Bond Law students Lara Sveinsson and Marty Campbell made a stunning debut at the 2016 International Humanitarian Law moot when they defeated 14 universities from across Australia to win the competition.
The International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Moot Competition is a national mooting competition run jointly by the Australian Red Cross and the Australian Law Students’ Association (ALSA) every year during the ASLA’s annual conference. This year’s event was held in Hobart.
The purpose of the IHL Moot is to assist Australian university students in understanding and appreciating the growing importance of international humanitarian law, its nature as a system of protection during times of armed conflict and its role as fundamental part of international law.
The talented Bondies went head-to-head with a team of very strong opponents from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in the final but managed to secure victory, having gained a confidence boost early-on in the competition when they progressed after a tough quarter-final moot.
Ms Sveinsson said the conference was brilliant and provided a fantastic opportunity to meet law students from across Australia, though the Moot itself was initially quite a daunting prospect.
“Neither Marty nor I had studied International Humanitarian Law before, so for us it was a huge learning curve to get up to speed on new laws, rules and jurisdictions,” she said.
“It was a massive challenge to go from zero knowledge to arguing our case in front of humanitarian law experts in court, but it was absolutely worth it.
“War is something you usually only see on the news - you don’t appreciate or understand the legal framework behind it - so to learn about the law behind those kind of conflicts was fascinating.
“It was such an honour to moot before, and receive feedback from, a high-profile judging panel consisting of a Supreme Court Judge and Head of the Australian International Committee of the Red Cross.
“Marty and I were also deeply appreciative of the daily messages of support we received from Bond Law students and staff.
“There is nothing better than mooting to test your oral advocacy and problem solving skills, build your confidence and make sure you can perform under pressure.
“These skills - that have been developed and honed through our law and mooting experience here at Bond - are incredibly transferrable into everyday life, and hopefully one day into careers as international legal professionals.”
Assistant Professor Louise Parsons, Bond’s Director of Mooting, said Lara and Marty both gained a lot of confidence in their own abilities as law students and as researchers through their participation in the moot.
“They were required to do the necessary research and get on top of the legal issues without formal classes in this subject area, and this research continued right up to the night before the final.
“Also, Lara and Marty’s time to prepare for this moot was substantially impacted by a trip they both undertook as part of the Bond Model United Nations group to Japan in the two weeks preceding the competition.
“Marty and Lara have done Bond proud. They overcame many obstacles, demonstrated great resilience and composure, and ultimately their hard work and sacrifices paid off.
“Their achievement evidences the fact that if you take on a challenge, and buckle down and do what is required, it can pay enormous dividends!”
As the winner of this competition, the team will now be the Australian representative in the International Red Cross International Humanitarian Moot Competition in Hong Kong next March.
The IHL Moot was not Bond’s only success at the 2016 ALSA Conference in Hobart.
The University’s Law Students Association (LSA) was also recognised by ALSA as having the country’s Best Health and Wellbeing Initiative.
Bond Law student Bryan Parsons wrote the winning submission about the LSA’s creation of a new student position in the Faculty of Law - the LSA Special Interests Director.
The role of the LSA Special Interests Director is to promote the health and wellbeing of Bond’s Law students and create a more supportive environment for members of its LGBTIQ+ community.
The submission outlined a number of creative and innovative student services to be introduced at Bond including the creation of an LGBTIQ+ terminology sensitivity guide for staff and students.