This year I have been given the pleasure of announcing the four finalists for the OULS internal Mooting Competition. Sarah Foster who after completing her LLM is now commencing the BPTC; Sarah Couling currently in her third and final year of studying for her LLB; Harrie Austin-Jones who is a second year student and finally Elise Graham, Elise who is now studying W102 and W202 full time, are your very deserving finalists.
2018’s internal mooting competition is made that bit more special as it is the first time being competed for since a name change to the Gary Slapper Memorial Award. This award has been renamed in memory of the late Professor who sadly died in 2016. Professor Gary Slapper’s role at the Open University’s law school cannot be overstated. As founder of the Open University Law School which celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary this academic year, author of the essential textbook The English Legal System, and the first Professor of Law at the Open University, Gary Slapper has had a profound impact on OU students.
This annual competition hosted by our mooting coordinators, our Mistresses of Moots, Jennifer Warton and Abigail Hendon, gives many aspiring Barristers and Lawyers a chance to test their advocacy skills in front of a panel which should seem a little less intimidating then in an external moot. (However, I am not sure if all our finalists would agree on this point!)
The winner of the trophy will have their name engraved onto it and will take pride of place in the new trophy cabinet which will stand in the entrance to the faculty of business and law school at the Open University Campus in Milton Keynes.
The competition got off to a great start in August this year, with an impressive number of applicants. Our Mistresses of Moots had a task on their hands of reading through everyone’s skeleton arguments and deciding the members that would go through to the first of two rounds before the finalists were revealed.
The first session held at the University of Law Moorgate saw 16 individuals fight it out for a place in the next round. All mooters performed to a high standard and gave a variety of arguments.
Next round and a new mooting scenario saw the participants fight it out, to be named one of the top four, for a place in our grand final. Watching from the side line gave an amazing perspective to see the same arguments battled out in so many different ways.
Our four final mooters will battle it out at a date and venue which is yet to be announced.
Getting this far is a major achievement for everyone and they should all be proud of where they are. Getting up in front of a panel of people you don’t know can be a very daunting experience but all those who took part in entering by submitting their skeleton arguments r ultimately becoming one of the four finalist, had the courage and have started a new chapter into their future career.
On asking our finalists if they had any advice for future mooters, Sarah Couling replied, “The mooting competition has been both challenging and rewarding. It has taken me out of my comfort zone, but allowed me to gain confidence and advocacy skills that I would not otherwise have been able to achieve. I would recommend mooting to anyone interested in, and studying law.”
For anyone interested in getting involved in mooting, the OULS hold mooting workshops each year. They also hold selection days to select members to go forward into external competitions on behalf of the OULS representing the OU nationally and even internationally at times. These can be a great step for those who have never mooted before by gaining great experience and training from our fantastic Mistresses of Moots. On behalf of the OULS I would also like to thank everyone else who also helped throughout this competition so far, without those that gave up their time the competition would not be possible.
All that is left for me to say is a huge congratulations to our four finalists and from everyone at the news team we wish you all the luck in the world!
By Victoria-Jayne Scholes LLB (Hons)