Merton’s law students are introduced to mooting in the summer of their first year with an internal mooting competition in the FE Smith Memorial Mooting Competition. There is also a second year competition, sponsored by Slaughter and May. Many Merton law students go on to moot successfully in university competitions.
The Supreme Court of New South Wales set the challenge of assessing the Cost Assessment Scheme, which determines fair and reasonable costs between clients and their lawyers in light of any cost agreements, and then identifying opportunities to improve the process through innovation and technology whilst maintaining and safeguarding the aims of the scheme.
The pitches by all teams were of an exceptionally high quality, with Petra’s team presenting the COST.assist online platform, which streamlined nine paper-based documents into one dynamic online form, provided a space for immediate communication between stakeholders and utilised data capture to drive a cost forecasting tool that demystified the costs involved.
The winner was then announced by The Honourable Justice Kelly Rees SC, Supreme Court of New South Wales, at the FLIP Innovation Dinner. Warm congratulations to her and the rest of her team, and best of luck in taking this innovative idea further with the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia.
The moot problem raised issues ranging from the precise rules of how property could be acquired under Treasure Trove to whether liability for an omission could be incurred under Chapter Three of the lex Aquilia. The competition was judged incisively by Professor David Ibbetson (Cambridge’s Regius Professor of Civil Law) and Wolfgang Ernst (Oxford’s Regius Professor of Civil Law). The level of mooting was very high all round, with each University’s team fielding competitors on both sides of each issue and making very close reference to the original authorities.
The rest of the Oxford team was made up of Laura Harray (Brasenose), Cassie Somers-Joce (Magdalen) and Alexander Yean (Exeter) and they were expertly coached by Professor Joe Sampson (Tutorial Fellow in Law at Magdalen).
Earlier this year, Ross was also awarded the Slaughter and May Prize in a Roman Introduction to Private Law, for achieving the best mark in this year’s exams on that paper. Warm congratulations to him and the rest of the Oxford team and many thanks to the judges and everyone else involved for making such an interesting and unique opportunity possible.
FE Smith Memorial Mooting Competition 2019
On 29 May 2019, first-year Merton law students faced off in the College’s annual mooting competition.
This year’s problem was on tort law and dealt with an array of legal issues, such as public authorities’ liability, assumption of responsibility and position of control. The competition was kindly judged by Fra' John Eidinow and Tsvetelina van Bentham.
The competitors showed an impressive breadth of knowledge on the subject and delivered their submissions with clarity and professionalism. In fact, despite the tremendous equality of efforts amongst all first years, Christopher Lipper was awarded the first prize, while Federico Amodeo and Ross Moore claimed the second prize.
The moot proved to be an invaluable experience for the first-year law students. A special thanks is owed to Fra' John for his individual feedback and to Tsvetelina van Bentham for drafting such interesting moot problem.
Report: Second Year Mooting Competition, 22 May 2019
On 22 May 2019, second-year Merton law students competed in the annual moot generously provided by Slaughter and May.
The moot dealt with complex issues arising from a fictional appeal of a real case (Re Cook) which had been updated to the 21st century. The main question of the moot was whether the agreement could be enforced by the children (who were the beneficiaries of the family settlement) either via a chose in action or via the Contract of Third Parties Act 1999 and was dealt with superbly by all competitors.
The presentation and the breadth of legal knowledge showcased by the competitors was regarded of the highest possible quality by the Court of Appeal panel represented by Mertonians and Slaughter and May partners Dan Schaffer, Matthew Tobin and trainee Rachel Hunter. Such was the quality of the moot that it was concluded that all second years deserved the second prize, though rising above what was already an incredibly high threshold was Isadora Janssen who claimed the first prize. A special thanks is owed to Slaughter and May and especially Dan Shaffer for drafting such intriguing and challenging problem.
Report: Second Year Mooting Competition, 30 May 2018
In May, second year Merton law students competed in a moot kindly organised by law firm Slaughter and May, dealing with issues including estoppel and the interpretation of contracts. The quality of mooting from all involved was exceptionally high, as was remarked on by the judges, and first year law students present benefitted greatly from watching the competition. Andrew Dixon was awarded the first prize, with Eleanor Chafer and Niamh Herrett sharing the second prize.
Slaughter and May partners Dan Schaffer (1986) and Matthew Tobin (1991), as well as solicitor Ross Neil, acted as judges of the moot and provided the moot problem. The problem, a fictional appeal of a real contract law case, was extremely complex, requiring the application of difficult points of law to a detailed set of facts. The three judges had clearly given the problem considerable thought themselves, with each judge focussing on a different area of appeal and probing the competitors with challenging and insightful questions.
The Halsbury Society is very grateful to Slaughter and May for sponsoring the moot and the dinner which followed, which provided a more casual environment for Merton law students to talk with Dan, Matthew, and Ross. Special thanks also are due to Dan Schaffer, Matthew Tobin, and Ross Neil, for the clear time and effort they had put into both the preparation of the moot problem, and their approach to the moot in their roles as judges. Both Dan and Matthew are alumni of Merton college, and the Halsbury Society is glad to see them return to provide such a valuable experience for the current law undergraduates. We look forward to next year’s moot, and to continued cooperation with Slaughter and May, and all others involved.
Report: International Roman Law Moot Court Competition, 11-15 April 2018
Over the Easter vacation, two Merton undergraduates won the prestigious International Roman Law Moot Court Competition, representing Oxford against seven other universities from six different countries across Europe. This year’s competition, which was held in Liège, Belgium, marked the 11th instalment in the competition’s history, and is the first time Oxford has won since the inaugural moot back in 2007. Oxford narrowly beat Liège in the Grand Final, with the University of Athens coming third, and Cambridge, who Oxford rather satisfyingly beat in the semi-finals, coming fourth.
Andrew Dixon and Niamh Herrett, both second-year undergraduates studying Law at Merton, had to moot on points of Roman law based on a problem set in Italy in 537AD. The issues in the moot involved the alleged theft of 27 'sanglochons' (a hybrid species of male boars and female pigs), and the looting of three pigs from a burning barn.
Also, in the team were Jesus College undergraduate Tim Koch, and postgraduate Daniel Schwennike, who previously studied Classics at Merton for his undergraduate degree.
Merton is delighted with the success of Andrew and Niamh, who will go on to coach the team for the Varsity Roman Law Moot in Trinity Term 2018.
Report: The Times 2TG Moot, 18 January 2018
The New Year has seen a strong start for Merton mooting with Ioana Burtea and Ed Langley (third-year Law undergraduates) reaching the finals of the Times 2TG Moot. Despite being the youngest team to progress to the quarter-final stage, they quickly advanced through the preliminary rounds arguing on issues ranging from the Defective Premises Act to agency contracts. Held in Middle Temple, the Moot Final centred on the controversial and highly current issue of the gig economy and whether the security guards amusingly referred to as Stormtroopers had employment rights. Sitting on the bench for the Final were Sir John Laws, Lady Justice Gloster, and Lord Justice Jackson, who ensured a lively moot full of intervention and even some Star Wars humour. Although Ioana and Ed were ultimately declared the runners-up in the national competition, their performance nevertheless impressed the bench and The Times commended their articulate presentation. They were both honoured for the chance to participate before such a high calibre bench and an audience composed of experienced barristers as well as Lord Hughes and Lord Carnwath of the Supreme Court. A special thank you to The Times and 2 Temple Garden Chambers for sponsoring and organizing this competition!
Report: Varsity Roman Law Moot, 12 June 2017
Merton was very pleased earlier this year to have one of its first year lawyers, Andrew Dixon, accepted into the University's team for the annual Varsity Roman Law Moot against Cambridge.
The competition is rotated annually, and this year it was held at Trinity College, Cambridge. Both teams of four prepared cases for the claimant and the defendant, to moot an imagined claim about the theft of a valuable locket, applying only the Roman law as it was in 550AD.
As always, the level of advocacy displayed was exceptionally high, and the questions from the expert panel of judges was equally challenging. Although ultimately Cambridge were deemed the victors, the coveted prize for the best mooter ('Praemium Optimi Oratoris') was awarded to Andrew. We are delighted with his performance, and hope he continues to make the College proud in many more moots in the future.
Report: FE Smith Memorial Mooting Competition 2017
This year, the moot problem for first year Merton lawyers competing in this annual competition held in June, was on contract law, and dealt with issues of consideration and economic duress.
