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Gold Coast school suits up to break 18-year moot drought

June 3, 2022

(L-R) QAHS students Zhuominna Ma, Zoha Khan, Nicholas Hamilton are suiting up to take on Sydney’s The King’s School at Bond University.

The country’s sharpest young legal minds will suit up this Saturday to compete in the hotly contested National High School Mooting Competition grand final at Bond University.

Southport-based Queensland Academies for Health Sciences (QAHS) will be the first Gold Coast school to win the competition in 18 years if they are victorious over Sydney’s The King’s School.

A total of 86 schools across Australia competed in preliminary virtual rounds via Zoom, in the lead up to the in-person grand final event.

QAHS student Zoha Khan said the team were nervous and excited to be facing off against the all-boys school in person.

“So far in the competition we have been competing virtually – so there’s been an element of reduced stress because we aren’t physically presenting in front of the judging panel,” explains Miss Khan.

“It will be a completely different experience when we are in the court room tomorrow. Hopefully it means we will perform at our best.

“It feels a bit unbelievable to potentially be the first Gold Coast school to win the national competition in 18 years. Kings is well-renowned, so to possibly beat them is quite an insane feeling. It’s a privilege to have made it this far in the competition.

“We don’t do legal studies at our school, but all of our subjects have taught us how to look at things from different perspectives. We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on how to think critically, and we’ve read and re-read the case inside out.”

The two schools will face off in one of Bond University’s mock court rooms and present arguments in front of some of the country’s most prominent members of the legal community. These include The Honourable Robert Gotterson AO, retired judge of the Queensland Court of Appeal, The Honourable John Newton, retired judge of the Queensland District Court, and Bond University Assistant Professor Elizabeth Greene.

Bond University Associate Professor and Director of Mooting Dr Louise Parsons said learning to advocate over a virtual platform is key.

“Advocacy over technology is here to stay, so participants of this year’s competition have practiced valuable skills for the future,” Professor Parsons said.

“I was blown away by the resilience and adaptability that the competition participants showed. It's not easy to be persuasive over a screen, but the participants adapted seemingly effortlessly to the technology.

“I’m excited for the top two schools to experience the thrill of standing up in the Bond moot court this Saturday for the grand final event.”

Mooting is a simulated court proceeding in which teams are presented with a problem which they argue before a panel of judges.

St Hilda’s School was the last Gold Coast school to win the competition in 2004.

The National High School Mooting Competition is one of the oldest in Australia, having been established in 1989, the year Bond University was founded.