Law Day in Thunder Bay

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Ontario Court of Justice

Law Day in Thunder BayTHUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Law Association is hosting the last ever tours of the Thunder Bay Superior Court of Justice Court House on Thursday, April 11, 2013, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The court house is closing its doors this fall. It is located at 277 Camelot Street, Thunder Bay.

 These tours are part of the Law Day 2013 activities which include mock trials prepared and conducted by local high school students, a grade 7 and grade 8 Charter  challenge and a Grade 5 poster contest.

 The winners of the Grade 5 Poster Contest and Grade 7 and 8 Charter Challenge  will be announced at the commencement of the Court House tours.

Law Day is a national event which celebrates the signing of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Originated by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and first held in Canada in 1983, Law Day is aimed at educating and informing the public about the role and importance of the law. Since many people have a limited knowledge about the law and how the legal system works, Law Day empowers the public at large. It provides an excellent opportunity for the profession to educate the public about the vital role that lawyers and the judiciary serve in guaranteeing an open, independent and unbiased judicial system.

In other parts of Ontario, Law Day is a collaborative project organized through the partnership of the Ontario Bar Association (OBA), the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN), Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Education Network of Ontario (ENO).  The Thunder Bay Law Association recognizes the importance of this initiative, and through the effort of local lawyers and other volunteers from the Thunder Bay area, plays host to a number of activities to promote the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the legal profession, in Thunder Bay.

Law Day is celebrated annually and will be held this year on Thursday April 11, 2013 and Friday, April 12, 2013 in Thunder Bay.  Local activities celebrating the law range from the Grade 5 Poster Contest, the Secondary School Mock Trial competition, the Grade 7 and 8 Charter Challenge, as well as an Open House at the Superior Court of Justice. 

Superior Court of Justice Open House

The public is invited to stroll through this historic building before it closes its doors once and for all after the construction of the new Consolidated Court House is completed.  Local judiciary and members of the Bar, as well as court house staff, will be on hand from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. to greet the public and answer questions as they walk through the historical Court House building to view the court rooms, the jail cells as well as the judges’ chambers.

The is the ninth year that Law Day will be formally celebrated in Thunder Bay, which has now become an annual event.  All members of the public are invited and encouraged to come out and participate in this year’s celebration.

Grade 5 Poster Contest

Within the Grade 5 Poster Contest, students are encouraged to create a poster about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They can express themselves using any type of material (i.e. poster paper, bristol board, crayons, paints, etc.)

This contest is a fantastic opportunity to teach and learn in a fun and unique way, and winners will be posted on April 11, 2013 at the Open House held during the evening in the Superior Court of Justice.

Charter Challenge

The Charter Challenge is aimed at Grade 7 and 8 students within the city of Thunder Bay, and asks that students answer a series of ten questions which are related to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Correctly completed forms are then eligible for a variety of prizes. 

High School Mock Trials

The Secondary School Mock Trial experience provides an opportunity for Thunder Bay secondary students to flex their legal minds!

Students are given a scenario that outlines an alleged criminal offence and they will act out the roles of crown attorneys, defence lawyers, witnesses and various accuseds. This exercise demonstrates how Canadian law not only guarantees rights but also imposes responsibilities on the members of our society.

Participants will learn about the Criminal Code, the rules of evidence and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The tournament will also allow students to develop public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn how to effectively organize and deliver oral and written presentations.

The Thunder Bay Law Association arranges for local lawyers to volunteer as advisors and a justice from the Superior Court of Justice to act as the judge in the Mock Trial sessions.  Students are then guided through the rules and protocols of the court as they all present their case within the court room setting of the Superior Court of Justice.

Four local high schools – Westgate, Hammarskjold, St. Ignatius and St. Patrick’s – will be involved in the Mock Trial session to be held on Friday, April 12, 2013.  St. Patrick’s and St. Ignatius will go head to head during the morning session from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and Westgate and Hammarskjold will compete in the afternoon from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.  Both Mock Trial events will be held at the Superior Court of Justice located at 277 Camelot Street, Thunder Bay, Ontario.

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