Wed 05 Apr 2023

Reflections on an Easter mock court case

As part of a series by the firm's Employee Resource Groups highlighting different religious festivals celebrated by our diverse workforce, Lucia Clark speaks about Easter. 

This Easter, I had the opportunity to be involved in a rather different type of court case - a Fatal Accident Inquiry (or "FAI").  This FAI was quite unique, being an Inquiry into the death of Jesus…

This event was organised by the Lawyers Christian Fellowship, and set up as a mock court case, imagined to have happened shortly after the death of Jesus in around AD33.  The aim, as with any FAI, was to find out the cause of the death, and whether it could have been prevented. 

Given the timing, the Inquiry was conducted under (imagined) Roman jurisdiction.  A lawyer representing the Roman authorities sought to argue that Jesus was a common criminal who had been justly executed for the crime of blasphemy.  Opposing Counsel for the friends and family sought to argue that there was something more going on.  My role was a departure from my usual courtroom appearances, as I was clerk of court - although that meant I could mostly sit back and just enjoy the drama.  We had great fun with the witnesses: the centurion who carried out the execution (obviously appearing in full Roman armour); the high priest who sought the death; Mary Magdalene; and the apostle Paul.  Our witnesses were mostly actors, who were initially a bit taken aback to be subject to full cross-examination by the lawyers!  But this meant there was a real unscripted, ad lib element, which I think really added to the true courtroom-feel of the event. 

Easter is the main religious festival for Christians, whose faith centres around who Jesus really was, His death on the cross, and His resurrection.  Christians believe Jesus is God, who died in our place.  The aim of the event was therefore to use legal process and skills to examine the events of the Easter story.  Did Jesus really die?  Was he just a man, subject to fair (or unfair) treatment by the authorities of the time?  Or is there more to this story? 

And the outcome?  Well, that would be a spoiler.  If you're interested, the event was recorded, and you can watch here.

Enjoy the expert advocacy, the courtroom drama and the theological debate!  

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