Issued: Thursday, 16 October 2014
Deputy Registrar of Belmont Local Court Catherine Piper has won the Premier’s Award for Individual Excellence and Achievement.
Catherine received the award at a ceremony at Bligh House in Sydney on Monday night in recognition of her dedication and outstanding commitment to educating children about the NSW justice system.
In 2009, Catherine developed the Clued-Up Kids program as part of Law Week.
The program involves a mock criminal investigation challenge designed to promote a greater understanding of the law and the legal system for primary school students.
It allows students to investigate a fictional case using police statements of fact, forensic evidence and witness statements.They then present their findings in court to a panel of experts including a retired magistrate, a local solicitor, NSW police and court staff.
Clued-Up Kids is designed to teach children about the criminal justice system in an exciting and informative way, introducing them to court processes, investigation procedures and the importance of evidence.
The program is now held every year during Law Week and has been picked up by other schools around the state and adopted by Western Australia.
Catherine said winning the Premier’s Award was the proudest moment of her career.
“I am still a bit shocked as there were so many extraordinary people who were nominated this year and I can’t believe that I have been chosen as the winner,” she said.
“It is such a thrill that I have been able to create something that is fun and exciting but also inspires children to think about a career in the justice system whether it is working as a frontline police officer or a lawyer.
“Primary school children are incredibly bright, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities to combine intellect with drama which is why I think Clued-Up Kids has become so popular.
“Every year I come up with new scenarios to challenge the kids such as a case about a cricket sledge that turned violent or bullying at school that resulted in a child being assaulted.
“It’s amazing how many children finish Clued-Up Kids and tell me they are now thinking about working in the legal profession, which is the best feedback of all.”
Catherine has been with the Department of Justice for 28 years including eight years as Deputy Registrar at Belmont.
Law Week is a national event held every May to promote the law and its role in society.