Future Lawyer Blog

Another City Landmark in Mooting! Well done to Chatura and James…

A team from City (Chatura Saravanan and James Fowler) competed in the Judicial Review Moot run by Landmark Chambers this academic year and we were thrilled to hear they won!

One of the judges of the final, David Elvin QC, Chair of the Environment Group at Landmark Chambers, said:

“We were delighted to be able to continue with the moot final despite lockdown and were impressed that all of the participants dealt with the requirements of remote advocacy really well. We thought the standard was very high and congratulate all the participants and especially City, University of London for winning the competition. Landmark hopes that they enjoyed the competition and have seen the interest and enjoyment that can be found in a practice in Planning, Environment and Public Law at the Bar.”

You can read the story via Landmark but here’s a write up from the team point-of-view – Chatura take it away….

James Fowler

Last Thursday, the Grand Final for the Landmark Judicial Review moot competition was held, in which James Fowler and I had the pleasure of participating and winning the prize.

It was an invaluable experience which provided a deep insight into planning law and public law as a whole.  

The competition consisted of 5 rounds, including City’s internal selection. In the first round hosted by Landmark Chambers, 35 universities participated, of which the top 8 universities progressed to the second round. In the second and third rounds, we faced Oxford and Kent respectively before progressing to the Grand Final against Bristol.

The competition was conducted over a period of 3 months with a month gap given between each round. All the moot problems focused on planning law and ranged from time-limitation clauses to duty to give reasons. The grounds in the problems were sufficiently varied to provide for both a fact-based argument and wider policy arguments.

The unique feature of this year’s competition was, of course, the need for Zoom advocacy. Although Zoom advocacy has its disadvantages, there are some aspects which enabled us to be better mooters. The best of which was being able to better gauge the judge’s reactions to our arguments and respond accordingly without having to wait for their intervention. However, this of course did not lessen the intensity of judicial intervention.

In the Final, we had the honour of mooting in the presence of The Rt Hon Lord Robert Carnwath of Notting Hill and David Elvin QC, a leading planning law barrister at Landmark Chambers. The moot problem was an appeal to the Supreme Court on a recent judgement passed by the Court of Appeal in 2019. The problem was challenging to say the least, especially given the strong policy arguments against our side. Unsurprisingly, we were subject to intense judicial scrutiny on our arguments, as were our learned friends opposite. James and I defended our arguments to the best of our capabilities and were immensely pleased to be announced as winners. The winners for the Final were chosen on their individual merits, unlike in the previous rounds, where we won as a team. Therefore, we were delighted when we were both announced as winners of the competition.

Planning law is a unique practice under the umbrella of public law and as such, it is not often that we get exposure to this area of law. The Landmark JR moot demonstrated the widespread impact that planning law has, especially in local communities and government. The moot was also a great way to observe the standards of other universities, which served as a motivation to improve ourselves and learn from our competitors. We would highly recommend this moot to anyone interested in public law and especially planning law.

We would like to thank Landmark Chambers for this wonderful opportunity and exposure to planning law at the Bar. Special thanks to Natasha White-Foy from Landmark Chambers for her continued support throughout the competition, Zack Simons for hosting the Grand Final, and all the judges, who gave up their time and made this competition a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Finally, thank you to City for choosing us to represent the university and giving us this opportunity.

Many thanks to Chatura Saravanan for this review of the Landmark Moot. Chatura is a GDL student at City Law School and a member of the Lawbore journalist team.

She is an aspiring barrister, with a keen interest in planning and environmental law.

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