Structure of Competition Rounds

Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition

Pre-trial Events.The Bailiff will collect Team Identification Forms from the teams and distribute to the Presiding Judge and scorers. These forms should be used to identify the team members by real name on the score sheets. The Bailiff will announce that the courtroom be cleared except for persons affiliated with the two participating teams and visitors.

Opening Court. The Bailiff will open court and the Presiding Judge will rise to the bench. The Presiding Judge will (1) ask the Bailiff to call the day’s calendar, (2) ask if the attorneys for each side are ready and (3) ask the Bailiff to swear all the witnesses in at once.

The Trial. The participants are timed for each of the events and may receive a penalty for exceeding time limits.

1. Opening Statement (5 minutes per side)
2. Direct and Redirect (optional) Examinations. (20 minutes per side)
3. Cross and Recross (optional) Examinations. (14 minutes per side)
4. Closing Argument (5 minutes per side)

The Plaintiff/Prosecution gives their opening statement first. The Prosecution/Plaintiff gives their closing argument first. The Plaintiff/Prosecution may reserve up to one minute of its closing time for a rebuttal. Rebuttal by the Prosecution/Plaintiff is limited to the scope of the Defense’s closing argument.

Attorneys are not required to use the entire time allotted to each part of the trial. However, time remaining in one part of the trial MAY NOT be transferred to another part of the trial.

An official timekeeper is assigned to each trial. However, each team is permitted to have its own timekeeper, who may use timekeeping aids (i.e., stopwatch and time cards) and is permitted to sit in, or next to, the jury box, but should be behind and out of the way of the scoring judges. It is the responsibility of a team to object to its adversary exceeding the time limits.

Time for objections, extensive questioning from the Presiding Judge, or administering the oath will not be counted as part of the allotted time during examination of witnesses and opening and closing statements. Time does not stop for introduction of exhibits.

Recess for Deliberation/Scoring. The Presiding Judge will call a recess of the court for the scorers to deliberate and score the teams. The teams and spectators should leave the courtroom. Scorers may deliberate on the merits and discuss the teams’ performance, but may not deliberate on the scores.

Collection of Score Sheets. The Bailiff will collect the score sheets and verify that all information needed has been provided.

Comments to Teams. The Bailiff will bring the teams back into the Courtroom. The Presiding Judge and the scorers may take a short period of time to make comments.

Closing of Court. Once comments, if any, have been made, the Bailiff will close the Court upon the Presiding Judge’s request.