KITTED out in wigs and gowns, schoolchildren got the chance to play judge and jury in a mock court trial.
Five schools took part in the event at the University of Portsmouth’s law school.
The youngsters had to form a prosecution and defence case for a young woman who had been accused of theft.
The trial was part of the Passport to Success scheme, organised by the city’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Cheryl Buggy.
The Year Nine pupils used a mock courtroom at the university’s law centre in Anglesea Road.
Clare Royston, the head of Year Nine at St Edmund’s School in Landport, said: ‘It was great fun.
‘They tried on the gowns and the wigs and they learned all about the court and the justice system.
‘Some of them said they had an interest in being a lawyer but had no idea how it all worked, so this was great for them.
‘They all enjoyed taking part in this scheme and all been tried their best.’
The Charter Academy in Somers Town went up against St John’s College in Southsea.
Then Portsmouth High School in Southsea, St Edmund’s School and the Admiral Lord Nelson School in Copnor held their own court sessions.
Students were awarded points based on their efforts and the two best performing schools will be invited back to fight it out in the courtroom again.
Passport project manager Joe McGoldrick said: ‘They all did well.
‘It is a complete mock-up of a real court so it was intimidating for them to start with.
‘But once they got comfortable they did well.
‘We’ve got a few more schools to go yet and then we will be scoring them all.
‘The winners will do it all over again but we’re going to go a bit further and see if we can get some sort of crime scene set up and introduce some forensic evidence.’