE OF THE RULES: Teams are responsible
and accountable for knowing and abiding by all the tournament
rules. Rules may not be waived even by mutual consent of the
parties. Any violation of the rules could result in disciplinary
action that may consist of forfeiture or disqualification for the
COURTROOM COURTESY/DECORUM: To allow students
to experience first hand how a real courtroom operates, the
Massachusetts Bar Association schedules all trial enactments before
sitting judges in district courthouses, whenever possible. While
mock trials are taking place, the court is conducting its regular
business. Accordingly, all students, teachers, and spectators are
expected to conduct themselves with maturity and decorum, and to
treat host judges and all courthouse personnel with all due
TRIAL SPACE COURTESY: Trial enactments are
subject to the physical constraints of the individual courtrooms.
Students and spectators may not rearrange courtroom furniture or
remove equipment from any other courthouse office unless they have
received the permission of the court. Teams are responsible for
restoring the courtroom to its original condition at the conclusion
of the trial, ready for the next day's business.
PLAGIARISM: Arguments presented in court are
expected to be the team's own effort. As with all academic work,
plagiarism is prohibited. With the ready availability of videotapes
of the trials, a team might inadvertently appropriate another
team's strategy or arguments. Coaches should exercise supervision
over the use of videotapes to ensure that they are used
WITHDRAWAL/CANCELLATIONS: The decision to
participate in the Mock Trial Program is a serious commitment and
should not be undertaken lightly. It is inconsiderate when a school
withdraws from a trial and/or the tournament at the last minute,
after the other side has prepared carefully for the trial, made
plans to leave school early and arranged for transportation.
Withdrawing on the day of the trial is also insensitive to the
courts, which have agreed to clear courtroom space, and to the
judges and attorneys who have volunteered to hear the cases. Teams
are asked to consider carefully their decision to participate in
the tournament and then honor their commitment.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please call the
Mock Trial staff at (617) 338-0570 or e-mail Mock Trial.