Justice role-play

Thousands of pupils are learning about justice.

Thanks to this project, hundreds of secondary school pupils, from Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders, have attended a hearing at the law courts, at the end of which, in a role-playing game, they act as lawyers, defendants, victims, judges and public prosecutors. Under the supervision of professionals, these senior secondary school pupils enact an actual trial. This is the first time in Belgium that a large number of young people have been able to experience the justice system in this way.

Confidence and knowledge

The project, entitled “JUSTICE role play” (only available in Dutch or French), is a new educational programme launched by the High Council of Justice (HCJ), in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation, via the BELvue museum’s educational project.

American-style justice

Young people think that they understand the justice system, but they associate it too often with the Crown Court. Moreover, their perceptions are heavily influenced by TV, and in particular American series. The project originated from an observation made year after year, namely that citizens feel that they are insufficiently informed about the justice system and have little confidence in it.

That is why the HCJ requested that the King Baudouin Foundation organise an educational programme for pupils.

Role playing

The possibility for pupils to gain a real experience of justice is the main plus of this interactive programme. Young people follow a trial from the front row, before playing the roles of the judge, public prosecutor, defendant and lawyer in a fictitious case. As the test-classes have shown, this active learning method produces real results.

Pupils are primed in the classroom prior to the event: teachers receive a brochure, “The illustrated young lawyer”, containing information sheets on the justice system and ideas for classroom activities for the pupils. The pupils have the opportunity, after having attended a trial, to play the roles of the participants that they have observed and to ask experts questions on how the justice system works.