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Virtual moot goes global thanks to technology

Bond University will facilitate an international virtual mooting competition between some of the world's most respected law schools next year, after the success of an inaugural event, made possible by leading-edge technology.

The Gold Coast independent university went head to head with the prestigious 'Universite Paris 13' Law School, part of the Sorbonne, on a sports law issue during the inaugural event on Friday, September 12, with judges, including former world kayaking champion and sports lawyer Jacqui Mengler, declaring Universite Paris the winner by a narrow margin.

The bilingual moot was enabled by high speed web and video conference facilities, part of Bond University's new Global Links Room in the $1.4 million Balnaves Foundation Multimedia Learning Centre.

Bond University Professor of Law, Jim Corkery, who initiated the competition, said there had already been interest from universities in the United States, Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia to take part in next year's event.

"The rapid improvement in technology has made this new age mooting exercise possible, providing the capacity to conduct a personal interaction between law student advocates at one end and witnesses at the other," he said.

"Personal communication and persuasion play a vital role in mooting, as they do in any courtroom.  Having sophisticated technology that is instantaneous and crystal clear was an absolute necessity.

"The availability of this technology has opened a whole new range of opportunities for students and the virtual mooting competition is the perfect example.

"We look forward to an even more competitive event next year, with leading universities from around the world already expressing their interest in taking part."

Professor Corkery said Bond Law was a world leader in mooting – which involves courtroom simulations conducted by opposing teams applying legal rules to fact situations - and the virtual competition would solidify that position.

“Traditionally, the time and cost involved with international moots, where teams travel to a single overseas location for a face-to-face debate, has been prohibitive and often limited participation. Technology is changing all that,” he said.

“Thanks to the generosity of The Balnaves Foundation, the Global Links Room is revolutionising the way we conduct our international competitions and provides more students with more opportunities to embark on global studies.

“Global Law firms are demanding their employees have this kind of international experience and skills set, and we are now in a position to better equip our students to meet these demands.

"Bond University is also a very international university, with up to 40% of students from overseas, so exposing them to these types of opportunities is extremely important.

"We want to prepare students to be able to work anywhere in the world and, indeed, we have alumni working in some of the most prestigious companies and institutions around the world, such as Fiona de Jong, who was recently appointed secretary general of the Australian Olympic Committee.  Several law alumni have made partner in global Wall Street law firms in New York. "

Professor Corkery said the new technology was being used to enhance personalised experiences for students, rather than enable stage-managed lectures to be sent to mass audiences, with little chance of follow up or personalised instruction.

"For example, we've brought in an expert in internet law from Sweden, Ulf Maunsbach from the University of Lund, who was able to teach the first half of the semester in person at the university, to develop a personal rapport with students, and the last half virtually from Sweden via the Global Links Room," he said.

"The new technology really opens doors when it comes to helping our students access the brightest minds internationally."

The Global Links Room utilises C40 Tandberg video conferencing condec technology, which puts students and lecturers across the globe in touch 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The multimedia centre enables high speed and crystal clear connections to multiple parties, facilitating the use of cutting edge educational software and e-learning tools.

Dr Neil Balnaves said The Balnaves Foundation was excited to be part of such a cutting-edge project.

“We pride ourselves in funding the next generation of great minds and the Global Links Room makes the connections that such an ambition requires,” he said.

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