Test case

9th November 2016

News, Student news, Alumni news

Whether an autistic child could be expelled from school following a series of violent outbursts was the subject testing student  advocacy skills at the grand final of the Oxford Disability Mooting Championship.

  • Mooting finalists Matthew Hoyle, Samuel Dayan, Katie Ratcliffe and Thomas Foxton with judges  Professor Anne Davies, Mr John Bowers QC, Dame Elish Angiolini and Mr Ian Gatt QC

  • Moot winners Katie Ratcliffe and Thomas Foxton

    Moot winners Katie Ratcliffe and Thomas Foxton

  • Preliminary rounds of the mooting competition

  • Preliminary round judges with student advocates

    Preliminary round judges with student advocates

The event, supported by Herbert Smith Freehills and organised by organised by Wadham students and alumni in conjunction with the Oxford Law Faculty, drew an audience of some 200 people.

Guests included fifty school students from Wadham’s link regions who are interested in studying law at university.

The moot highlighted interpretations of equality law as applied to a school student with a disability.

A senior panel of judges heard from two undergraduate teams, Matthew Hoyle and Samuel Dayan, and winners Katie Ratcliffe and Thomas Foxton.

Judging the event at the University Church of St Mary were Dame Elish Angiolini QC, former Lord Advocate of Scotland and current Principal of St Hugh's College; Professor Anne Davies, Dean of the Faculty of Law; Mr John Bowers QC, Principal of Brasenose college; and Mr Ian Gatt QC, Head of the Advocacy Group at Herbert Smith Freehills.

Oliver Mills, the Organising Committee Chair commented: “A moot comes alive when the mooters engage with the other team and the panel of judges in front of them. The finalists this year were particularly adept at this, giving detailed and insightful responses to the demanding questions levelled at them by the esteemed panel of judges. Congratulations to all those mooters who took part.”

“I left the event with a better understanding of the enormity of the challenges faced by persons with a disability but also the positive opportunities to address them,” he added.

The moot was followed by a panel discussion (conversazione) on the subject of Disabled people and employment: rights protection, career progression and fulfilling potential, chaired by Wadham alumna and Oxford Councillor Marie Tidball (DPhil Criminology), Oxford City’s Mental Health Champion.

The panellists were Amar Latif, award-winning entrepreneur and founder of Traveleyes, Niall Strawson, Accessibility Adviser at the University of Oxford and Sarah Hewitt, Trustee of Research Autism.

Marie Tidball concluded: “I am very proud of the work the Organising Committee has done this year in producing an Oxford University event which is at the forefront of raising awareness of the intellectually demanding issues involved in legal cases about disability, amongst both students with a disability and those without.”

This event is kindly supported by Herbert Smith Freehills and coincides with UK Disability History Month.

Photos by Oliver Braddy & Julia Banfield

  • Panel discussion with Amar Latif, Niall Strawson, Marie Tidball and Sarah Hewitt

    Panel discussion with Amar Latif, Niall Strawson, Marie Tidball and Sarah Hewitt

  • School students, interested in studying Law at university, hear from senior members of the legal profession

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