Honor Brocklebank-Fowler and Constantine Fraser talk to Lawbore about their hectic Sunday representing City at the Inner Temple Inter-Varsity Moot…
The Inner Temple Inter-Varsity Moot is always a challenging competition: around 20 universities compete in five rounds, alternating between both sides of a moot problem, all within one day. Add to that the challenges of Zoom advocacy, the introduction of a second problem by this year’s organisers, and the diagnosis of one member of the team with coronavirus the week of the moot, and the odds did not look good.
The interrelated criminal and family problems involved challenging issues of domestic abuse, admissibility of evidence and the interaction between the criminal and family courts in parallel proceedings, so there was a considerable body of unfamiliar law to get to grips with in a short time. Nonetheless, we worked our way through both problems in the week leading up to the competition, submitting no fewer than four bundles to cover four possible ‘sides’.
Armed with our e-bundles – and a healthy supply of Lemsip for some of us – we logged on at 08:30 for a jam-packed day of mooting, as well as an insightful panel talk delivered by Benchers of the Inn. We mooted against teams from Nottingham Trent, Dundee and Manchester across four rounds, swapping between Criminal Appellant or Respondent, and Family Appellant or Respondent each time, but it was the team from Dundee who proved most formidable, and whom we encountered no fewer than three times! After a gruelling semi-final however, we were fortunate enough to make it through to the fifth and final round, where we faced the Oxford team.
This entailed a barrage of questions from the panel of judges, which included Treasurer of the Inn Guy Fetherstonhaugh QC, Masters of the Bench Richard Benson QC, Diya Sen Gupta QC, Alastair Hodge and the Honourable Mr Justice Bodey, and Kerri O’Neill of Unit Chambers, the sponsors of the moot. Oxford were stiff competition, and we were shocked and delighted to be announced the winners of the tightly-fought final round, no less than 11.5 hours after we had started! It was a challenging but rewarding experience: both the chance to receive feedback on our advocacy from leading barristers and a High Court judge, and to ‘meet’ talented student advocates from other universities. We are especially thrilled to have maintained City’s ‘four-out-of-five’ year winning streak*.
Huge thanks must go to the Inner Temple moot coordinators Georgie Stein-Hemmings and Joshua Brindle for organising such a well-structured and enjoyable day – no small feat over Zoom – and Emily Allbon and Elliot Schatzberger, who were great cheerleaders over the last week. We would both thoroughly recommend the experience to next year’s GDL students.
Organisers Georgie and Josh had this to say about the City team:
City’s performance was outstanding. They had an excellent understanding of both the criminal and family problems, and were able to effectively respond to judicial intervention. They were a very impressive team, and we greatly enjoyed meeting them after the event at virtual drinks.