This moot will be memorable to me for many reasons. As I indicated before in Part 1, two of my closest friends have mooted against the University of Cambridge and, between the two of them, experienced both success and defeat. Another reason is that no matter which university ranking system you look at, the University of Cambridge is in the top five of most rankings; they’re ranked third in the world for Law and first in the United Kingdom for Law. Mooting tends to attract the best students from each university ensuring that those who do represent the university are the cream of the crop. Success, therefore, isn’t a small matter.
The moot was due to start at 6pm. Our opponents did not arrive on time; however, once they did, we provided them a room to get comfortable in and relax. When they were asked if they had a spare bundle to exchange with us, they admitted that they did have a spare bundle but, that they did not want to exchange it. As far as I knew, they were under no obligation to provide us with one, so – after that matter was dealt with – the moot began shortly thereafter.
I felt that we started well. We took the judge through our authorities, which he would later commend, and attempted to persuade him that the side of the law we had drawn was correct. Even though in our heart of hearts we knew it wasn’t right. That is something you will have to get used to, however, as both a mooter and as an advocate: you won’t always be on a winner, so you need to know (forgive the poker analogy) that when you’re dealt poor cards that you can still make a good hand with them.
Announcing the decision, the moot judge took time to say that the winners of the appeal were not necessarily the winners of the moot. Instantly bells started ringing in my head. This meant one of two things; either we may have won on the moot but not the law, or the judge wanted to spell that out because he was about to find for the Respondents on the law – that their winning the moot wasn’t based on winning the appeal. In my experience it is usually because the judge wants to make clear that the winners of the law aren’t necessarily the winners of the moot. He announced his decision which, from what I am told, seemed to shock the audience.
After the judgment had been given, in conversation with the two mooters from Cambridge, the moot judge said that he was an alumni of Cambridge. This came as a shock to my partner and I because mooting competitions tend to prohibit former students of a university to judge their alma mater unless express permission is given, which had not been sought in this case.
Liam represented his academic institution, Birmingham City University, in the English Speaking Union – Essex Court Chambers National Mooting Competition.