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Extracurricular activities

Students at all levels of legal and criminology study are encouraged to take part in our extracurricular activities.

Cumberland Lodge weekend

Every September we host a residential weekend away for our students to participate in discussions, workshops and lectures.

This year's Cumberland Lodge weekend tookplace from Friday 14 - Sunday 16 September, centering around the theme of 'Hospitality, the Hostile Environment, and the Law'. Talks included the following:

You Have No Rights! The Creation of the Bad Immigrant Frances Webber, Institute of Race Relations

Sentencing Unwanted Migrants: The Border, Racism, and the Narration of Punishability Gemma Lousley, Birkbeck

Challenging Home Office Removal and Detention Policies: A Solicitor's Perspective Toufique Hossain, Duncan Lewis Solicitors

In or Against the State? Hospitality and Hostility in Homelessness Charities and Deportation Practice Rachael Dobson and Sarah Turnbull, Birkbeck

Immigration and Refugee Law in Russia: Socio-Legal and Comparative Approaches Agnieszka Kubal, University College London

The Hostile Environment and Non-compliance Lizzy Willmington, Cardiff University

Mooting and mock trials

When solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers are taking their pick from the huge number of applications for training and pupillage, one of the key factors they look for is evidence of commitment to a career in the law. They take into account, in particular, active participation in opportunities for mooting. We offer both mooting events and mock trials for our students to participate in.

Mooting is not only tremendous fun, and one of the best ways of learning the law, it is perhaps the only student preparation for the real life of practice.

Birkbeck has achieved considerable success in national mooting competitions in recent years, including victory in the Oxford University Press and Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) National Mooting Competition for 2017/18. Read more about the victory here.

What is mooting?

  • Mooting, as the rather antiquated name suggests, has a tradition extending back to the beginning of the legal professions. It is how lawyers trained in Shakespeare’s time. It is the closest you can get, while still a student, to presenting a case in court.

How does it work?

  • In a moot, students play the role of advocates and argue a fictitious case in a variety of possible settings: jury trial; civil dispute; Court of Appeal; Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. The role of the judge is played by a practising barrister, Queen's Counsel or a real judge. The objective is not to win the case, but to put forward the most convincing arguments in the most professional manner. The winning team will be the team which makes the best presentation. The judge will not be a silent umpire, but will constantly intervene to test the arguments and the acumen of the student advocates. This, as much as having very good student advocates as opponents, is what strengthens student advocacy skills: research, analysis, legal reasoning, and public speaking.
  • Mooting is organised by Jonathan Thorpe.