TuksLaw students win in Hong Kong

Posted on April 15, 2009

The Commonwealth Moot Competition is a 'by invitation only' competition, with the Commonwealth inviting the winners of regional competitions around the world to participate. This year 11 teams from 11 countries participated for the honours. The judges included Chief Justices, eminent authors, Professors, Queen’s Councils, Judges and prominent practitioners representing the different countries of the Commonwealth and Hong Kong.

The team from Pretoria first eliminated the team representing the UK, then New Zeeland, thereafter Singapore and in the final round, the home team, Hong Kong.

The competition dealt with a complicated and very topical problem revolving around, amongst other things, an international arms deal scandal, corruption and UK company and procedural law. In the process of preparing for the competition, the team had to study not only UK and international law, but also English common law and it’s interpretations in the courts of the different countries in the Commonwealth. The problem was described by the judges at the competition as a particularly difficult and complicated set of facts to research and moot on.

Katherine Harding, ‘junior counsel’ on the team, said: ‘We are thrilled to have represented South Africa in this prestigious competition against teams of such a high calibre.’ Ian Learmonth, ‘senior counsel’ on the team, concurred and added that it was an honour to appear in front of such distinguished judges and it was beneficial to see international viewpoints on topical issues such as bribery and the resulting claims’.

Lourens Grové, coach of the team and head of the University’s Moot and Debating Society, said that the team put a tremendous amount of work into this competition and that he is very pleased with their performance against tried and tested teams that represent some of the best in the world.

The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Christof Heyns, said that the Faculty was delighted by how well the students did. 'There are not many opportunities for law students worldwide to compete with each other, and to get a concrete assessment from an international bench of judges of their lawyering skills. This is why a number of international moot competitions have started to attract the participation of the top law faculties in the world. We are very proud of the independent, international recognition that our students have achieved once again. They got on the plane, flew to Hong Kong to take on the world, and won.'

Students from the University of Pretoria have also during the last few years won the inaugural International Criminal Court Trial Competition in The Hague; the Ambassador’s round of the 27th Annual John Marshall Law School International Moot Court Competition in Information Technology and Privacy Law in Chicago; and the national moot competition for first years held in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein (both in Afrikaans and in English). They will also be the defending champions at the 18th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Lagos, Nigeria, later this year, having won the competition last year.

Read the articles that was published in the press about this achievement:
For more information on the Commonwealth Moot, see

For more information on the Faculty of Law and its Mooting history, see www.up.ac.za/law

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