Fairytale Trials

Fractured Legal Fairytale Trials Program for K-12 Students

Based on a concept from CLCT Director and Chancellor Professor of Law Frederic Lederer, our Fairytale Trial program (formerly called Fractured Legal Fairytale Trials) is a public outreach mission to teach K-12 students the basics of the U.S. justice system. Each year, elementary and middle school students in Virginia are invited to participate in a mock trial in which all of the witnesses and parties are based on classic fairytale characters or creatures. The characters and their respective classic stories are each given an odd or idiosyncratic twist that creates a legal problem that is at the center of the mock trial. CLCT staff and graduate research assistants participate in the mock trials as witnesses, judges, and counsel. The K-12 students, at the end of the trial, will serve as the jury and determine the verdict.

Although fanciful (and highly entertaining), the Fairytale Trials can also be immensely realistic. While typically set in hypothetical “jurisdictions,” the trials mimic the Federal Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence wherever possible. The use of the McGlothlin Courtroom allows for electronic presentation of evidence and remote testimony, simulating to students the high-tech nature of the modern courtroom, and facilitating CLCT’s mission as an ambassador of legal technology.

Once Upon a CrimeThrough these programs, the next generation of lawyers, judges, and parties are exposed to the American justice system, issues of evidence and reliable testimony, problem solving, persuasion, and multiple ways of viewing an issue. Since it’s inception in the 1990s, this program has enjoyed massive success and popularity, as evidenced by its frequent coverage by the local media. Currently, CLCT conducts this program approximately twice per semester, serving over 200 students a year.

Primary and middle school teachers, administrators, and parents in Virginia are welcome to Contact CLCT about the possibility of their students participating in this highly-entertaining, informative, and educational program.

You Decide the Verdict

September 2014 Performances of Once Upon a Crime.

The audience members served as the jury and decided the verdict at Once Upon a Crime, CLCT’s live performance of its famed fractured fairy tale mock trials at Colonial Williamsburg’s historic Kimball Theatre! Over 400 people attended performances of Grimm v. Cinderella and Kingdom v. Pigge on September 13th, 20th, and 21st.

Grimm v. Cinderella

Grimm v. Cinderella is a libel case in which Cinderella’s stepmother is suing Cinderella for the descriptions of the stepmothers’ alleged cruelty in the best-selling auto-biography, Cinders in my Eyes.

Kingdom v. Pigge

Kingdom v. Pigge is an attempted murder trial in which the Kingdom claims that one of the Pigge brothers, the owner of a red brick condominium, attempted to kill Mr. Wolfe by boiling. Mr. Wolf, an “alleged” werewolf (who MAY be a member of an endangered and protected species), claims he was just trying to sell magazines and was desperate for customers given the modern crystal ball technology putting magazines under its domain. Various fairytale characters served as character witnesses to Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Pigge.

Highlight Video for Kingdom v. Piggie


Information and Press Releases from Past Once Upon a Crime Trials: