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The Moot Court

A spacious well-equipped moot court room provides the setting for training advocacy skills. Advocacy skills form a substantial part of the two Legal Practice courses and all students are required to participate in the annual moot competitions during which they argue points of law.

Each year Rhodes sends a team of two students to the All Africa Moot Competition in which over 60 African law schools participate. Students also participate in the annual Client Counselling Competition which focuses on interviewing skills. In 1999 the Rhodes Team was selected to represented South Africa in the Final Round in Chicago and were placed second.

2004 saw Rhodes achieving their best ever results in the All African Competition, including top-10 positions overall, in the written memorials section and for Gareth Deiner in the top-oralists competition. In an endevour to match or even better the results of 2004. As was the case in 2004, Rhodes also held a highly successful moot in 2005 against the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMMU) Law Faculty. The Rhodes/ NMMU was held on Saturday 20 August in the Rhodes Law Faculty Moot Room. This inter-varsity moot provided both invaluable preparation for the participants and gave a number of other law students, who were present in the audience, a chance to learn more about mooting and trial advocacy in general.

9th Annual Kovsie First-Year Moot Court Competition, Bloemfontein 10 – 13 October 2013

The 9th Annual Kovsie First-Year Moot Court Competition went very well this year. We entered two teams and one of them made it through to the final. Our students did us proud in that they were professional and well-mannered at all times. They had to face friendly judges, mean judges and intimidating judges, but in all cases they held their own and remained professional. The students repeatedly expressed their gratitude towards the faculty for the opportunity to participate in this competition. This experience has undoubtedly enriched their lives.

The Rhodes University team (arguing on behalf of the plaintiff) argued against a team from the University of Pretoria (acting on behalf of the defendant).

In the Afrikaans division, the two finalist teams were both from the University of Pretoria. In the English division, the four finalist teams were one team from Rhodes University (Ms Ayanda Mbonani and Ms Nombulelo Myeni), one team from the University of Zululand and two teams from the University of Pretoria.  Needless to say, we were very proud and happy to have a team in the final!

Report on Lexis Nexis Mock Trial Competition 25-29 September 2013

On the 25th of the September 2013, I accompanied two penultimate year LLB students, namely Mr Huajun Sun and Mr Fundile Sangoni, to Port Elizabeth, where these students participated in the Lexis Nexis Mock Trial Competition.

These two students had been selected as the overall winners of an internal mock trial competition held by the Rhodes University Law Clinic on the 10th of September 2013.

The host University for this year’s Lexis Nexis was the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and it was also their first time hosting this competition. The participating Universities included the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (3 teams), The University of Venda (4 teams), the University of Zuzuland (2 teams), the University of Potchefstroom (1 team), the University of Pretoria (1 team) and of course our Rhodes University team. Overall 12 teams participated in the mock trial competition.

On the evening of arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the Dean of Law, Professor Vivienne Le Vack, at an intimate cocktail party, held within the Faculty of Law. This social function gave all the participating University’s an opportunity to network with each and also for our participants to meet their opponents for the upcoming trials.

On 26 September 2013, the Rhodes University team was elected to argue as Defence counsels against the host University’s first team acting as state prosecutors. It was an unfortunate experience for our team as they were faced with a Presiding Officer who disregarded the rules of the competition and embarked on unnecessary tangents with the participants. After round 1 the Rhodes team was ranked in 11th, and after a much successful second round, our team moved from 12th position to 5th.

The Rhodes University team was also relived to learn that after much deliberation by the committee and dean of law, that their scores for round 1would be disregarded due to the gross irregularities which occurred during their first trial, and that the average between their second and third trial would be used to determine the score for their first trial. The decision was greatly welcomed and with spirits lifted again, our team managed to achieve a desirable score after round 3, ranking them in 5th position after round 3.

The announcement of the semifinalist on day 3 of the competition was a somewhat bitter sweet moment for our students as they had missed the semifinals by 1 point. At the same time, our team was thrilled at having been ranked 5th overall, particularly since it was there first time at such a competition and only having done one mock trial in their first year! The final round, gave our team an opportunity to observe the trials objectively as well as have an idea of what to expect from a full bench! Again, a wonderful learning experience for our team. In the end, the University of Potchefstroom was announced as the overall winning team, with the University of Zululand taking second place.

The competition ended with a beautiful cocktail evening, and closing address by the host University and its sponsor, Lexis Nexis.

A further thank you must also be extended to Advocate Craig Renaud and Advocate Les Roberts for assisting with the training of the students for both their internal trials as well as in preparation for the competition in PE. Their valuable knowledge and experience definitely played a role in the overall success of the Rhodes team.

With thanks,

Miss Jaylynne Hillier- Lexis Nexis Mock Trial Competition Coordinator

Penultimate Moot Final Report - 12-16 August 2013

The Law Faculty’s corridors were littered with suits and high heels in the week of 12-16 August 2013 as the penultimate law students were taken to task in their penultimate moot.  Judges Padayachi, Davies, Muller, Glover, Niesing and Mqeke all presiding.

While the final year moot is a stand-alone affair, the penultimate moot is the culmination of the legal skills course. The Faculty was one of the first to run a course like this, and now most other law schools have a variant thereof. The Rhodes legal skills course is carefully crafted to test student's numeracy, literacy and advocacy skills. A highlight of the programme is obviously the moots, but it is also the 72 hour assignment which gives students a complicated problem and gives them 3 days to provide an opinion to client.

So, having survived the 72 hour assignment in the second term, the penultimate students were faced again with a real-life situation. The question this year involved the contemporary issue of access to information, in particular whether a municipality could withhold information which may implicate individuals in mismanagement of funds and disciplinary issues.

The penultimate moot final, held on 26th August, and with a full public gallery, proved to be a highlight at the end of the first semester. Armand Swart and Robyn Farmer, the two finalists, conducted themselves admirably in front of a bench consisting of Adv Izak Smuts SC, Adv Nicola Redpath, and Mr Douglas Maduma of Netteltons Attorneys. Armand Swart pipped Robyn Farmer to the post by one point, and was gracious in his thanks to his opponent and to his penultimate class.  

In commenting on the finalists, Adv Izak Smuts indicated how much the Bench had enjoyed the moot and how talented he considered the finalists to be. Finally, and most importantly, student feedback included comments such as: '[The moots] taught me a lot about myself. I surprised myself' and [The moots] required us to use all the skills that we have learnt over the years and it was nice to put these into practice.'

Helen Kruuse, Penultimate Moot Final Co-ordinator

Last Modified: Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:43:33 SAST