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Bond Indigenous law students make their ‘mooting debut’ at the Supreme Court

Bond University students Bethany Allen and Joan Cassimatis took to the Supreme Court of Queensland to present their arguments in the second annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Students' Moot Competition recently.

In what was their first-ever mooting competition, Bethany and Joan finished runners up to the team from University of Queensland and received excellent feedback on their mooting skills from the event judges. The Bond team was coached by Assistant Professor Kylie Fletcher-Johnson.

The competition was run by Allens, Ashurst, North Quarter Lane Chambers and the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland Inc and saw students from Bond, University of Queensland and QUT explore a commercial law question concerning the legal consequences of a lender’s reliance on false information and an allegedly negligent third-party valuation in approving a loan application.

The students prepared both sides of the case, and provided written submissions to the opposing counsel before the preliminary round. The moots were judged by high-profile members of the Queensland judiciary and the Bar, including Honourable Justice Margaret A McMurdo AC, President of the Queensland Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice David Boddice and Mr Damien O’Brien QC.

Assistant Professor Louise Parsons, Bond’s Director of Mooting said she was very proud of the students’ achievement.

“Not only is this the first time Bond has entered a team in the ATSI Students' Moot, but Joan has only one semester of law studies under her belt, so for Joan and Bethany to have performed so well is a remarkable accomplishment. We are very proud of them,” she said.

Bethany Allen, who is just commencing her fifth semester of Laws, said she and Joan were very pleased at the unexpected outcome.

“We really didn’t expect to do as well as we did - especially considering this was our first ever moot - and we never dreamed we would get this kind of experience,” Bethany said.

“Mooting in the Banco Court and meeting the ‘who’s who’ of the Queensland legal community was incredible.

“We learnt so much, not just through the moot itself but through the workshop days and the networking nights run by Allens, Ashurst and North Quarter Lane Chambers.

“We were also really impressed by the number of Bondies we encountered through the competition, from new graduates through to those in senior leadership roles. Some were clerking, some were Associates at the Supreme Court and some were solicitors from the firms involved. It was just incredible to feel a part of the thriving Bond legal community.

“Getting the chance to meet and talk to President McMurdo and the other Justices and Barristers involved in the competition after the final moot was a definite highlight; and to get feedback from these high-level legal professionals on our personal performances was something I never imagined would be possible at this stage of our careers.

“We also really enjoyed being part of the community of mooters here at Bond,” Bethany said.

“While we were preparing and rehearsing on campus in the Law library and moot courts, we would see Bond’s International Criminal Court and International Commercial Arbitration mooting teams and they gave us advice and feedback on procedural questions, which was brilliant.

“Having to argue both sides of the moot, in the preliminary and then the final, was a massive challenge. It really forced us to have to prepare thoroughly and be able to think on our feet.  

“Being involved in the ATSI student moot has been a huge learning curve and a great accomplishment for us.

“We’ve gained incredible real-world experience and insight into what it’s like to work in law, we’ve learned new skills, become more confident and acquired a real taste for mooting.”

As runners-up, Bethany and Joan will receive $100 and be given the opportunity to shadow barristers from the North Quarter Lane Chambers.

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