2014 - 2015

 

 

 

University of Bradford Law Society

 

 

Report of the University of Bradford's involvement in the National Student Law Society's Mooting Competition

 

by Mr. Yassar Tahir

 

Mooting was an invaluable experience. Not once did it enter my mind when I started my LLB journey that I would immerse myself in the task of arguing legal principles in a court room setting, at least not before I graduated. You need to moot in order to understand the adrenalin and sheer exhilaration I experienced in every round in which I participated. I was in the Bradford team for the National Student Law Society competition, alongside my team-mate Zaffer Patel. It was overwhelming in more ways than one, and not just due to the practice, dedication and long hours needed to succeed.

 

Our first moot took place at the University of Huddersfield. We were grateful for a local tie against Bradford’s old Varsity adversaries in the first round, but we didn’t expect to spend 45 minutes searching in the rain and asking for directions for the Business Centre. We walked into the court room wet and wracked with nerves. I looked over to my team-mate, Zaffer Patel, as if to suggest that we are going to be taught a lesson or two. The court room was intimidating. Everything seemed so serious. The words ‘enjoy yourself’ given by our coach Ed Mowlam before heading out to Huddersfield were of little value. When the judge of the moot, a Huddersfield Law Lecturer (in a slight departure from the rules of the competition), began proceedings my nerves eventually calmed. The lead and junior counsel for Huddersfield were also visibly (and at times audibly) nervous. They didn’t help their cause by having a rather messy bundle. This helped us gain confidence and for the first time I thought we could actually win one of these moot things. When the judge left to consider his verdict, we were assured of our win and were grateful that this was confirmed a short while later. We won by a landslide. This gave us great courage to go on and make a success of our mooting efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yasar and Zaffer Patel at Huddersfield

 

I’d be lying if I said my new-found confidence lasted very long. Shortly after our victory I received an email saying that we were to face the University of Warwick at home in the 2nd round. We instantly jumped to the conclusion that Warwick’s mooters must be better than us. Gladly, it transpired that this was not necessarily true! Our moot, which was based on a housing law/land law scenario, was difficult and I felt like a Jeremy Paxman interviewee during the judge’s questioning. I failed to answer a question which he repeated several times! The pressure of that moment impacted upon me heavily and derailed my thinking process (well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it). It wasn’t my proudest moment. I could have prepared better, I articulated my submissions weakly and above all, I should have answered that damn question! Our coach kindly told me that it was all part of the learning experience. Surprisingly, the judge (Mr Rudd of Broadway House Chambers), declared the moot a draw. It appeared that there were good and bad points in each of the mooting teams and we had effectively cancelled each other out. Due to rules, which I still do not understand, both teams were permitted to progress into the third round of the National Student Law Society mooting competition.

 

Next up was Northumbria University away. We were required to catch an early afternoon train in order to make the 5.00pm kick off on a dreary Monday in mid-January. It is fair to say that we rather scraped through the test which was Warwick, therefore we were rather determined to give a good performance in Northumbria, win or lose. Entering Newcastle train station was something else, a wonderfully grand structure, architecture which could overwhelm austere Yorkshire folk like me. Mooting can take you far and wide to locations you might never think of visiting otherwise.

 

The moot was based on a Tort law scenario on negligence. We can certainly be proud of our efforts in Northumbria. The dedication and hard work put in was reflected in the result, in which Northumbria narrowly defeated Bradford by two points. Whilst the judge was deliberating, we had a lengthy conversation with our opponents. The lead counsel for Northumbria was particularly confident in his submissions, although we felt that some of his arguments were borderline ludicrous (but God loves a trier). He told to us that he had mooted in several mooting competitions, such as a competition which is held annually in Mumbai which brings together teams from all over the globe. His superior experience in mooting and advocacy was clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our narrow defeat in Northumbria

 

Despite the enjoyment over the months and the privilege of being involved, there was an equal amount of frustration, not least when judges fail to comprehend a simple submission or asks questions which take you away from your well-prepared script and throws you off your stride. But this is a skill advocates need to learn and I’m glad that I have experienced it first-hand. Frustration can also come about within one’s own team. I found that lack of practice between lead and junior counsel can be hugely detrimental and such incidents ought to be avoided at all costs. For success in mooting, it is without doubt that there must be cohesion and understanding between team-mates.

