Faculty of Law

University Law School in the spotlight following national success

University of Tasmania School of Law students have taken out top honours at a prestigious national mooting event.

The students secured two highly competitive titles at the Australian Law Students Association national championships in Adelaide on the weekend.

Facing off against twenty-eight other law schools, University of Tasmania students won both the International Humanitarian Law moot and the Championship moot.

A moot is a mock judicial proceeding where students present legal arguments in hypothetical cases.

Noted international humanitarian law expert and new Dean of the University’s School of Law Professor Tim McCormack was instrumental in creating and promoting the International Humanitarian Law Moot and congratulated the students on their tremendous victory.

"I am deeply proud of our students who have represented us so magnificently and particularly thrilled that, in my first few months in my new role, they would achieve such stunning results in the International Humanitarian Law Moot," Professor McCormack said.

The International Humanitarian Law moot was won by students Dan Westbury – who was also awarded the best oralist prize for the category – and Siobhain Galea.

They were presented with a problem involving an international armed conflict between two neighbouring countries, during which a hospital was bombed, and a local doctor performed an alleged medical experiment.

“Dan and I had to prepare a case for both the prosecution and defence and present them before the International Criminal Court. The moot competition also required us to remain flexible, responding to our opponents on the spot and answering (sometimes very unexpected) questions from our judges,” Siobhain said. 

“This was an incredibly important experience not only to familiarise us as students with international humanitarian law, but it also gave us an opportunity to structure our arguments in a way that could be clearly understood by anyone.

“I believe this is an important skill for any law student to hone as it reflects challenges we will no doubt face in practice - whether it’s presenting a real-life case in court or just trying to logically explain a legal problem to a client or non-lawyer.

“I feel so proud to have represented the University of Tasmania and done the very best I could for our law school, my mentors and my teammate Dan. It’s also given me a clearer idea of the kind of law I could one day practice and the opportunities that are out there.”

The Championship moot team was challenged with a corporations law scenario.

It was comprised of Meghan Scolyer, alongside fourth-year students Georgina Barnes and Natasha Perry – who are yet to study the subject.  

“The problem was about a dispute between a third party company and a creditor, mainly focusing on remedies and the interpretation of relevant provisions in the Corporations Act,” Natasha said.

“The key thing is practicing over and over again. We worked really hard to ensure we were having a conversation with the judges, but also acknowledging that there was an opposing team presenting the other side and incorporating their arguments to our advantage.

“An achievement like this definitely shows future employees the kind of commitment you can make to certain projects and that you’re willing to put in the hard work to achieve these high outcomes.”

While the University has reached the grand final of both categories in previous years, this is the first time the Law School has won each title. 

Professor Gino Dal Pont, Acting Dean at the University’s School of Law, commended the students for their efforts. 

"The result is particularly rewarding given the late exam period meant the students had only 10 days to prepare – and they did so in the post-flood library,” Professor Dal Pont said. 

“Library staff Chris and Carolyn enthusiastically supported the teams, organising much-needed copies of key law reports to be retrieved from storage.” 

Students Siobhain and Dan will now go on to represent Australia at the International Humanitarian Law moot competition which is being held in Hong Kong early next year.

Pictured from left; Georgina Barnes, Professor Gino Dal Pont, School of Law Acting Dean, Siobhain Galea and Natasha Perry.

Published on: 12 Jul 2018 12:01pm