05 Apr 2013

OU success in Welsh National Mooting Competition

Marie Morton and Amy Woolfson with the winners' trophy

Marie Morton and Amy Woolfson with the winners' trophy

Open University (OU) Law students have won the 2013 Welsh National Mooting Competition that took place at Swansea University on Saturday 23rd March.

The winning OU team was comprised of Amy Woolfson (senior counsel) and Marie Morton (junior counsel).They beat teams from five other Universities, including Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Bangor and Glamorgan, to reach the final against Swansea University.

The case in the moot final was a criminal one, in which Amy and Marie acted on behalf of the Crown. The legal argument concerned the definition of the mens rea for murder (that is, the state of mind required for criminal conviction). The legal argument also concerned the principle of causation and ultimately whether the jury in the criminal trial had been properly directed. The moot final was heard by His Honour John Diehl QC, a retired circuit judge and Recorder for Swansea. This is only the second time The Open University has entered this prestigious event and the first time it has won it.

Speaking after the event Amy Woolfson said, "I am so incredibly pleased to have been able to win this for the Open University. Many of the other teams had benefitted from formal advocacy coaching, whereas OU law students run their team through the student law association. I had never met my junior before, although we had talked on the phone many times. I was senior counsel for The Open University in last year's competition where we missed out on the final by one point. So it was particularly satisfying to go back and win against last year's victors on their own patch. We had a thankless case to argue in the final, but the judge praised us for our highly persuasive arguments."

Keren Bright, Director of the Law programme at The Open University Law School, said “This is a truly fantastic achievement which demonstrates the determination, independence and will to succeed shown by many of our students. Those who choose to study Law with the OU find themselves far better prepared for real challenges in the legal environment, just like Amy and Marie.”

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 and clearly structured and well presented.

The Open University Law School has a successful history in mooting competitions. In 2011 the team of OU law students beat 32 other universities to win the ICLR National Mooting Tournament and in 2010 were runners-up. The Welsh National Mooting Competition in 2014 will be hosted by The Open University in Wales.

Left to right in picture: Marie Morton and Amy Woolfson

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