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Birkbeck wins legal battle with a difference

School of Law students are the victors in national mooting contest.

Birkbeck's mooting team, left to right, Santosh Carvalho, Jonathan Thorpe (mooting co-ordinator), Lewis Aldous and Daniel Cullen
Birkbeck's mooting team (l to r): Santosh Carvalho, Jonathan Thorpe (mooting co-ordinator), Lewis Aldous and Daniel Cullen

Students from Birkbeck’s School of Law have triumphed in the final of a respected national mooting competition, which enables courtroom hopefuls to test their skills of knowledge and advocacy.

Daniel Cullen and Santosh Carvalho were declared winners of the  Oxford University Press and Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) National Mooting Competition 2017/18. Another team member Lewis Aldous had also been instrumental in getting the team to the final by competing as part of the duo in the previous stages of the competition.

It is the first time Birkbeck reached the final of the contest, which was staged at Inner Temple Inn of Court with Lady Justice Hallett, Vice-President of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal, presiding. Also competing in the final were Queen's University Belfast, Open University and University College London.

All three of Birkbeck’s team members are studying for the intensive LLM Qualifying Law Degree which they balance with full-time work, like many other Birkbeck students.

To get to the final, the teams have had to research and advocate a wide range of legal subjects, from contempt of court to contract law, with the ultimate test in the final involving tort and economic loss.

Birkbeck has a long tradition of providing moot training – competitions which give students the chance to practise and hone their advocacy skills – for its law students.

Jonathan Thorpe, coordinator of the Birkbeck mooting programme and a college alumnus who was awarded his LLB in 2010, said he was “overjoyed” at the success.

“All four teams competing in the final deserve praise for reaching so far into this hard-fought moot,” he said.

“Many thanks to the OUP/ICCA organisers and to Lady Justice Hallett for judging the final. The student advocates, as well as their supporters, were treated with great courtesy at Inner Temple where the final was held. This was an invaluable and most memorable experience, and Birkbeck is very proud to have won. This is a great competition and I would encourage all law schools to enter teams for the next academic year.”

The victorious duo each won a £750 prize and will spend a day shadowing His Honour Judge Anthony Leonard at the Old Bailey, to get an up-close insight into how judges handle cases.

The finalists were also given Lady Justice Hallett’s personal tips on mooting and she commented on the high standards of all the students taking part.

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