Preparation underway for MLS Jessup Moot

Melbourne Law School’s Jessup Moot team knows there is still much hard work to be done between now and the national championship to be held in Canberra in February next year.

Without skipping a beat, the team consisting of Juris Doctor students Shane Chandra, Rachel Walters, Luke Chircop, Tess Kirkinis and Beau Paterson finished exams in November and immediately began preparing for the world’s largest mooting competition, the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

It involves long hours, six days a week, researching, consulting with academics and forming arguments to accompany their submission, which is due in January.

Recently, the team was given the opportunity to have lunch with former Deputy President of Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Lord David Hope, who was at MLS to deliver a public lecture.

Lord Hope examined a number of problematic UK legal cases with the students in a thought provoking and entertaining discussion, including cases involving assisted suicide and the introduction of closed material in court.

Second-year JD student Luke Chircop says the experience of having an open discussion with Lord Hope was invaluable in their preparation for competition.

“We have heard from a range of amazing people such as Lord Hope, and to have their insight into the law and to hear of their knowledge and experience is so helpful,” he says.

The 2016 Jessup Moot focuses on issues such as mass surveillance and cyber attacks, issues Luke says “will be at the forefront of international law for the next 20 years or so.”

His teammate Tess Kirkinis says a highlight of the competition is having the opportunity to moot the most current and contentious areas of international law.

“Getting exposure to high quality advocacy is such a valuable experience,” she says.

“Also, there is that practical element of learning that can’t be done through reading library books.”

The Australian championship is known as being one of the toughest qualifiers, with only two national teams progressing to the global competition in Washington.

MLS has produced three international rounds’ winning teams (1988, 1993, 2000), putting it third behind the National University of Singapore and the University of Sydney (four apiece) as most-capped champions in the world.

But the MLS team is not getting ahead of itself, with a focus firmly on its submission prior to mooting in February.

“There is a lot of hard work to do before then,” Luke says.

By Andy Walsh