Vaal Campus law students to take part in 24th Human Rights Moot Court Competition

Anjonet Jordaan -- Tue, 09/29/2015 - 16:35

Vaal Campus law students to take part in 24th Human Rights Moot Court Competition

North-West University’s Vaal Triangle Campus will again this year send two of their finest law students to take part in the 24th Human Rights Moot Court Competition taking place from 5 to 10 October in Lusaka, Zambia.

Tshegofatso Khutsoane and Lesego More are two third-year law students who rose to the top during elimination rounds held on campus to decide who will represent the campus during the competition this year. Both students are not only good law students, but have both recently been elected to Vaal Triangle Campus Student Representative Council (SRC).

From left to right: Dr Ilyayambwa Mwanwina, Tshegofatso Khutsoane and Lesego More
From left to right: Dr Ilyayambwa Mwanwina, Tshegofatso Khutsoane and Lesego More

We asked Dr Ilyayambwa Mwanawina, law lecturer at School of Basic Sciences (Vaal Triangle Campus) about the competition and value it has for students:


What value do you believe and have you seen this competition add to students who have competed in Moot court competition in previous years?


Dr Mwanawina: The development of a complete law graduate cannot be achieved only through the traditional lecturing strategy. A complete law graduate should have the cognitive ability to synthesize, research, adjust their position in response to counter arguments; articulate convincingly and process the law at high speeds. Unfortunately, these skills cannot be tested through sitting for an exam then having that script evaluated according to a "memo". In fact I have observed over the years that "distinction" students do not automatically excel in moot court. By participating in the moot court (even if you do not get selected to represent the NWU) you get the chance to develop these abilities that are not taught in class but are essential in all professions.


The facts of the case are already available to all students taking part in the competition and the same case will be argued during the different rounds. What will be the greatest challenge participants will have to overcome to ensure they progress to the following round of the competition?


Dr Mwanawina: After one day of hearing the same opening statements and arguments, judges become "immune" to obvious arguments. The challenge for a litigant then becomes how to engineer the next creative argument for the next round. The thrust of the case remains the same but there are endless possibilities on how to convince the judges... creativity, adaptation, research and oratory.


What factors are considered to assess the winners / participants of the next round and the eventual final round?


Dr Mwanawina: During the moot, participants are evaluated on factors such as general knowledge of law, organisation, clarity, response to questions, persuasiveness and ingenuity. In the preliminary rounds a team will argue the problem four times: twice as applicants and twice as respondents. The preliminary rounds will be conducted separately and simultaneously in English, French and Portuguese. The best teams two in each language group competing will be announced after completion of the preliminary rounds. In the event that finalist teams from Anglophone, Francophone or Lusophone rounds come from the same country, the team with the highest average mark will participate in the final round. In essence the purpose of the moot is not to outperform but to explore and widen perspectives of the participants to human rights.