Open University LL.B student, Chris Nixon, became the winner of the first Open University Law Society novice mooting competition last weekend (26th October). Held at the University of Law (Bloomsbury), Chris fought off tough competition to reach the final in front of a formidable panel of judges, which included Suzanne Rab, an experienced and well-published solicitor who has just been called to the Bar, and two ICLR national mooting competition champions.
The competition’s first round was based on the presentation and quality of a skeleton argument for the moot problem, Brown v Picturepal Ltd, a problem which centred on occupiers’ liability and the effectiveness of exclusion clauses. The same moot problem was then adopted for the each of the following rounds, held all on the one day at the University of Law, in a knock-out race to the finals.
For a novice competition, the level of advocacy was very impressive and a promising indicator that the OU’s formidable reputation on the inter-university mooting circuit will continue. But, despite such impressive displays of advocacy, the spirit of the competition – that is, inclusion and an introduction to mooting – was not lost. The judges carefully selected their questions to bring out the best in competitors (whilst also giving them a dose of the ‘interventionist’ judge for good measure!), and the feedback provided by the judges after each moot was tailored and relevant to each participant: this was clearly evident as the rounds progressed with each mooter improving greatly as they became more confident and comfortable.
The competition, organised by Gwyn Hopkins and Abi Scott, marks an important step forward for the OULS, which is an entirely student-run body and the only official law society of the Open University. Having held two mooting workshops in August this year, the novice competition was the first of its kind for the OULS, and the turnout was very promising. The external mooting competition season now begins (Oct to March/April), with applications for the external OU teams now being taken until 4th November 2013 (for more information, click here). The OULS schedule for 2014 is not yet confirmed, but we fully expect more mooting workshops, a second novice competition and maybe some friendly moots against other Universities.
The OULS would like to say a big thank you to our guest judge, Suzanne Rab, for taking the time out of her busy schedule to judge our competition. We would also like to extend our gratitude to our other judges, Jez Hindmarsh, Amy Woolfson, Cat Flint, Phil Zack and Fathi Tarada. We would also like to thank Christine Tait for ensuring everyone was well looked after with refreshments and for helping the event run smoothly, and to the University of Law who once again kindly accommodated us. Finally, a big thank you to the competitors and spectators who made the event a great success!