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Southampton Law School

Southampton Law School wins prestigious 2017 Thomas A Finlay Intervarsity Moot

Published: 2 March 2017

Third year LLB students, Mr Clarence Ho and Mr Darryl Yeo participated in the 2017 competition, hosted by University College Dublin, alongside 6 other universities and clinched the title, returning to the University as champions.

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The moot court, prior to the judges' entrance for the final round. The picture includes the BPTC team ( on the left) from University of Law.
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The prize presentation for Darryl and Clarence.
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Post-prize presentation at the Gala dinner
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Post-prize presentation with the BPTC team at the Gala dinner.
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Mark (Uni of Law), Alexander (Uni of Law), Judge Rosemary Horgan (President of the District Court), Judge Keenan Johnson of the Circuit Court, and Emma Doherty (a partner in Matheson), Clarence, Darryl

The moot took place over two days comprising four point based preliminary rounds, with the top four teams progressing to the Semi-Finals where the competition switched to a knock-out format. The preliminary rounds were overseen by 2 – 3 judges who were practitioners in the Ireland legal system.

The moot focus was ‘European Convention on Human Rights, Irish Family Law and International Conflicts of Law’. The moot involved a Pakistani Muslim woman who sought asylum in Ireland, bringing with her two daughters aged 16 and 10. She provided a death certification showing that her husband had died amidst civil strife in Pakistan, but it was later found that she had fraudulently submitted a fake document. 2 years into her asylum application, she married a French national in Ireland and withdrew her application, while successfully applying for a leave to remain on the basis of her marriage to an EU citizen. It later transpired that her husband was not actually dead, and her second marriage was deemed as a sham marriage – Marriage of convenience. Further to this, a (fictitious) law was passed in Ireland that banned the use of clothing which concealed the face, in part or in full; as well as any act of coercing someone to wear such clothing. A person found in breach of the law would be liable to an imposition of a fine, imprisonment and/or deportation. The Pakistani woman was found in breach of both wearing such a clothing, and for forcing her 16-year-old daughter to wear such a clothing, and was given a fine and suspended imprisonment order. Taking into account her breach of the fictitious law, her suspected sham marriage, and her fraudulent act of submitting a fake document, the Minister ordered her deportation. She sought relief from the High Court but was rejected in her application and thus she appealed, in particularly,

  1. that her rights under Articles 8, 9 and 12 of the ECHR were unjustifiably infringed and;
  2. that her second marriage was not void or voidable in law.

Participants were tasked with formulating arguments on behalf of both the appellant and the respondent.

Darryl and Clarence joined the University of Law, Queen Mary University and Trinity College Dublin in the Semi-Finals. The pair then faced Trinity College at the Semi-Final, followed by a final round with the BPTC students from the University of Law in the Finals.

The Final was judged by Judge Keenan Johnson of the Circuit Court, Judge Rosemary Horgan, President of the District Court and Emma Doherty, a partner in Matheson.

The students prepared for the event by working hard to learn the subject matter, lots of late nights and liaison with academic staff within the School; Dr Micheál O'Floinn, Dr Claire Lougarre, Mrs Leonora Onaran and Dr Eleonora Rosati.

Clarence said “The Thomas A Finlay Intervarsity Moot helped us went beyond our limits. Enduring a period of sleepless nights for the entire time of preparing and participating in the competition, we were forced to endure mental fatigue that we had never experienced before; while also preparing for our case to compete on an international level was wholly new to us. We have definitely felt an improvement in our critical analysis, logical thinking, advocacy, time management, quick thinking and rebuttal skills on a whole as a result of the mooting competition.”

Darryl: “Competing in an International Moot is a great experience. We thoroughly enjoyed networking with International Students from Universities all over the UK and Ireland, as well as the practicing lawyers and judges from Ireland who graciously judged our moots and took the time to counsel us on how we could improve. 6 back-to-back moots with strong opponents and intense questioning from the judges was an extremely draining process which forced the betterment of our skills of advocacy and quick-thinking. Multiple rounds, constantly switching between advocates for the Appellant and the Respondent, ensured that we learned how to evolve our arguments and performances, with us getting to the final much improved from how we were in round 1. As a whole, I believe that the competition has made me into a better mooter and communicator and I am extremely grateful for the experience.”

Clarence and Darryl’s travel to Ireland was funded by Southampton Law School.

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