In a coup for the Australian education system, Bond University today announced that its Faculty of Law has won first place in the International Criminal Court (ICC) Trial Competition in The Hague in the Netherlands, the legal capital of the world.
Bond University’s team of law students are now the World Champions, having defeated Yale and Utrecht University in the Grand Final of this prestigious competition which was held on 20 February 2009.
20 teams from 14 countries competed in the ICC Trial Competition, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Russia, India, China, the Netherlands, South Africa and Canada. Each team consisted of five members, including two researchers and three advocates acting for the prosecution, defence and victims.
Bond’s champion team competed in three preliminary rounds, each advocate presenting for 45 minutes. This included intensive questioning by an eminent five judge panel of notable experts in the area of international criminal law. The students answered a case in International Humanitarian Law, commonly referred to as ‘the law of war’. The fictitious case involved war crimes and crimes against humanity and the students were required to have a detailed knowledge of the Geneva Convention.
The Bond University champions - Julien du Vergier, Kate Mitchell, Kristen Zornada, Heidi Rulfs and Lauren Ferguson - are all undergraduate students and the team was coached by Senior Teaching Fellow Joseph Crowley of the Bond University Law Faculty. Kate Mitchell won award for ‘Best Oralist’ in the ICC Trial Competition and Kristen Zornada won ‘Best Victim’s Counsel’.
“The purpose of the ICC Trial Competition is for students to develop expertise in international criminal law as it is practised in the actual forum of the International Criminal Court in Europe,” said Professor Geraldine Mackenzie, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Bond University.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for students with an interest in this area of law to work with like-minded peers from around the world, gain exposure to some of the best international criminal lawyers, as well as having the opportunity to visit iconic institutions such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice at the Peace Palace in The Hague,” she continued.
“A special congratulations to Kate Mitchell and Kristen Zornada for their outstanding personal achievements. We are very proud of our students and our ability to nurture their talents, and we look forward to seeing them excel as advocates in their chosen careers,” she said.
The ICC Trial Competition is the third mooting competition Bond University has won within the past twelve months. The University also took first place in the International Intellectual Property Law Mooting Competition in Beijing, China in August 2008 and the National Family Law Mooting Competition in Australia, in March 2008.
“Bond’s talented advocates outclassed students from Yale, the London School of Economics, Moscow State University, the China University of Political Science and Law, and a host of other students from universities which are generally ranked as having the best law faculties in the world,” said Bond University Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Stable.
“Arguably, Bond University is now the best advocacy-teaching university in the world with an outstanding record,” he concluded.