The past year has been another fantastic year for the Halsbury Society. We started the year welcoming the new law undergraduates and postgraduates with afternoon tea and, three weeks later, held the first St Anne’s vs Merton family law moot, judged by Jo Delahunty QC (St Anne’s 1983). The moot was won by Michael Withers and Nanae Hart (both 2014) for Merton, who then went on to form part of the Merton Cuppers mooting team along with Ioana Burtea (2015), Niamh Kelly (2015) and Laura King (2013). In the Maitland Chambers Intercollegiate Mooting Competition, Merton came second overall, its highest result in the history of the competition.
Merton students have participated in a wide variety of mooting competitions this year and had numerous successes. Michael Withers and Nanae Hart participated in two University moots, the Shearman & Sterling moot and the Herbert Smith Freehills Oxford Disability Moot, while Katie Ratcliffe (2014) was part of the winning team in the Oxford Legal Assistance Moot in Trinity 2016. Anna Williams (2014) and Katie Ratcliffe were selected in Trinity Term 2015 as members of the Oxford Jessup moot team, which reached the semi-final of the national round.
The first and second years were privileged to receive a masterclass by two Herbert Smith Freehills solicitor advocates in Trinity 2016. This was followed by the second year moot sponsored by the firm, in which Anna Williams and Katie Ratcliffe came runner-up and winner respectively. The year concluded with the FE Smith Memorial Moot in which all Merton first years performed exceptionally well, with Zoe Harrison (2015) awarded first prize and Ioana Burtea runner-up.
We have also been privileged to attend lectures by various eminent lawyers. One highlight of the year in Michaelmas 2015 was the Merton Lawyers’ Association event, the keynote speech being given by the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve (Magdalen 1975) on ‘Being an attorney general’. This was a fascinating lecture and was followed by the opportunity for Merton students to meet former Mertonians working in different areas of the law. In Hilary 2016, the annual lecture, sponsored by Slaughter and May, was given by Lord Kerr on the Batang Kali massacre in light of the recent Supreme Court decision on the case. The lecture was well attended and provided a unique insight into a core administrative law case.
As the year comes to a close, we hand over to the first years who, with Ioana Burtea as the new President of the Society, are already planning exciting events for the coming year. To the members of the Society who are leaving Oxford, we wish you the best of luck in your future careers.
Katie Ratcliffe (2014)
Halsbury Society President 2015-16