At this mock court competition, organised by Wadham students and supported by Herbert Smith Freehills, a panel of distinguished judges decides which team has the most persuasive advocacy skills.
Wadham undergraduate Amy Howlett (Law, 2016) reports.
“With a record 23 applications for this year’s Herbert Smith Freehills Oxford Disability Mooting Championship, it was set to be the biggest event in this important competition’s history. The increase in applications highlights the achievement that this mooting competition has established over the years, by mooting on problems that highlight the intersection between those living with disabilities, and the law. The two day event at the TS Elliot theatre, Merton College, focussed on discrimination in the work place for those with disabilities.
“Our highly acclaimed judging panel, who played the part of the Supreme Court, consisted of Professor Kate O’Regan, who since 2010 served as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court of Namibia; The Hon. Michael Beloff QC was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in November 1967, and has appeared more than 40 times in the House of Lords, and 10 times in the Supreme Court; Professor Anne Davies, Dean of the Oxford Faculty of Law and Professor of Law and Public Policy; and Mr Tom Leech QC, Advocate and Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills. The Grand Final Judges thoroughly tested the finalists’ reasoning and the underlying principles of their arguments in order to determine the winners of this competition. After a very tough decision, the judges declared Sean Butler and Anson Cheung the winners, with congratulations for the runners up, Deon Fang and Jasper Gold.
“After the Grand Final of the Mooting Championship, a fascinating Conversazione took place discussing the Implication of Brexit on Disabled People’s Rights. The panel was chaired by Esther Webber, renowned BBC Journalist. Panellists included Sheree Green, Chair of the Law Society’s Mental Health and Disability Committee and a solicitor specialising in mental health law; Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Treasury Minister and member of Parliament for Oxford East; and Lord Low of Dalston CBE, Crossbench member of the House of Lords, legal scholar and Vice President of the Royal National Institute of Blind People. They explored how the EU has shaped disability rights, and what the UK government will do to ensure these rights are protected post Brexit, questioning whether Brexit would create cultural change towards disability.
“The engagement throughout the two days, not only from the competitors, but also the judges and audience members is what makes this competition so special. The quality of the mooting continues to surpass expectations, and creates ongoing conversations about how the law affects those with disabilities.”