On 20 September 2019 the final of the Justice Sir Robert Chambers Memorial Moot for 2019 was held in Courtroom number 7 at the Auckland High Court.
The Moot is named in honour of Sir Robert Chambers, who was a Supreme Court Judge. He was the husband of a Bankside Chambers member. Sir Robert died in 2013 unexpectedly in his sleep.
Sir Robert was a keen supporter of academic law and in particular the Auckland University Law School where he lectured after his return from Oxford having been awarded his PhD in 1978. The Moot recognises Sir Robert’s outstanding legal career and his close association with the faculty of law. Throughout his life Sir Robert supported legal education and continuing professional development.
He was appointed to the New Zealand Council of Legal Education as the Chief Justice’s representative. More to the point, he was an all-round terrific guy with a fantastic sense of humour and a great friend of many of Bankside’s members.
The Moot is for law intermediate students who are in their first year of University. It aims to foster a love of mooting at an early start in a law student’s career. The research indicates that the sooner student’s start mooting, the better they become. Auckland Law School is now recognised as a strong contender internationally in mooting competitions. This is in part due to the early uptake of mooting which is encouraged by the Dean of Auckland Law School, Professor Penelope Mathew, who spoke at the beginning of the Moot and the Auckland University Mooting Society. The Presidents of the Mooting Society, Rachel Buckman and Charlie Barker, did a great job organising what is Auckland Law School’s largest Moot by participation. The Auckland University Mooting Society itself was formed by Sir Robert’s step-daughter, Caitlin Hollings, whilst she was a student at Auckland Law School, so there is a strong family connection. Lady Deborah Chambers QC sponsors the Sir Robert Chambers Moot and participates as a Judge each year.
This year there was another Bankside Chambers link to the Moot. Kelly Quinn, a member of Bankside, sat as one of the Judges. The four finalists were Sarah Platt and Cameron Puttergill for the appellant and Meredith Williams and Kayla Bergh for the respondent.
Judging the Moot with Kelly was Justice Matthew Muir, who sits on the Auckland High Court Bench, and Lady Deborah Chambers QC.
This year the Courtroom was full with an audience including Professor Mark Henaghan, but largely made up of fellow law intermediate students who were there with an eye to their future mooting success as they go through law schoolThe Moot problem involved the law of privacy and an Elon Musk character. All characters were named from Harry Potter.
The Judges commented that all four mooters were of an exceptional standard, particularly given they are so new to law. None of the mooters had the opportunity to study the law of torts. The Moot aims to encourage law intermediate students to see the practical application of their learning and experience the fun and challenge of mooting. It is also intended as a lesson for the audience on how to moot well.
The winners on the night by a close margin were counsel for the appellant, Cameron Puttergill and Sarah Platt.