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Deakin Law School wraps up another successful mooting season

From international arbitration to animal law, DLS students were out in force across an expanded program of mooting competitions in 2021.

Deakin Law School stepped up its strong track record in moot competitions by participating in an expanded season during 2021.

With pandemic travel restrictions moving competitions online for a second consecutive year, DLS’s Mooting Director Dr David Tan says it didn’t diminish DLS’s level of enthusiasm.

‘One of the amazing highlights from this year was the enthusiasm of our students, coaches and support staff for mooting.DLS entered six teams in five locally-held mooting competitions – the Animal Law Moot, VML Women’s Moot, ACU Migration Moot, Alfred Deakin International Commercial Arbitration (ICA) Moot, and the Sir Harry Gibbs Constitutional Law Moot. And, as we have done for many years, we also entered a team in the Vis Moot international competitions.’

Coached and organised by DLS Clinical Solicitor Rebecca Tisdale, the VIS Moot team – Aleksandar Milenkovic, Simon Winiarski, Tara Dakin, Ben Awad, Ben Roff, Georgina Ellis, Chloe Dijkmans – made it to the elimination rounds of the Vienna competitions.

‘Further, one of the Deakin ICA teams – Alex Lanham and Seraka Ratnayake – coached by Assoc. Prof. Mark Bowler-Smith, also made it to the quarter finals (top eight) receiving an honourable mention for their claimant’s written submissions,’ says Dr Tan.

DLS mooting success

Moot competitions provide students with the high-value opportunity of participating in a simulated appeal court where they can delve into a challenging problem and build courtroom competency and confidence.

DLS has a strong track record in mooting. It has twice taken first and second place at the prestigious Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot rounds, won both the 2018 Deakin International Commercial Arbitration Moot (taking second place in 2017 and 2019) and the 2019 Freemason’s Victoria Moot Competition, while also taking second place in 2019 Animal Law Moot.

Navigating COVID challenges

Despite the impact of pandemic restrictions, Dr Tan says DLS students and coaches adapted well to the disruptions that stalked 2021.

‘Victoria’s lockdowns threw a bit of a spanner into our plans for the moot program but everyone adjusted very well and exceeded expectations.  I think some of our key learning points was how to select, coach, and moot in an online setting.’

He suggests that one of the unique challenges for students was learning the art of persuasive advocacy via online meeting platforms.

‘I think we all can attest how even making a simple presentation online can be messy. Nonetheless, our students quickly became adapted to presenting through these online platforms. In the future, if more legal matters end up moving online then 2021 was really good training for managing online advocacy.’

Acknowledgements and plans for 2022 

Reflecting on the 2021 mooting season, Dr Tan says there are many people to thank for its success.

‘Most importantly, I want to thank all the DLS students who participated – Alex Lanham, Seraka Ratnayake, Jordan Dittloff, Madeleine Stratmann, David Carpinteri, Namita Gosai, Sarah Saunders, Anneliese Croker, Beth Wilkinson, Hanne Deleu, Catherine Butchart, Isabelle Schinagl, Evelyn Zhang, Pei Hua Liu, Manning Gratwick, Aleksandar Milenkovic, Simon Winiarski, Tara Dakin, Ben Awad, Ben Roff, Georgina Ellis and Chloe Dijkmans.

‘I also want to acknowledge DLS’s incredible coaches Rebecca Tisdale, Prof. Marilyn McMahon, Assoc. Prof. Mark Bowler-Smith, Dr Oscar Roos, Dr Jane Kotzmann and Dr Matt Lister. Special thanks also to DLS Partnerships Coordinator Linda Black, Dr Shu Zhang, and DLS student Sam Wilkinson who organised the very successful 2021 Alfred Deakin ICA Moot.’

In 2022, DLS hopes to double the number of moots it supports and also introduce a general moot competition unit into the curriculum says Dr Tan.

‘This way students will be given credit points for all the hard work they put into preparing for what can be quite demanding – but fulfilling – preparation periods for competitions.’

More information on DLS’s Moot Programs can be found here

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