MLS team representing Australia wins the 15th Commonwealth Moot

An MLS team representing Australia in the 15th Commonwealth Moot has won the competition and secured Australia the Commonwealth Shield for the first time since 2007.

Moot team - Luke Chircop, Anna Saunders and Joshua Quinn-Watson

Winning Commonwealth Moot team : Luke Chircop, Anna Saunders and Joshua Quinn-Watson

The prestigious Commonwealth Moot is an initiative of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA). This year the Commonwealth Moot was held in Melbourne in conjunction with the 20th Commonwealth Law Conference.

Teams from countries across the world including New Zealand, the United Kingdom, North America, Asia and Africa were nominated to compete on an ‘invite only’ basis. Most invited teams won entry by winning large regional mooting competitions such as the United Kingdom’s National Mooting Competition, Canada’s Gale Cup, and the All Africa Human Rights Moot Competition. The moot was judged by senior judges and advocates from throughout the Commonwealth.

On the basis of their placing at last year’s ALSA Championship Moot, third year JD Students Joshua Quinn-Watson, Luke Chircop and Anna Saunders were invited to represent Australia in the Commonwealth Moot.

The MLS team emerged as first seed after the general rounds, beat Canada in the semi-final and beat India in the grand final. The final was judged by Chief Justice Archie of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago, Justice Arach-Amako of the Supreme Court of Uganda, and Mr Wesley Wong SC, the Solicitor-General of Hong Kong. The decision in favour of Australia was unanimous.

At the presentation the following day, the team was awarded the Commonwealth Shield. The Commonwealth Shield was last won by Australia in 2007. Josh Quinn-Watson was also named best mooter in the general rounds, and best mooter in the final. Luke Chircop was the second ranked mooter in the general rounds.

Melbourne Law School Dean Professor Carolyn Evans said that the MLS team’s win at the Commonwealth Moot was a direct reflection of the time the team has spent developing their skills throughout their student mooting careers.

“The MLS win at the Commonwealth Moot is a testament to the continuous hard work and dedication that all three members of the Commonwealth Moot team have put in to refining their advocacy skills. On behalf of the Melbourne Law School community, I extend my warmest congratulations to Joshua, Luke and Anna,” Professor Evans said.

Between them, this was the 13th time that the trio have represented MLS at an external moot, either as competitors or coaches. The team said that mooting has had an enormous impact on their experience of the JD and they were delighted to have one last chance to represent MLS before they graduate this year.

“Mooting has been an extraordinary learning experience in which we have come to know areas of law, our colleagues, and ourselves more deeply than otherwise possible,” Joshua said on behalf of the team.

All three members of the MLS team have expressed a desire to contribute to and remain a part of the MLS mooting community in the years to come.

By Tess McPhail

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