Courtrooms around the world will look very different post COVID-19, and Bond University students are getting an early taste of those changes through a virtual international mooting competition.
“Courts around Australia now make it possible for parties to appear remotely at least in some proceedings,” Bond University director of mooting, Dr Louise Parsons said.
“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been significant progress with moving some hearings in courts and also in arbitration online.
“Students who are now doing moots online are being well prepared for the unique challenges of the online environment, where for example social cues in body language are not as obvious.
“Getting comfortable with the use of different platforms is also a big advantage for these students. Virtual court proceedings require a slightly different way of interaction. But an eCourtroom is still a court, and court protocols are still to be observed.”
The practical court room experience of their coach, Senior Teaching Fellow Clair Duffy -- who was previously a prosecutor in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda -- has been instrumental to the preparations of this team, also when adapting to an online environment.
The students spent six months planning for the original moot competition before it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
A solution was quickly proposed by Singapore Management University and 14 teams signed up for a friendly online competition.
Canadian student Ian Del Bigio is the instructing solicitor for the Bond University team and was awake and switched on from as early as 1am in his family’s Winnipeg home to compete.
“He is very professional in his approach and the whole team has overcome plenty of adversity and shown great persistence and resilience,” Dr Parsons said.
“We’ve never had a pandemic, students haven’t been faced with this before.
“They haven’t had the face-to-face support they would normally get because of the pandemic; it could have all fallen apart, but they didn’t let it fall apart.
“It’s such a credit to the students, they’ve shown a lot of courage.”