Finding a voice in court

By Johanna Leggatt

Meet scholarship-winning Melbourne Law School student Anasha Flintoff as she completes her studies in Hong Kong.

Anasha Flintoff
Anasha Flintoff. Image credit: supplied.

Anasha Flintoff remembers her first mooting competition as if it were yesterday.

“I have never been a confident public speaker and I actually cried during one of my first moots,” the final-year Melbourne JD student says.

“The student judge in the moot court was asking a lot of intense questions that I didn’t know the answer to because it was in an area of law I had not yet studied, and I left the room and actually shed a tear.”

How things have changed.

Anasha is now one of two 2019 recipients of a Philip Solomon QC Scholarship – a bursary at MLS that provides financial assistance for students who meet academic criteria and display a commitment to mooting.

After her initial experience, Flintoff, 23, was unsure about mooting again, but when the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition invited applications, she put herself forward.

It turned out to be a wise move.

“I didn’t want to speak, but then someone pulled out and I took their place in the team,” Flintoff says. “I was the youngest person in the team and I definitely had a moment of thinking, ‘I’m not meant to be here’, but I ended up talking more than anyone else. I really felt that I understood the topic and that made all the difference. It meant I could just talk.”

The 2019 Philip Solomon QC Scholarship marks one of Flintoff’s many achievements in recent times.
Flintoff is based in Hong Kong until the end of the year, where, in conjunction with her JD, she is completing a Master of Laws in Chinese Business Law through a degree partnership with the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

It is an especially fraught time to be studying in Hong Kong, with clashes between democracy protesters and police an ongoing occurrence at the time of this interview.

“It is an interesting time to be here,” Flintoff says. “I was initially very apprehensive as the clashes escalated, but I have felt very safe, and on campus there is definitely an encouragement of constructive dialogue between Cantonese Hong Kongers and mainlanders.”

Amid all this, Flintoff says the Philip Solomon QC Scholarship has gone a long way to enabling her studies in Hong Kong.

“It’s a very expensive city, so the money from the scholarship has been really helpful in giving me the space to study,” she says.

Born in Kuala Lumpur to a Thai mother and New Zealand father, Flintoff is a true global citizen.

“I always wanted to study international law of some kind and I always wanted it to be at MLS because of its reputation,” she says.

Flintoff completed a Bachelor of Arts in International Politics and Sociology at the University of Melbourne before applying for the Melbourne JD, MLS’s Juris Doctor graduate course.

During her Bachelor of Arts, she spent a semester at King’s College in London, where her desire to study law only intensified.

“That was when I decided to get serious about coming home and pursuing a law degree at the University of Melbourne.”
Flintoff is still deciding which area of law she would like to focus on long-term. She is expected to finish her degrees early next year and will take up a graduate position at commercial law firm Allens.

“I may end up working in the area of environment and planning,” she says. “I also love Asia, however, so the area of international law appeals.”

So too does the idea of teaching mooting.

“I still get nervous, but I am much more confident than I used to be,” Flintoff says. “I would like one day to teach another young girl how to find her voice via mooting, as it certainly helped me.”

This article originally appeared in MLS News, Issue 22, November 2019