02 May 2013

OU Law students win a second national mooting tournament in a month

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales

Open University (OU) law students Catherine Flint and Dr Fathi Tarada won the prestigious ICLR (The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales) National Mooting Tournament on Monday 29th April.

The final, held in the hall of Gray’s Inn in London, one of the four Inns of Court, was against students from Leeds University Law School.
32 teams entered this tournament in the autumn of 2012 and The Open University Law School students progressed through four rounds to the final. Along the way they have beaten mooting teams from Coventry, Exeter and City universities.

Keren Bright, Law Programme Director, OU Law School said: “OU Law students have only entered the ICLR national mooting tournament in the last four years. They have reached the final in three of those years and won twice. This is a truly exceptional achievement by truly exceptional students.”

The moot judges were Mr Justice Mitting and Mr Justice Turner, who are High Court Judges. Mr Justice Mitting commended both mooting teams for their ‘very high levels of advocacy’, but reserved the highest praise for OU senior counsel Catherine Flint, describing her advocacy as 'outstanding'. Catherine said: “I never for one moment thought I would have made it through to the final of such a prestigious competition. And to actually win is amazing.

To receive such words of praise from senior members of the judiciary has made me even more certain that a career at the Bar is what I want. It's been an incredible learning experience and a real team effort. Getting involved with The Open University Law Society and mooting has provided an excellent opportunity to meet and work with other students, and their support and encouragement has been invaluable.”

The case concerned acts of sadomasochism between a consenting husband and wife. Whilst sadomasochism in itself is not unlawful, there is a threshold between criminal and non-criminal activity. The Crown appealed the decision of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the husband could not consent to injuries that amounted to actual and grievous bodily harm; and that in a democratic society it is necessary to criminalise sadomasochistic practices for the protection of health and morals as permitted by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Catherine and Fathi, acting on behalf of The Crown in the moot court, submitted that there is an existing threshold between criminal and non-criminal activity and any attempt to redraw the boundaries of the criminal law elsewhere would create insuperable difficulties.

The subject matter of the case inevitably gave rise to flashes of humour. In her submissions Catherine made reference to 'many shades of grey' and Mr Justice Turner spoke of the '50 shades of Gray’s Inn'.

At the end of March, OU Law students Amy Woolfson and Marie Morton won the Welsh National Mooting Tournament.

Mooting involves a great deal of time spent in legal research, preparing skeleton arguments and legal submissions. OU finalist and junior counsel Dr Tarada said: “I was making my entry to the Bar conditional on today. I received some excellent career advice from Justices Mitting and Turner after the moot, and they had some really kind words to say about my performance, which was very encouraging. In addition, many OU students gave their time freely to support Cat and myself in preparing our skeleton arguments and submissions, and we are indebted for their contributions. This exchange of ideas made our preparation for the moots so much more interesting and made me feel part of a community.”

In the photo from left to right: Mr Justice Mitting, Dr Fathi Tarada, Keren Bright (OU Law School), Catherine Flint and Mr Justice Turner.

Editor’s notes

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.

About The Open University Law School

The Open University is one of the top three UK universities for student satisfaction. The mission of the Open University is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. Embedding the core values of inclusiveness, innovation and responsiveness, the OU has enabled many hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to achieve their academic study goals via supported part-time study.

The Open University Law School has over 6,000 students studying law modules each year and leads the Higher Education sector in England & Wales in part-time distance learning in Law. The Law School offers amongst its programmes an LLB (Hons) – a qualifying law degree in England and Wales – and a master’s degree in law (LLM).

For more information, please see the Law School’s website at:

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