Auckland Law Students Runners-Up in World Human Rights Mooting Competition

07 February 2013
World Moot Competition 2012

The 4th World Human Rights Moot Court Competition was held from 7 to 10 December 2012 at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. The moot, which is supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Flemish Government, involved universities from all populated continents. The problem mixed civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights. Written memorials were submitted and 16 teams then invited to participate in the oral rounds. The preliminary finals involved teams mooting four times, twice for the applicant and twice for the respondent. The teams with the best scores judged over the four moots were placed into the Grand Final.

Auckland’s team of Georgina Woods-Child and Jeremy Wilson made it into the Grand Final. Kris Gledhill, Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice, who assisted Isaac Hikaka as the coach to the team, noted: “There were a number of very good mooting teams at this competition. I judged eight rounds in the preliminary finals, and witnessed world-class advocacy from several students, including  from the University of Namibia, the University of Lucerne, the University of New South Wales and Yale. So progressing to the Grand Final was a significant achievement.”

The Grand Final placed the Auckland team against the Norman Manley Law School of Kingston, Jamaica, which had won the previous two competitions. Norman Manley again produced a very strong team and had the advantage of representing the applicant and so setting the agenda (and being more able to exercise passion not expected of government lawyers, which is always an advantage in a moot). However, as one of the judges was to say, Georgina and Jeremy presented as the “dream team” for the respondent, with their relaxed demeanour and calm manner of seeking to rebut a claim which had obvious merits to it.

In the end, the judging panel, which included Justice Monica Mbaru of the High Court of Kenya, Dr Aderlardus Kilangi, President of the African Union Commission of International Law, and Professor Christof Heyns, formerly of the University of Pretoria and now Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions and Extra-judicial killings, determined that the team from Jamaica was again the champions. Jamaica's mooters were also judged to be the first and third best in the entire competition, although Jeremy Wilson was second in the individual rankings, only 0.08 percent behind the winner.

Kris Gledhill commented that participation for the first time in this competition was a worthwhile addition to Law School life that had been coordinated by the Human Rights Centre. He added: “Next year, we hope to persuade law schools in New Zealand to have a national competition that can feed into this World Human Rights Moot.”