On 13 October, we were thrilled to host the final of the ANU Gender Identity + Sexuality Law Moot, the first competition of its kind in Australia. Sponsored by Resolution Institute, the virtual competition was a great success and valuable learning experience for students from nearly a dozen law schools across Australia and New Zealand.
Special thanks to our prestigious panel of judges – The Hon Justices Michael Kirby AC, CMG (HonLLD ’14), Rachel Pepper (BA ’92, LLB (Hons) ’94) and Melissa Perry – each of whom have a proud association with the ANU Law Visiting Judges Program directed by Associate Professor Heather Roberts. We are also grateful for the efforts of Dr Kate Ogg, Associate Professor Wayne Morgan and students on our organising committee whose efforts in planning and running the competition were critical to its success.
We acknowledge the support of our sponsors, Resolution Institute, which generously offered free membership to all participants of the moot and a five-day mediation workshop to our winners Bella Rollinson and Hannah Swedlund, both Bachelor of Arts/Laws (Hons) students at the University of Auckland.
In this Q&A, Bella and Hannah discuss what made the moot such an enriching experience.
What were the highlights of competing in the ANU Gender Identity + Sexuality Moot?
One of the highlights of the mooting contest was speaking in front of (retired High Court of Australia judge) The Hon Justice Kirby, who is a judge we have admired throughout our studies. We also enjoyed the opportunity to grapple with topical legal issues that have a real impact on people's lives.
What were some of the real-world legal skills you feel you acquired/honed through the competition?
The moot was helpful in many aspects of skill development: research in a foreign jurisdiction, advocacy, and speaking clearly and calmly under pressure. Given we were often representing a side in the case that seemed counterintuitive to us, we developed an ability to reason through arguments and advocate for positions that we don't necessarily personally agree with.
What advice would you give to students about participating in mooting competitions?
Just go for it! Worst-case scenario, you lose - but you will learn many valuable skills, and it can be a lot of fun!
Bella and Hannah have donated their prize money ($AU500) to Gender Minorities Aotearoa.