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Vying for world mooting title

17 September 2008

Vying for world mooting title

Two students from The University of Auckland Law School will represent New Zealand on the world stage early next year.

Sally Trafford and Hannah Yiu, both in their final year of a BA/LLB(Hons), won the Bell Gully National Mooting competition, held in Auckland.

This qualifies them to take part in the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington DC in March. It will be the second year in a row that Auckland has been in the Jessup.

Sally and Hannah defeated the Otago University team in the national final, held as part of the NZ Law Students Association conference. It took place in courtroom one of the Auckland High Court with Justice Chambers, Justice Winkelmann and Bell Gully partner Ian Gault presiding.

The problem they had to argue concerned malicious civil prosecutions and champerty (buying into someone else's lawsuit).

“This was challenging for us as we effectively had one day in which to learn the law in these areas and to write submissions before arguing the case in the finals,” says Sally. “We thought all the teams were excellent, especially Otago, and the outcome must have been close. We're really happy to have won, and it was an honour to go up against such great teams.”

They more than demonstrated their versatility, tackling a private international law problem in the preliminary rounds.

Earlier this year they had to prove their worth first by being selected for the Advocacy course and then making the finals of the Stout Shield Moot from which the Auckland team for the national competition was selected.

They were coached by Simon Mount (Meredith Connell), Isaac Hikaka (Lee Salmon Long, who jointly won the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition for 2003) and Associate Professor Paul Myburgh. “The Law School has been really supportive,” says Hannah.

Sally and Hannah have no time to rest on their laurels. The problem for the Jessup competition will be released at the end of September. Over the summer they will work on their written submissions which are due in January.

The Jessup, now in its 50th year, is the world's largest moot court competition with 500 law schools in more than 80 countries involved. It simulates a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice. Each team has to prepare oral and written pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions.


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