Arguing a moot point

THREE aspiring legal eagles from St John Paul College have secured a place in the top 10 of Australia's prestigious high school mooting competition.

Competing this weekend, at Bond University's state-of-the-art moot court, these Coffs Coast Year 11 and 12 students participate because they are interested in studying law.

Presenting their cases to a panel of Bond Law academics, each team was required to debate a fictitious tort law issue concerning the alleged contributory negligence of a 16-year-old girl involved as a passenger in a drink-driving accident on the way home from a party.

"We always try to set a problem that is relevant to high school students and that allows for strong arguments from both sides,” Bond University director of mooting Assistant Professor Louise Parsons said.

"Mooting helps students develop critical thinking and strong analytical skills, as well as the confidence and ability to present oral arguments.

"For high school students considering a career in law, it is a great opportunity to experience the challenges and rewards of trying cases in a court room.

"But the skills they develop through the competition process apply to many different scenarios and will stand them in good stead whether they ultimately decide to study law or not.”

The St John Paul College students are tackling the same case they argued in the preliminary rounds but, for the finals, they're presenting it to a high-level panel, including the Honourable Justice Robert Gotterson from the Queensland Supreme Court of Appeal and retired Judge John E Newton.