Every year, the BAC Mooting Society organises a novice mooting competition to encourage students to pursue the art of mooting. The competition is usually reserved for first-ime mooters. This year however, with a new committee taking over, the competition was rebranded!
At their 2022/23 AGM, the new committee introduced the 1st Novitius Adsertor Legis Moot Court competition, abbreviated as NOVAL. It also works as a play on the word 'novel!' This would be a novel competition and experience for first-time mooters.
NOVAL is planned to be different from previous novice competitions, and this, not just with its name. The committee has planned and lined-up numerous resources for first-time mooters. One of the planned events was a workshop on 'The Art of Mooting,' conducted by Mr. Nandakumar from Thomas Phillip and Mr. Leow Ho Eng from Donovan & Ho. Reading materials and guidance was also provided to each team.
For two months, this new committee worked hard, creating the moot problem, inviting judges and preparing the line-ups. Judges were invited from prestigious law firms such as Thomas Philip, Kuruvilla, Yeoh & Benjamin, Sivananthan Advocates & Solicitors and Nethi & Saw, including several BAC lecturers. An experienced BAC mooter Amirthaa A/P Suntharalingam, one of the champions of the recent IHL Moot Court Competition, was also given the opportunity to judge this competition.
The team received a moot problem about a man named Mr. Justine Maguire, his wife, and a contractor named Bob. Mr. Maguire had installed cameras in his house to monitor Bob's progress on the renovations in his home without anyone's knowledge. However, when he went on a business trip, he saw something devastating through the cameras: his wife was having an affair with Bob.
He returned home on their anniversary, catching the two red-handed. A fight broke out, and a vase was shattered, triggering Bob's PTSD and he ran at Mr. Maguire with a knife. Mr. Maguire pushed him away, and he fell onto the sharp corner of the kitchen counter. He died before the ambulance could arrive. Mr. Maguire was convicted of murder, but he has decided to appeal the court's decision under the reasoning of self-defense. Participants would either argue on behalf of Mr. Maguire or against him.
After submitting their written submissions on 10th December 2022, the teams started preparing their oral submission. On competition day, 17th December 2022, participants were ready to shine.
The preliminaries were eventful, as participants actually mooted for their very first time. Some of them were extremely brave–though their partners came down with Covid-19 at the eleventh hour, they stayed the course and presented for two people! The judges asked many questions to challenge the mooters and keep them on their toes. At the end of each round, the judges gave feedback to the participants on how they could improve both their written and oral submissions.
At the end of Day 1, the semi-finalists were announced! After a hearty congratulations to the four teams, the committee spoke to those who had not made it and gave them some encouragement. Those who did not make the cut were assured that they were extremely talented and were given feedback on how they could do better to improve themselves.
The spotlight were on the semi-finalists the next day. Before the judges arrived, they were in the main hall going over their submissions and preparing for the upcoming round. Although all four teams presented well, only two were able to progress to the finals: Team 1023 (Veena Raagini A/P Parameswaran and Jennessa Rose) and Team 1029 (Foo Qi Rei and Lai Yu Xuan).
The finals were held in BAC's Moot Court. It differed from the rest of the rounds, because the finals allowed spectators. Many law students and lecturers came to support the participants, including students from the different colleges within the BAc Education Group.
There were five judges for the finals - Mr. Manoharan Malayalam and Ms. Anis Malek from M Manoharan Malayalam & Co., Ms. Jamie Wong from Jamie Wong Solicitors & Advocates, Mr. Dinesh Muthal from Dinesh Muthal & Co, and Mr. Mark Jeyakumar from Sivananthan Advocates & Solicitors.
Team 1023 presented on the side of the appellant while Team 1029 were the respondents. Both teams did extremely well.
“The participants spoke well for first-timers. They had very good choice of words, and it was a very close match between the two teams. They managed to stay calm in the face of our questions and it was impressive to see,” said Mr. Malayalam.
Ms. Wong gave feedback regarding each finalist' familiarity with their points. “The students did very well, but they could be so much better if they were more familiar with their points and line of arguments. The downside to fully memorising their script is that they may lose their train of thought when the judges ask questions before the end of the speech,” she said.
Both Mr. Jeyakumar and Mr. Muthal, who judged one team each in the preliminaries had this to say: “They improved leaps and bounds from the preliminaries, and they took the advice given to them to do much better.”
Ultimately, the win went to Team 1023 - Veena Raagini and Jennessa Rose!
BAC wishes them a heartfelt congratulations and hopes that together with other aspiring mooters, they will use this competition as a stepping stone to improve their skills and make BAC proud.
The BAC Mooting Society is not done with competitions yet! Stay tuned as they organise an open level competition next year, and follow their Instagram for more updates!