 

If it wasn’t for my studies distracting me between the mooting rounds, then I most certainly would have participated more often. A lot was learned during the few months that I immersed myself in mooting. The disappointment of losing to Northumbria perfectly illustrates the contrasting emotions which mooting can throw-up, but it is an experience which I wouldn’t give up for the world.

 

 

 

Report of University of Bradford's involvement in the OUP/BPP National Mooting Competition

 

by Abigail Sisnett

 

I was involved in the OUP/BPP Mooting Competition 2014/15. It was a tremendous journey, one filled with challenges. It required dedication, teamwork, commitment, determination, a willingness to learn and to do better, all of which made this a memorable and rewarding journey. Mr. Kesar Zaman, a third year law student at Bradford who graduated in June 2015, was our senior counsel; and myself, a first year law student, and naturally our junior counsel.

 

Our success would not have occurred without the tireless help from our lecturers namely Mr. Ian Miller, Mr. Edward Mowlam and Mr. Ned Sproston. A special thanks to Dr. Sanna Elfving who was very supportive all along this journey; Ms. Julia Cressey and Mr. Robin Lister who also provided the much needed direction in the third round and finally a special thanks to final year law student and member of University of Bradford Law Society Mr. Zeeshan Khan who provided support throughout every step of this competition.

 

Round 1 - University of Bradford v University of Portsmouth

 

This was our first round and it was a day filled with anxiety and nervousness since today we would put into play what we had practiced. We had home advantage and we were able to push aside our nervousness to deliver an excellent display of team work. This showed in the results as we outshone our opponents and came out victorious.

 

My ground dealt with three submissions; firstly that my client did not satisfy the requirement laid out in s.4(1) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Secondly, that the case R v Curtis was rightly decided on the basis that Parliament’s intention was being honoured. And thirdly that there must be a requirement to prove harassment for the s.4(1) offence which was supported by Parliament’s intention as demonstrated in the Protection from Harassment act 1997.

 

Round 2 - University of Coventry v University of Bradford

 

Riding high from the success from the first round we left Bradford and headed to Coventry

to compete against our next opponents. I found this round even more challenging largely

because we were competing away from home. We arrived after a long journey, and

delivered our submissions in a breath-taking auditorium filled to capacity with Coventry

supporters. We also looked the part as both teams were decked out in black gowns and

the judge in his full court attire. A novel experience for us. Unfortunately since we had to

catch the last train back home we were excused by the judge before he delivered the

actual points and comments of the round. But he did let us know that we won, quite

convincingly, and then we took off! It was a wonderful experience, and it was great to have

the opportunity to travel to a part of the UK I had not visited before.

 

My ground dealt with two submissions. Firstly, that the defendant did not satisfy two of the three fundamental elements that must be satisfied in order to be a secondary victim, and therefore the claim against my client should be dismissed. Secondly, the Court of Appeal did not place too restrictive an interpretation on the dicta from the case of Alcock and Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police [1992] 1 AC 310.

 

Round 3 - University of Bradford v City University London

 

Even though for this round we had home advantage it was by far the most challenging of the three rounds. The stakes were higher. But the timing of this round posed a huge challenge since it was around exam time and assignment time. However, we tried our best but our opponents outperformed us on the day.

 

My ground dealt with two submissions. Firstly, that my client did not satisfy the requirement laid out in s.1(1) and by extension s.4 of the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945. Secondly, that the appeal should be allowed on the grounds that my client’s impecuniosity was irrelevant and did not cause his loss and that he was not contributory negligent.

 

To bring my remarks to a conclusion; even though we were defeated in the 3rd round, we have much to be proud of. We took University of Bradford the furthest ever in this well regarded competition. Much was learnt from our victories, yet however splendid these triumphs were, much more was learnt in our defeat to City in the third round. Honestly, our opponents were simply outstanding in every category and we got a first-hand view of what we need to do to become to truly succeed in competitions of this sort, and in our professional life. It must be noted here however that I was not the only one that saw the excellence in our opponents because City University London was crowned the overall winners of the competition. That alone speaks for itself and explains where we will need to be in order to surpass the bar that they have set; not only in next year’s mooting competition but in every mooting competition that Team Bradford enters.

 

 

Mooting at the University of Bradford - 2014/15:

Copyright: Bradford University Law Society (2017)

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