CUHK Moot Cup Reveals Growing Legal Talent
To offer high-school students a unique chance to try their hand at oral argument in a university setting, the Faculty of Law of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has organized the first CUHK Moot Cup Competition, in which the legal talent of 56 high school students from 20 high schools across Hong Kong was put firmly on display. Intensive training was provided by the professors and students of CUHK Law Faculty in advance of the competition. The event has successfully bridged the gap between high school students and university education.
The CUHK Moot Cup was introduced by Prof. Michael Ramsden, Associate Professor, and Prof. Luke Marsh, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law. They hope that the competition will provide high school students with an invaluable opportunity to understand the legal profession, the importance of Hong Kong’s constitutional system, human rights and the rule of law. The moot problem of this year’s competition explored the controversial issue of ‘Occupy Central’ and the limits of police powers where protesters were engaged in peaceful political assembly.
The participating students were split up into 28 teams and the competition was held over three intensive days. Participants received instruction in two stages from Prof. Ramsden and Prof. Marsh alongside the CUHK student mooting committee comprising Year 3 students of LLB programme, before competing against one another.
The first stage of instruction was knowledge-based, introducing the relevant law, legal framework and legal method. It also provided student participants with a general direction as to how to approach and prepare for the competition as well as the necessary research skills. This first section drew upon material from the LLB module Constitutional Law which is taught to all first year law students thereby giving high school students some indication as to the demands placed upon new entrants to law school. The second stage was skills-based, introducing the format and style of mooting. A moot demonstration by CUHK law students provided student participants with their first insight into how to moot.
Students were then tested on their ability to write a legal submission and also argue on the basis on their submission through oral advocacy. The top scoring four teams in the general rounds proceeded to the semi-final round. Two overall top scoring teams mooted for first place in the Grand Final. Positive feedback from participating students has shown that the event complimented the Faculty’s outreach to talented high school students. One student remarked, ‘The idea of studying law at University has always been one of the possible choices in my mind, even before going to the competition. However, one of the main things that was preventing me was the fact that I had very little experience with the law and the legal profession, and was thus unable to decide whether it was a suitable profession for me. However, being able to immerse myself in the law, I now have a much better understanding… my interest level has definitely increased.’
The competition has also offered a unique experiential learning experience, as noted by another participant, ‘I had very little knowledge of how to construct a legal argument and how to interpret and utilize the Basic Law. I’ve gained valuable insights into the structure of the law over the course of this competition.’
The CUHK Moot Cup champions for 2014 were Christy Lau and Joshua Hung of the Chinese International School who prevailed in a close final against Adriana Lee and Vanessa Ma of Diocesan Girls’ School. An award ceremony saw the winning teams receive trophies with medals awarded to the 1st Runners Up and Semi-Finalists. This years’ CUHK student mooting committee comprised: Lloyd Meng, Shannon Gong, Adrian Fong and Sam Chan, Year 3 students of LLB programme.