News Item

July 2015

National Mooting Competition for Young Lawyers


The Law Foundation is backing the expansion of a regional advocacy event into a national competition for young lawyers.

The New Zealand Law Foundation National Mooting competition started life as a Wellington-only event in 2013 organised by the Wellington Young Lawyers’ Committee. With encouragement and funding support from the Foundation it has now expanded nationally. The following year both Auckland and Wellington Young Lawyers’ Committees ran competitions, and in 2015 the Canterbury-Westland Young Lawyers’ Committee will also hold an event. These regional competitions will be followed by a first-ever national final in Wellington. The New Zealand Law Society and the New Zealand Bar Association are strongly supporting these competitions.

National Mooting Coordinator Matt Dodd says the aim is to expand the competition to other regions in 2016 and he also stresses the importance of the moot to developing practical advocacy skills.

“In earlier times there were more opportunities for young lawyers to do court work. There are now plenty of opportunities for young lawyers to do great quality written work, but not for presenting oral arguments.

“We are concerned about the risk of a decline in advocacy standards, and senior lawyers and members of the judiciary are worried as well,” he says.
Participants benefit through mentoring by experienced advocates: “It gives competitors the chance to talk to people who are doing this every day in court. It’s a real educational opportunity,” Matt says.

Regional heats start in early May, and semi-final and final competitions are scheduled for June. Winning teams from each region will compete in Wellington in a national final on 16 July, before judges of the Supreme Court.

The competition will simulate an appellate court hearing with teams of two on either side (appellant and respondent). This event provides an excellent opportunity for young practitioners to develop their court advocacy skills; both in the preparation of legal submissions, and in oral courtroom advocacy.

The Law Foundation is again funding the administrative and travels costs associated with the regional and national competitions, the NZ Law Society is providing administrative support to the Young Lawyers’ Committees and the Bar Association is assisting with securing trainers, mentors and judges for the events.

NZ Law Foundation has awarded up to $10,550 to the Young Lawyers Committees to fund the regional competitions and the new National Competition.