Overview of New Virtual Rules 20.21

Please refer to the 20.21 Mock Trial Middle and High School Competition Handbook for a true reference to the new virtual rules. This document is provided as a summary of the new virtual rules ONLY.

1.2.A    Code of Conduct: Arrival Times
A team arriving more than 30 minutes late to any competition round is subject to disqualification in the current competition year and the following year at the discretion of the SC Bar staff.

1.2.C    Code of Conduct: Teacher Coach Requirement
The teacher coach, assistant teacher coach and/or pre-approved school sponsors sign in for entire competition.

1.2.E    Code of Conduct: Violations by Visitors/Virtual Observers
Rule violations made by virtual observers can subject their team to be disciplined under Rule 1.2, 6.1 and 6.4 

1.3.A    Emergencies – Virtual Competitions
This rule deals with technical difficulties, sicknesses, permissible recesses to resolve issues, emergency substitutes, scoring for emergencies, etc. 

1.5    Entry into Competition Venues
All participating students and coaches must sign up for a free virtual Zoom account prior to the competition dates.

2.1    The Case
The SC Bar provides the rules, case, and exhibits in a digital format. Performing students refer to their personal copies of the digital materials provided, which are not shown via Zoom. 

3.3    Bailiff
There is no performing bailiff. The virtual host starts the round and all witnesses are deemed to be sworn.

3.5    Team Roster Form
This form is due 48 hours prior to the competition. It can be changed before noon the day before the first round.

4.1    Courtroom Setting
Each participant has a separate Zoom account/device. Participants use a screen display name in format provided. Only competing students have cameras/audio on; otherwise muted. The witness, direct-examining attorney, and cross-examining attorney must have their cameras turned on for the entire witness examination.

4.4.A    Trial Sequence: Standing During Trial
Student attorneys may stand or remain seated for the trial, except that all objections shall be made while seated. All of which should be practiced to be in camera view for standing/sitting without camera adjustments. 

4.4.D    Trial Sequence: Opening Court
There is no bailiff and the room host will start the round.

4.4.F    Trial Sequence: Exhibits
Teams are responsible for printing their own case and exhibits.

4.4.G    Trial Sequence: Objections
The student attorney makes objections while remaining seated.

4.4.I    Trial Sequence: Recess
There is no recess for the virtual competition.

4.5.B    Timekeeping: Aids for Timekeeping
Timekeepers note time used in the chat feature at the time increments provided.

4.5.D    Timekeeping: Proper Communication
Using the chat feature, the Plaintiff timekeeper reports time used for their opening, Case in Chief, and closing. The Defense timekeeper does the same for their portions.  

4.5.E    Timekeeping: Improper Communication
Timekeepers may only type “Stop” in the chat feature when time has expires and may not type stop reminders in the chat feature.

4.5.F    Timekeeping: Conferring Times / Reporting Discrepancies or Overages
For virtual, the only difference is that timekeepers confirm time after each segment via the chat feature.

4.5.H    Timekeeping: Displaying Timecards
Timekeepers are still using timecards, but typing time used in the chat feature.

4.9.A    Student Performance: Dress Attire
For virtual, students dress as professionally as possible within their means to include tops and bottoms.

4.9.F    Student Performance: Props / Demonstrative Aids
Students and coaches use display screen names, which is not a violation of this rule.
Correct display screen name: P/D – Team Code – Name – Role (Teacher/Attorney Coach, Attorney, Witness)

4.9.G    Student Performance: Virtual Background and Presentation
Virtual and courtroom backgrounds are restricted and penalized (Rule 4.9.C). Use a minimally decorated wall, or a hung black/white sheet. Participants are seated at a desk/table – not in beds. Lighting/view/audio are test prior. 

4.10    Communication
If not performing, audio/video are on mute. Chat may only be used by timekeepers for reporting time or for a student or coach to alert Room Host of a technical emergency. Only the six participating team members may communicate with one another via computers, cell phones, etc. When a witness is under examination, only Zoom communication is permitted with that witness. Observers, coaches or non-performing students may NOT communicate with performing students in person or in any other form during the round. 

4.11    Viewing a Trial
No observers other than team members/coaches are permitted to sign into Zoom. If observers, coaches, or non-performing students are in the same physical room as competing students, observers may not communicate with the students in any form or be in camera’s view. Rounds are recorded, unless a special circumstance is presented in advance. If permitted, links to the recorded rounds will be released after the competition.

4.12    Electronics: Cell Phones, Video Cameras, and Cameras
The SC Bar is responsible for all recordings. Personal recording of rounds is not permitted. If a team notifies the SC Bar not to be filmed, the SC Bar will not record that virtual round.

4.13.B    Procedure for Introducing Exhibits - Virtually
For virtual, the witness has pre-printed affidavits/exhibits in case prompted by attorney to refer to them. Please review the new steps in place for introducing exhibits virtually.

4.14.A    Notes
Student attorneys may still communicate with one another during the trial. For virtual, communication is via personal messaging, but not through the chat feature in Zoom.

4.14.B    Technology
Technology is permitted, but all devices should be muted unless performing.

4.15.B    Conduct: Visitors
Visitors are not permitted to log in separately outside of coaches and students.  Visitors may sit off to the side of the performing student - not in camera’s view and no communication with the performing student in any form.

4.16    Most Effective Nominations by Teams     
This process has been updated since rules were released. Teams announce most effectives prior to dismissal and the Room Host documents the nominations. Peer certificates are mailed with scoresheets after the competition.

4.17    Professionalism and Civility Award Nominated by Teams
Teams discuss this nomination at the end of the third round. Teacher coaches complete/submit a ballot link provided prior to the competition within 15 minutes of the round concluding.

5.6    Format of Competitions
The one-day regional competition was expanded to two days, and state from two days to three days. 

6.1    Dispute Hearing Process (Post-Trial)
The only difference is that teams move into private Breakout Rooms to discuss any violations and that the Room Host completes the rules violation form on behalf of the teams based on what is reported. 

7.1    Registration and Eligibility: Artists
Courtroom artists are not competing in virtual competitions.

8.1    Registration and Eligibility: Journalists
Courtroom journalists are not competing in virtual competitions.