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Aarhus BSS gets its own courtroom

Students and employees at Aarhus BSS - Aarhus University can now simulate and train their skills at legal proceedings in real-life surroundings. A big plus for the whole department, says the head of department.

2016.12.02 | Andreas G. Jensby

4 students simulate legal proceedings in front of judges. Photo: Aarhus BSS kommunikation.

Aarhus University now has its own courtroom. Not for the purpose of solving internal disputes, but rather of offering students and employees at the Department of Law a chance to simulate and train their skills at legal proceedings in real-life surroundings.

The courtroom is named the Max Sørensen Courtroom in honour of Professor (LLD) Max Sørensen, who was employed at Aarhus University as a professor in jurisprudence from 1947 until 1972 when he became the first Danish judge at the European Court of Justice. The Max Sørensen memorial fund has contributed to the decoration of the courtroom.

Simulation of legal proceedings is important

Each year, students from the Department of Law take part in four so-called moot courts, which are large, international competitions in legal proceedings. Typically, the participating students are given a fictional case and must then develop a pleading and compete with law students from other universities all over the world.

According to Assistant Professor Natalie Videbæk Munkholm, who is in charge of one of the four moot courts, the new courtroom works incredibly well in terms of training the students.

“Just as in sports, its all about being able to train as close to reality as possible. The simulation of legal proceedings represents the core of our legal competitions and is of course also extremely important for preparing the students for real-life legal work.  So this is a good thing in every way,” she says.

Modern surroundings

The new room is identical to the courtrooms used throughout the country. The inventory is held in light colours and contains audiovisual equipment to facilitate the use of films, images and other evidence. The room also allows for video conferences via big screens located across the room.

“Hopefully the courtroom will also become part of the teaching on several courses  and give students an opportunity to try their hand at pleading or judging a case in a real court room,” says Professor in Civil Proceedings Kim Sommer Jensen, who is also responsible for the popular Vis Moot competition.

Head of Department Tine Sommer is delighted with the new facilities. 

“We strive to give our students the best framework for being able to act in relevant surroundings, so that they are well-prepared when they graduate. The courtroom is a great addition to our efforts to create an attractive study environment for current and future students and researchers,” she says.

Aarhus BSS