04 Apr 2011

Open University Law students win national mooting tournament

The Open Universtiy Mooting Team

The Open Universtiy Mooting Team

The Open University law students beat 32 other universities from across the UK to win the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) National Mooting Tour Tournament that took place at Gray’s Inn in London on Wednesday 30th March.

A moot is designed to resemble a case heard before a judge in court and originally they were a teaching tool for apprentice barristers in the Inns of Court. The moot judges are looking for persuasive legal argument that is well presented and clearly structured.

The final moot between The Open University and Exeter University was judged by eminent judges Lord Justice Elias and Mr Justice Cranston. The judges praised the advocacy skills of all the student mooters as they argued their cases well and remained calm under the fire of constant interjections and questioning from the judges.

The case before the moot court in the final concerned a disabled pensioner who brought an action in public nuisance against a property development company. Dust and noise pollution from the development of a block of flats had caused the pensioner to suffer from bronchitis and insomnia.

The Open University team, comprising of Philip Zack, Damian Wynne, Craig Breed, Naomi Cross and Gwyn Hopkins, won rounds against Wolverhampton University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Nottingham Law School and Durham University to reach the final against Exeter University.

Keren Bright, Director of the Law Programme at The Open University said ‘This is a fantastic achievement and shows, yet again, that Open University law students and graduates are the equal of anyone. I’m sure this will serve as an inspiration to all OU law students following in their footsteps.’

Speaking about the victory, Open University student mooter Philip Zack said, “We had a small team of students on the OU team, who rotated between speaking and non-speaking roles during the five rounds of the ICLR moot contest. I was fortunate to be chosen as lead advocate for the semi-final and final, but in truth, it was a genuine team effort.

“Each time we received a new moot problem, the whole team would contribute ideas on strategy, research cases we could cite, and act as sounding board for the speaking members for that round. Preparing for each moot contest was extremely stressful, and a huge amount of hard work.

“Winning the ICLR National Moot contest was a challenge and a great honour. But it was also an exhilarating and enjoyable experience.”

The Open University name will be engraved on the shield alongside Oxford, Cambridge and Exeter.

Pictured, from left to right, are Gwyn Hopkins, Damian Wynne, Director of the OU’s Law Programme Keren Bright, Law Society representative Andrew Dobson, Craig Breed, Philip Zack, Naomi Cross.

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