By Aidan Hookey (student ambassador)
The University of Auckland has won the second Australian National University (ANU) Gender Identity + Sexuality Law Moot, edging out Monash University in an impressive grand final on 12 October 2021.
The Honourable Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG (HonLLD '14), one of three judges in the grand final, described the moot as “going from strength to strength”.
“All of the mooters, every one of them, was truly outstanding,” he said.
“We all looked forward to taking part in this competition, which is so unique. I don’t think I would have ever conceived of this mooting competition when I was at law school, so it just shows that progress is made.”
Justice Rachel Pepper (BA ’92, LLB (Hons) ’94), who also presided over the grand final, said that the standard of the competition was particularly impressive.
“Bearing in mind that I see advocates in my courtroom every day, I would have been absolutely thrilled to see any of [the competitors] appear in front of me. The standard was very high – it was absolutely outstanding, it really was,” she said.
Justice Kirby agreed, suggesting that all advocates have “great careers ahead of them, and years hence they will look back on this occasion and will be glad that they took part”.
Organiser Madeleine Castles (BA ’16, LLB (Hons) ’21) says the moot, the first of its kind in Australia, explores an important and evolving area of law.
“The moot aims to raise awareness about issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community and the ways in which the law can address, as well as compound, these injustices,” she said.
The 2021 ANU Gender Identity + Sexuality Law Moot was sponsored by Resolution Institute.
The 2021 problem question concerned an international dispute regarding the ability of intersex children to consent to surgical interventions, and the application of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“There is still much work to be done, both in Australia and internationally, to protect the human rights, self-determination and bodily integrity of intersex people,” said Madeleine.
“Intersex people have historically been the subject of invasive and irreversible surgical or hormonal interventions. These procedures are often performed on children and young people without their fully informed consent. Surgical interventions of this kind still regularly take place in Australia today.”
A testament to the success of the competition and the hard work of its organisers, 15 teams from across Australia and New Zealand competed in 2021 moot, which was run online due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Impressively, it is the second time that the University of Auckland has won the competition, following their win in the competition’s inaugural year.
Jeremy Brown (Monash University) and Izzy Ray-Chaudhuri (University of Auckland) shared the prize for best speaker in the grand final.
The team from the University of Auckland will have the prize money ($500) donated in their names to the charity of their choice and will gain a one-year membership to Resolution Institute, the largest dispute resolution membership organisation across Australia and New Zealand.
The ANU College of Law thanks all of the judges who took part in the 2021 competition. In particular, we thank our grand final judges, the Honourable Justices Michael Kirby AC CMG and Rachel Pepper, and Associate Professor Wayne Morgan. Thank you too to Madeleine Castles, who organised the 2021 competition, and Associate Professor Kate Ogg.