The OUP/BPP National Mooting Competition 2015

A team from City University London took the finals trophy in this year’s hotly contested OUP/BPP National Mooting Competition. Competing in four earlier rounds secured the place at the final on the 25th June 2015, where they faced the Open University, Queens University Belfast and the University of Greenwich. In this piece Charlotte, one of the winning duo tells us about the competition from beginning to end.

We both found the OUP-BPP National Mooting Competition to be a great experience. Doing the competition throughout the year was an excellent way to get to grips with different topics – it’s a lot more fun than just sitting in the library (though there was a lot of that too!), as the objective of constructing the best possible case means you engage with the material in a purposeful way, and by the end you will know the subject inside out.

At times it was a challenge to balance the demands of the competition with our own work – we were preparing for the final round in the run up to exams, with the skeleton exchange in the midst of them! Luckily the final round was three days after our seventh and last exam, so we had plenty of time to prepare.

We had an engrossing selection of moot problems, which were often highly topical. These were written by barristers Ros Earis and Rory Clarke – interestingly Rory formed half of the team which won the OUP/BPP Moot for City back in 2010-11. Several were tort related – one highlight was our second round against Manchester Law School (in which Charlotte and John represented City) which involved a claim for psychiatric harm by a firewoman whose husband had died in a factory explosion – our judge, Geraldine McCool, had been involved as a solicitor in several of the cases we had cited in our skeleton (on Piper Alpha oil rig disaster), so she certainly kept us on our toes with her interventions.
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A particular favourite has to be the semi-final against Plymouth, which centred on an obscure 18th Century tort for the intentional infliction of psychiatric harm. This tort was recently brought back into the limelight in a Supreme Court case involving the concert pianist James Rhodes whose ex-wife was attempting to prevent his publication of a semi-autobiographical work. That case was going on at the same time as we were doing our moot, which gave the round a great sense of immediacy. It was also very exciting to be judged by legal correspondent and blogger Jack of Kent (aka David Allen Green) whose particular interests in freedom of speech and social media made for some very searching questions and interesting conversation over cake and wine afterwards.

The final round moot problem, on circumcision and female genital mutilation, was no doubt the most controversial, raising conceptually difficult issues on freedom of religion and the rights of the child, in what has always been a legal grey area. This was a real test in not getting caught up in one’s own personal opinions and keeping the focus on the legal arguments in support of our client’s case, defending the fictional Father Anderson of the Messianic religion from a possible conviction of inflicting bodily harm on a young boy he had circumcised.
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Having done little prior mooting to the competition it was a great way to improve our advocacy skills ‘on the job’, and we were very lucky to have helpful and encouraging judges to give us constructive feedback along the way. We were delighted our efforts paid off and the outcome was an excellent way to end the GDL.

Thanks to Charlotte Bellamy, who triumphed at the OUP/BPP Moot Final with her teammate Raphael Gray. Earlier rounds of this competition were taken by alternating City pairs which included Emily Moore and John Platts-Mills. Find out more about the teams involved in the final via the Finals Programme, or read the news story from City University London.

Image credits: OUP and Josh Redman

Charlotte and Raph with Judge Charles Gratwicke of Chelmsford Crown Court

Charlotte and Raph with Judge Charles Gratwicke of Chelmsford Crown Court

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