The College’s Pre-Law students have visited Lancaster Crown Court and Castle to gain a better insight into the UK Legal system.

Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form offer a range of Pre-Professional Programmes which aim to help dedicated young people to achieve their dream careers in highly competitive industries. Pre-Law is aimed at those wishing to enter the legal professions and during the programme; students are able to attend trips and visits to universities and places of interest relevant to their intended career. The College also welcomes visiting experts who come into the classroom to offer an insight into their profession and students also receive specialist advice and guidance when applying for places on law related degree programmes.

During their latest trip, the Pre-Law group visited the Shire Hall, Lancaster Castle, which until March 2011 was a Category C prison.  The Castle is still used today as a Crown Court and it deals with trials of serious criminal offences, the sentencing of offenders committed for sentencing by the magistrates’ courts, and appeals from lower courts.

The group were given a guided tour of the building and were shown the splendid display of over 650 shields bearing Arms of every English Monarch from Richard The Lionheart onwards, as well as all the Constables of Lancaster Castle and the High Sheriffs Of Lancashire. They also learnt about the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612, which were held in the Castle and where the 10 convicted witches went to the gallows, on the moors above the town!

During time in court, the students were permitted to watch a robbery trial, which gave them a terrific insight into the workings and strict procedures of the court. For example, to take any photos in the court and its surrounding area could result in 2 years imprisonment!

Former Pendle Vale College student, Hassan Farid, who is hoping to read Law with Business Studies at University of Liverpool said, “I really enjoyed the trip because I was able to see both civil and criminal courts and actually watch a case.”

Scott Taylor, a former pupil of Shuttleworth College in Burnley who aims to read Law at Queen Mary, University of London said, “Exploring Lancaster Castle was interesting as I gained a sense of the treatment that criminals received hundreds of years ago. Going to the Crown Court gave me the motivation to become a barrister – and I will do it!”