Staff at the Royal Courts of Justice stepped in to provide a venue for a social mobility mooting competition after the electrical fire which shut the Old Bailey last week.

The London Irish Lawyers Association (LILA) was set to host the final of its Trailblazer contest, which aims to identify some of the brightest young legal minds across the island of Ireland, in the historic Court One. But when the court was evacuated, and rallied by LILA supporter Her Honour Judge Rafferty KC, judges and firms across London offered up alternative venues. The LILA’s committee was bowled over, however, to be told on Thursday afternoon that staff at the RCJ were willing to stay late on Friday so Court Five could be used.

The teams (consisting of one university student and one secondary school pupil) flew in from Cork and Belfast and were treated to a whirlwind tour of legal London on Friday, before donning wigs and gowns to appear before Rafferty and her usher for the evening, the Honourable Mrs Justice McGowan, in a contested bail application.

After a finely balanced hearing, bail was denied and the Cork team, Alyson O’Kelly-Lynch (University College Cork) and Chinedu Okonkwo (Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG), emerged as winners. The evening ended with a celebration party at the offices of international firm Pinsent Masons.