USP’s Law School holds grand finale of moot competition
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Honourable Chief Justice Anthony Gates awarding a prize to the finalists.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Law (SOL) held the grand finale of its Mooting Competition at the High Court in Suva, Fiji on 26 April 2016.
Judges that presided over the final were Honourable Justice William Calanchini, President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice David Alfred and Honourable Justice Riyaz Hamza.
During the prize-giving ceremony at Café 30, SOL’s senior lecturer Dr Wilfred Golman acknowledged the presence of Fiji’s Honourable Chief Justice Anthony Gates, judges and senior law practitioners.
He thanked the Fijian Judiciary for their support in lending the premises (High Court no.1) for the final to be conducted successfully.
Justice Calanchini said the law students did a very good job considering it was their first time in a formal court room.
“I understand how nervous you might have been and how appearing before three High Court judges can be difficult but you handled the questions very well. You each demonstrated a certain amount of nerve when you first started but as your argument proceeded you became more firm,” Justice Calanchini told the students.
He congratulated them and wished them the very best in their legal careers.
Mr Richard Naidu of Munro Leys said they were very pleased to sponsor the prize for Best Individual Mooter.
“We are a large law firm and heavily invested in what USP does and we are pleased to be able to make a small contribution to advocacy training at USP, and certainly hope this relationship will continue,” Mr Naidu said.
The Honourable Chief Justice Anthony Gates advised the students to become lawyers who can be trusted.
“When doing private practice you will need to master advocacy, writing, drafting and of course, your advice to clients. You will also have to do a lot of reading,” he encouraged.
These, he said, are difficult things to master.
“All those things you learnt from University are not going to help you in private practice unless you have the diligence and humility to master the nuts and bolts of the legal profession – litigation, and even simple things like debt collection as many of the claims in court are essentially about people chasing money,” Justice Gates said.
Justice Gates said it is important to note that when in court, lawyers have to know what they are talking about.
“It is not easy, you have to prepare yourself well. You will need to persuade the court and you must have facts at your fingertips,” he noted.
Justice Gates told students that if they are serious about becoming lawyers, they should be ready to commit themselves to a lot of hard work and preparation.
“You have to persuade the court and show them how a judgement will be written out. That is what the judges want from you - the indications, the lines and areas that will justify the main result you want. You must give those reasons, it is up to you how to manage the case,” he advised.
He reminded the students that as lawyers, they remain servants of their clients.
“You may have to give them some difficult advice but you are there for his or her purpose and not your own. It is about the client’s case, nothing is more sacred,” he emphasised.
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