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Sydney Law School wins national title in prestigious mooting competition

19 February 2019
The student team will now advance to the finals in Washington D.C.
A team of students from the University of Sydney Law School has won the Australian round of the prestigious Jessup international law mooting competition.

The team, comprising of Jacqueline Krynda (Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws), Charlotte Lewis (Juris Doctor), Jane Spencer (Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws), Meg Winton (Juris Doctor) and Ruben Robertson (Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Laws), and coached by Alyssa Glass (Jessup World Champion ’17), took out the top title at the High Court earlier this month before a bench comprising of Justice James Edelman of the High Court, Kate Richardson SC and Liam Prescott of DLA Piper, a generous sponsor of the competition.

In addition to the national title, the team received a number of accolades, including the best speaker in the grand final, awarded to Jacqueline; second best speaker in the preliminary rounds, awarded to Ruben; and second best memorials.

The two finalist teams will now travel to Washington DC for the international competition in April, where the University of Sydney has been named World Champion a record five times – in 1996, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2017.

The University of Sydney student team

L-R: Charlotte Lewis, Jane Spencer, Ruben Robertson, Alyssa Glass, Meg Winton, Jacqueline Krynda

 

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world's largest moot court competition, with participants from over 680 law schools in 100 countries and jurisdictions. The competition involves a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case.

“I am extremely proud of the exceptional work of our students, evidenced by their success and recognition from some of our nations’ leading legal authorities,” said Dr Alison Pert, Adjunct Associate Professor in International Law and faculty advisor. “It is a strong testament as well to the calibre of our Law School, and I wish them all the best for the international competition.”

This year’s case involved a dispute between two bordering states around the migration and harvesting of a species of yak. It raised many complex issues across environmental law, human rights law and customary law.

“It has been an intellectual privilege to work with extremely capable and motivated team members on fascinating questions of international law,” said Ruben. “The team has benefitted enormously from the tireless work of our coach Alyssa Glass and our faculty advisor, Dr Alison Pert.”

The team before the High Court of Australia

The team before the High Court of Australia

 

“We've had the unique opportunity to moot before a diverse range of academics and members of the profession and learnt much from their insight. Regardless of where we end up after leaving university, I know that taking part in the Jessup moot has been a formative experience in the development of our written and oral advocacy skills.”

The University of Sydney advanced to the finals after four preliminary rounds against the University of Western Australia, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Southern Queensland and Monash University. The team then took on the University of Western Australia in the Quarter Final, and La Trobe in the Semi Final, before ultimately claiming the title against the University of Queensland in the Grand Final. 

“The experience was invaluable, providing team-based learning and a large oral advocacy component,” said Jacqueline. “This means it is good preparation for students thinking about working in the courts or becoming barristers,” she added. “It has been helpful for me because it has boosted my public speaking, teamwork and legal research skills.”

“It's also been great fun! Working with this year’s team was one of the best parts of the experience. They are a great group of people.”

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