Australia’s Bond University has become the first non-Canadian law school to take out the prestigious Wilson Moot in Toronto.
Bond Law students Andrew Wallace, Natalie Lesco and Preksha Lukkhoo of Canada, and Amy Langley of Australia defeated Canada’s top law schools to win the moot, and also win the award for best facta.
Bond has established a strong track-record of individual and team successes since joining the event six years ago, but this is the first time that the Gold Coast-based, private, independent university has won the Wilson Moot.
Assistant Professor Lisa Bonin, Team Coach and Director of Bond’s Canadian Law Program said the students gained significant skills and experience by participating in the event.
“The Wilson Moot gives our Canadian students an opportunity to engage in Canadian advocacy and gain invaluable Canadian law experience. It also gives our Australian students the opportunity to engage with Canadian Constitutional Law at an elite level,” she said.
“None of our student team members had studied Canadian Constitutional Law before embarking on the moot, so they not only have to identify and address the complex, novel issues presented by the moot problem, they also have to learn Canadian Constitutional Law.”
The Wilson Moot was conceived in honour of the Honourable Justice Wilson who was an advocate for access to justice for those lacking power. Each year, the moot problem tackles difficult social-legal human rights issues under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This year’s problem centred on access to fertility treatments and the equality and fundamental justice issues raised by a government program that provided both funded access to fertility treatments and also placed age-based restrictions on access to funded IVF.
“When it comes to mooting, you’re only as good as your preparation and training - and this team was dedicated and trained hard,” Assistant Professor Bonin said.
“Just like in the real practice of law, you can never predict where a judge is going to take you, so when the students are standing up there making their submissions, it’s all on them to apply their knowledge - sometimes in new and novel ways.”
Bond Law student Natalie Lesco, from London, Ontario said the most important thing she gained from participating in the moot was an improved level of confidence.
“I also learnt that the best ideas are a result of tireless hours of brainstorming and are only ever solid after every angle has been considered,” she said.
“Having the opportunity to gain practical experience in both Australia and Canada is invaluable as a law student.
“Mooting teaches students how to meticulously pick apart a case and apply the law in a way that extends far beyond the ordinary curriculum.”
Fellow mooting team member, Preksha Lukkhoo of Edmonton, Alberta, said the experience pushed her beyond what she thought she was capable of, mentally and physically.
“In addition to honing my research, writing and advocacy skills, I learned to operate outside my comfort zone and interact with industry professionals,” she said.
“I learned that the more I practiced and prepared, the more confidently I could advocate.
“Moots enable you to practice your skills in a competitive environment, but still allow you to learn and grow before starting your career as a law professional.”
Assistant Professor Bonin said the team could not have succeeded without the generous support provided to them by Bond’s Faculty of Law, its alumni network and the Canadian legal fraternity.
"A number of Bond Law academics and alumni provided mentoring, support, and feedback during our preparations on campus and through to the competition in Toronto, which speaks to the strength and depth of our advocacy skills training and Bond’s culture of mooting," she said.
"We were also incredibly fortunate to have lawyers from a number of Toronto law firms support our team by generously providing their time to judge practice moots for us."