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Queensland school named champions at National High School Mooting Competition

June 5, 2019
Julia Richardson, Rueben Steyn and Grace Kronenberg of Citipointe Christian College

National mooting champions (left to right): Julia Richardson, Rueben Steyn and Grace Kronenberg of Citipointe Christian College. Picture: Cavan Flynn

A Brisbane school has claimed the National High School Mooting Competition, beating 80 other teams from across Australia.

Carindale’s Citipointe Christian College defeated leading Melbourne private school Haileybury in a hotly contested grand final at Bond University on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Citipointe student Rueben Steyn was also announced best advocate in the competition.

“It is insane, I did not expect to be announced the best advocate,” Mr Steyn said.

“It was super exciting to be given those kind words from the judges.

“I don’t do legal studies, so the team were really good bringing me up to speed with all the legal terms and getting me ready. The whole process was so much fun.”

Mr Steyn said he was now reassessing his career goals.

“We are so proud to win this competition,” he said.

“I wasn’t going to study law after high school, but after this experience I’m starting to think about it.”

Mooting is a simulated court proceeding in which teams are presented with a problem which they argue before a panel of judges.

Bond University Assistant Professor Louise Parsons said that “mooting gives a sense of accomplishment second to none.”

“When students do the High School Mooting Competition, they study a fictional factual scenario and research the law in order to prepare arguments for one of the parties to dispute.”

“This requires deep analysis and critical thinking,” Ms Parsons said.

Ms Parsons, who is also Bond University’s Director of Mooting, explained that throughout the competition, students demonstrated their skills of persuasion.

“Presenting the arguments orally also requires strategic thinking and responsiveness - that's when their oral skills really shine, and their depth of understanding truly becomes evident.”

In the Bond competition, the students were arguing either side of a liability case stemming from a paintball accident.

The grand final was contested before Justice Robert Gotterson of the Queensland Supreme Court of Appeal and retired judge John Newton who was overwhelmed with the quality of submissions from the high school students.

“The standard today is much higher than when I first started judging this moot competition many years ago,” Mr Newton said.

“I was very impressed with the clarity of expression, and the submissions were logical. Mr Steyn answered the questions in some depth and took the trouble to understand what the questioner was concerned with when framing his answers and submissions.”

Citipointe Christian College also made the grand final last year but went one better this year, coming away with the title.

The National High School Mooting Competition is one of the oldest in Australia, having been established in 1989, the year Bond University was founded.