The standard of mooting this year was exceptionally high, as commented on by both judges, so congratulations to all the mooters. Many thanks also to our excellent judges, Sam Eidinow and Stephanie Wood, who not only challenged the mooters with difficult questions but also had the unenviable task of picking the winners. First prize went to Niamh Herrett, with second prize shared between Ameer Ismail and Eleanor Chafer. Prizes of £100 and £50 for first and runner up were kindly donated by Sam Eidinow.
Report: Second Year Mooting Competition, 22 May 2017
Once again the second year Merton law students were fortunate enough to compete in a moot organised by the prestigious law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. The moot concerned an imaginary contract dispute, involving the issues of discretion clauses, implied terms and reasonable expectations. The event was well attended by both law and non-law students, and was by all accounts a masterclass in legal mooting practices.
All five participants dealt with their respective points of appeal with clarity, depth and professionalism, even amongst such fierce competition. Niamh Kelly was awarded the prestigious first prize, and Ewan White claimed the second prize, both showing remarkable ingenuity in their prepared speeches and skilful handling of the questions asked of them.
Merton is very grateful to Herbert Smith Freehills for sponsoring the event, both the moot and the dinner afterwards, which was an insightful occasion enjoyed by all in attendance. In particular, the Halsbury Society would like to extend our deepest thanks to Dan Schaffer (1986), one of the partners at the firm as well as a Merton alumni, for presiding as the judge tasked with deciding the case. His questions were insightful, comprehensive and, as all of the second-year students will agree, challenging. As a partner who specialises in pension trust law, he has a wealth of experience and expertise regarding the legal profession which he was gracious enough to share with students and tutors at the dinner following the moot. The Halsbury Society wish him all the best in his new job at Slaughter and May, and hope we have many years of cooperation to look forward to together.
Hilary Term 2017 Mooting Update
It’s been an exciting year for Merton mooters so far! The college once again had a strong show in the annual Cuppers Mooting Competition. Niamh Herrett and Andrew Dixon represented us in the first round. In an impressive showing for their first term at Oxford, they successfully argued on the subject of constructive manslaughter and the legality of aiding self-injection. In the next round, second years Edward Langley and Ewan White successfully mooted against the Somerville team on the issue of medical negligence. In the quarter-final, Ewan and Alice Walker engaged on an interesting debate on the evolution of the Williams v Roffey doctrine and promissory estoppel in contract law against a strong St Peter’s team. Advancing to the semi-final, a Merton team comprising of Edward and Alice, narrowly lost to St Catherine’s arguing for the appellant on the facts of the topical Miller case.
Congratulations also goes to Niamh Kelly (second year) for representing Merton on the Oxford team at national rounds of the prestigious 58th Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court competition in February. The Oxford team performed admirably, achieving a bronze finish at the National rounds and the best Applicant Memorial. Niamh placed 6th in the national competition for skilfully arguing over issues of repatriating cultural property and cross-border human rights violations.
Report: FE Smith Memorial Mooting Competition 2016
The first year Merton law students faced off in the College’s annual Mooting competition, held on 2 June. This year’s problem was on contract law, and required competitors to undertake independent research into current legal issues surrounding Consideration, Promissory Estoppel, and Economic Duress. They each had eight minutes in which to make their case, while judges Victoria Dixon and Sam Eidinow forced them to think on their feet with challenging questioning. The standard of competition was excellent, but the standout performances of Zoë Harrison and Ioana Burtea secured their positions in first and second place respectively. There was a prize of £100 to the winner and £50 to the runner up, kindly donated by Sam Eidinow.
Report: Second Year Mooting Competition, 11 May 2016
This May, second year Merton law students competed in a Moot organised by prestigious law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. HSF partners Adam Johnson and Dan Schaffer judged the competition, as well as hosting a Mooting Masterclass in the College. First and second year students participating in the workshop benefited from their invaluable advice on the preparation of written and oral arguments, based on their experience as solicitor advocates. The competitors clearly took their recommendations on board, giving extremely impressive performances as they negotiated the complex legal issues arising from a real-life contract law case involving mistaken transactions and insolvency proceedings in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. After a heated contest, Katie Ratcliffe and Anna Williams – veterans of the demanding international Jessup mooting competition – clinched first and second place respectively. Following the Moot, a dinner kindly sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills allowed the competitors to talk to the partners in a less formal setting.