An innovative and comprehensive programme of lawyering skills at Kent Law School will culminate in a moot final to be judged by the President of the Supreme Court, Lord Reed of Allemuir.
The moot will take place online on Tuesday 27 April and will feature the Law School’s top four highest scoring mooters: Hena Pagoo, Isabel Van Der Hoorn, Henry Vine and Suhaib Zaino.
Kent mooters were due to compete in person at the Supreme Court in London last April, but plans were postponed due to the COVID pandemic. The Law School had been one of only 12 in the UK to be selected (back in January 2020) to hold its internal moot competition final before a Supreme Court judge.
Darren Weir, Director of Lawyering Skills, said: ‘While the pandemic means that the moot will be performed and judged virtually, it has in other ways opened up opportunities to engage to more students and staff. Lord Reed and his judicial assistant will hold a virtual Q&A session after the moot, and we’ve been offered a virtual behind the scenes private tour of the space on Monday 26 April. It appears that tickets are unlimited so we’re hoping for a great turnout.’
Mooting is part of a programme of lawyering skills at Kent and the Law School was quick to adapt its plans for the whole programme in response to the pandemic. A decision was made to ensure students (particularly those in their final year) would have access to additional ‘on-campus’ experiences from the beginning of the academic year in September 2020.
Under Darren’s direction, capacity across all the co-curricular modules in the Lawyering Skills Programme was increased and a new module created. As a result, approximately 400 law students have been able to develop their practical legal skills through their participation in the Programme.
This year’s Lawyering Skills Programme comprised five key elements: Mooting; Mock Trial Advocacy; Legal Argument & Oral Communication Skills (Debating); Client Interviewing; and Mediation and Negotiation.
- The Mooting Module comprised three one-hour mooting workshops with training in: oratory skills; use of CaseLines (a digital system for sharing evidence for case preparation and courtroom presentation); writing skeleton arguments; and speed mooting. (Due to the pandemic, the last session, a speed moot event, was also duplicated online so that students who were shielding could also practice their mooting style)
- A series of 19 moots took place in the Spring term via Zoom before a panel of legal practitioners, judges and academics, with all students invited to attend and watch
- Kent mooters also competed in external moot competitions. Highlights included: reaching the Semi-Finals in the 5 Paper Building Moot, The Landmark (JR) Moot, the 2019/20 ESU Moot and the 36 Group Advocacy Competition; entering the National Speed Moot Winter Cup, the Inner Temple Moot Intervarsity Competition, The Landmark (Property) Moot, the OUP Moot, ESU 2020/21 Moot, Children’s Rights Moot, and Southampton Intervarsity Moot
- The annual Boys & Maughan Civil Advocacy Competition was held online this year. The competition, which included a training event plus two heats, was won in March by Elliot Simmonds
Mock Trial Advocacy:
- The Mock Trial Advocacy module comprised seven two-hour workshops on campus and training in all aspects of Crown Court Advocacy
- Training was conducted by the Director of Lawyering Skills with the assistance of visiting legal practitioners
- A series of 13 Mock Trials (including two assessed) were held online via Zoom. Approximately 80 students took advantage of the invitation to become jury members. Legal practitioners and students played the parts of witnesses and Judges
- Switching the trials online (in response to lockdown), enabled more legal practitioners, judges and magistrates to get involved
Legal Argument & Oral Communication Skills (Debating):
- A new module created (as a one-off) to help more than 100 Stage 2/3 law students (not just aspiring lawyers) develop public speaking skills
- The module comprised a series of four one-hour workshops covering teamwork, public speaking skills, breathing techniques, the art of oratory and the framing of debate skills, as well as a mini-debate
- Workshops took place in person in the Autumn term and culminated in a series of ‘Critical Debates in Law’ in the Spring term
- All students were invited to attend and watch the debates. Topics included: EU Law, Family Law, Company Law, Intellectual Property Law, Contract Law and Data Protection and Privacy.
- The Client Interviewing Skills module was adapted to provide two full-day sessions on campus.
- Workshops were conducted by Client Interviewing Coordinator Lucinda Griffiths
- Training culminated in an online Client Interviewing internal competition
Mediation & Negotiation:
- Professor Bernard Richmond QC (QC at Lamb Building) was invited to design a module combining both mediation and negotiation
- Originally designed to be offered both online (for those who wanted it) and in person (for those who wanted it), the programme was moved online in response to the third lockdown
- The module comprised two four-hour online workshops and students were required to submit a 1200-word reflection piece to pass the programme.
Looking ahead, there are plans to expand the Lawyering Skills Programme at Kent Law School even further once back on campus. Watch this space for news of more exciting opportunities for law students at Kent in 2022!