By Aidan Hookey, ANU College of Law Student Ambassador
Two teams of students from The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law have travelled overseas to take part in prestigious mooting competitions.
Emily Browell, Ariella Bucci, Kimberley Slapp, and Elizabeth Dunning travelled to Ghent in Belgium to take part in the International Refugee and Migration Law Moot, while Matt Tuxen, Ulrika Yui Ting Lee and Adrian Miller competed in the Oxford International Intellectual Property Law Moot.
It is the first time ANU students have taken part in international moots in-person since the beginning of the pandemic, with most competitions shifting online.
Emily, whose team placed sixth overall in the competition, said being able to travel and meet fellow mooters and judges in person was a highlight.
“Having been in lockdown for a few years, the international side of it was so incredible,” she said.
“Just interacting with such experienced judges, both in pleading to them and just having discussions with them about migration law in their specific countries and their careers, was incredibly interesting and a highlight for me.”
The moot, which focussed on the contemporary humanitarian crisis in Syria, gave students the opportunity to research and talk to experts from different legal systems about ongoing issues in refugee law.
“It was amazing to chat to the judges and listen to them speak on issues, such as unaccompanied minors in asylum systems, which a panel of judges from Tunisia, Greece and Norway gave a talk on,” Emily said.
“Dealing with European case law was difficult, but learning more about that legal system was really interesting.”
Matt, who was part of the ANU team who travelled to Oxford University, also saw being able to travel as a major advantage to mooting.
“It was an incredible experience to go over and stay in Oxford at Pembroke College and go around the faculty. Some of the people I met were amazing, the experts especially. It was a great learning experience,” he said.
“We faced teams from Canada, the UK and Brazil. Three of the UK Supreme Courts Justices did the grand final. It was pretty special.”
The ANU Team in action at Oxford University.
With the Oxford competition being his first mooting experience, Matt says taking Intellectual Property (IP) Law through the ANU College of Law undergraduate program inspired him to get involved.
“I just did IP and really loved it, so when I saw there was an opportunity to do it, it was a sure thing,” he said.
“It is a really developing space of law, particularly the way the EU has gone about it. Watching the grand final and the lectures, such as one on protected geographic indicators in the EU, like manchego cheese and champagne, was very interesting.
“I’d love to see more teams from ANU keep going over there following our trailblazing effort.”
Both teams said getting involved in mooting was something they’d recommend to all law students.
“It is something everyone should turn their mind to and at least try once throughout university. I think even if you aren’t wanting to go into advocacy it really helps in terms of public speaking and presenting at work and things like that,” Matt said.
“Even if you are not the best public speaker, it is very different to debating. It is very much a conversation with the judge, and it is a really great skill to be able to think on your feet like that,” Emily said.
“It also makes you look at facts differently. You have to think of every possible argument that could be made and once you are set in your arguments you have be ready to answer any questions. It was just a really great experience overall.”
Both teams thanked Associate Professor Kate Ogg for supporting them in getting to the competitions, and for the ANU College of Law for providing financial support.
The ANU College of Law and ANU Law Students Society support mooting and negotiation teams in a variety of international and national competitions. For any queries about the College's student competitions program, please contact the College Student and Education Support team or see the ANU Law Students Society competition page.