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Kingaroy State High win High School Mooting Competition

Students from Kingaroy State High School have argued their way to the top of a prestigious national challenge, beating 120 schools from across Australia to claim first prize in the Bond University High School Mooting Competition.

It was a battle of the sexes in the final round of the competition with Kingaroy State High School's all-female team of Zoe Basham, Mikhaela Williams and Tahnia Miller defeating the all-male team of James Cafferky, Riley Quinn and Alex Lo from Brisbane Grammar School.

The winning team's Junior Counsel, Mikhaela Williams, was judged the competition's 'Overall Outstanding Advocate', with Brisbane Grammar School's Senior Counsel, James Cafferky, receiving one of three 'Outstanding Advocate' accolades.

The remaining two 'Outstanding Advocate' awards were won by Nicholas Butler from St Kevin's College in Melbourne and Katelyn van Bruggen from Hillcrest Christian College on the Gold Coast.

Each member of the winning team along with each of the outstanding advocates have been offered a 40 per cent scholarship to undertake a Bachelor of Laws degree at Bond University, Australia's leading private university.

The High School Mooting Competition is the only one of its kind in Australia, and was presided over by some of the country's most respected legal figures including the Honourable Justice Robert Gotterson AO of the Supreme Court of Queensland, retired District Court of Queensland Judge John Newton and Bond University’s Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Dean of External Engagement and International, Kathy Atkins.

The topic that was argued by the finalists on Saturday, August 1, was the liability in negligence of a tour operator for an injury sustained by one of its customers, when the customer rolled down a steep sand dune and was seriously injured.

Kingaroy State High's legal studies teacher, Nerissa Maudsley, said she was incredibly proud of her students' performance in the competition.

"I was so impressed with the girls every step of the way, they put a lot of time and effort into their preparation so to see it pay off for them was very rewarding," she said.

"I always had faith that they were talented but you never know how good the other teams are going to be. Zoe, our Senior Counsel, was part of our team last year so it was a great achievement for her to come back and build upon last year's result.

"Participating in the competition has had such a positive impact on the students. It has sharpened their focus in pursuing a university degree and given them the confidence to strive for their dream careers."

Assistant Professor and Director of Mooting Louise Parsons said the winning team had displayed exemplary preparation and demonstrated a deep and thorough understanding of the law and its application.

"We have been blown away by the high standard of the competition and at times it was incredibly difficult to determine a winner. It was often hard to believe that the students were so young - in year 11 and year 12 - yet so eloquent and composed," she said.

"The winning team from Kingaroy State High School particularly impressed Honourable Justice Robert Gotterson AO of the Supreme Court of Queensland and retired District Court of Queensland Judge John Newton with the manner in which they responded to questions and presented their arguments orally."

Assistant Professor Parsons said the competition was an excellent opportunity for young students to develop their advocacy skills.

"The experience of standing up and making legal submissions in front of a judge who asks challenging questions develops the ability to think on your feet, formulate arguments quickly and express them clearly," she said.

"These are skills that can be used in many different scenarios and are not limited to mooting or legal practice.

"I would like to congratulate all of the schools who participated in this competition. We saw some excellent advocacy skills in all of the regional rounds and hope to see all of the participating schools back again next year."

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