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trimester one 2014

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ABOUT THE COVER... Eyes weary from a night of study, bag full of books, cramming in your readings on the commute to Uni. That’s the cover our friend and artist Milo came up with for this trimester’s edition of The Obiter UniSA Law Students’ Magazine. The first cartoon cover we’ve ever had - and like its feature character, we couldn’t be anymore stoked. Milo is a local artist and filmmaker, self-described as ‘just a dude trying to get through life against the man’ - you can see more of his work at: milogluth.tumblr.com

enjoy reading

the magazine for Law students at UniSA

facebook.com/usalsainc

instagram.com/usalsa The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual authors and not those of the UniSA School of Law or USALSA Inc.

a USALSA publication © 2014

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obiter CONTENTS the

04//TEAM

Team/Acknowledgements/Editorial

07//COMING EVENTS

All the latest about events from USALSA

08//NEWS

For the members - Kate Forrester

10//PROFILE

An open letter - Professor Wendy Lacey It’s not what you know - a chat with Girish Rao

16//BILLABLE HOURS

Eat. Sleep. Law. Repeat - Meredith Hennessy Yoga & Law - Joe Gilmore

20//EXTRA

A Day with a CEO - Toni Rodriguez A Chinese Summer - Courtney Garfoot The Jessup Moot - Simon Rogers

24//WILBUR J

A loosely crafted guide to mooting

26//PRECEDENT

Actually useful mooting tips - David Plater 3


TEAM obiter the

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Room LB 2-02A School of law UniSA City West

Wilbur ‘The Beard’ Jordan Team Member & Columnist

Cameron Henderson Publications Director USALSA Cameron is a Journalism dropout. He has a keen interest in travel, pubcrawls and general good vibes. He attends lectures primarily to make loud (and awesome) puns on legal theories and is still trying to get a repost on the Law School Memes Facebook Page.

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Submissions USALSA Publications C/O School of Law UniSA GPO Box 2471 Adelaide SA 5001

available online at issuu.com/theobiter

Wilbur is a 4th year Law and Journalism student. When not dreaming of pun game as strong as Cameron’s, Wilbur can be found stroking his beard majestically in the hopes that one day, he may actually understand what he’s doing.


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EDITOR IN CHIEF MEREDITH HENNESSY Meredith is a fourth year Law and Journalism student. The highlight of her law education was meeting The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG. The lowlight was her choice of outfit at said time. Nevertheless, her biggest concern about the future is what exactly is considered ‘professional’ when it comes to fashion, and whether her love of the law and her love of dressing like TLC circa 1995 will someday be at odds with each other.

GUEST CONTRIBUTORS KATE FORRESTER

PROFESSOR WENDY LACEY

JOE GILMORE

SIMON ROGERS

MELISSA DAVIES

COURTNEY GARFOOT

DAVID ‘MORRIS DANCING’ PLATER

TONI RODRIGUEZ

layout: Cameron Henderson Want to get involved in the obiter? Drop us an email at theobiter@usalsa.org Go on...you know you want to...

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EDITORIAL obiter the

I began university in 2012 studying a degree in Journalism. From the age of sixteen, when I first visited India and saw the world outside the comforts of the West, like many young idealistic teens I made a pledge to myself to tell people about my experiences and how they should go about fixing the world. I filmed a documentary on the service work I was doing over there and submitted it as an assignment for SACE, believing it was my legup in the world of journalism and within the next few years I’d be rolling about the Middle East, strapped in a Kevlar vest, rockets overhead, pleading with the audience back home to lobby against militant action. So I finished school, took a year off, interned in Africa, started a degree like a good student, and then – boom, my passion faltered. Too much News Corp and not enough truth coursed through the veins connected to my typing fingers. I couldn’t see myself working for The Advertiser or Today Tonight for the rest of my foreseeable future. So I dropped out and took another fork in the road, I decided to study law. Now I could change the world, now I could be the person I wanted to be. And now, I could run for the USALSA elections and become the Publications Director to oversee the greatest law students’ magazine ever (in South Australia) - The Obiter. And that I did. But this magazine is not about my story. It is about your story, the stories of your teachers, of your peers - of your friends and future colleagues. This publication is here to engage you, to embody your struggles and to celebrate your victories. Its here to capture your highs and comfort your lows, to help you through those tough years of law school and assist you to create your own story, whatever that may be. So here is this trimester’s edition of The Obiter. You’ll notice some changes this time around, as like me, this edition has mixed up its routine and taken a slightly different path. Thank you to those who helped this time around, and to YOU, for picking this up off the coffee table, I hope you enjoy the read. Yours truly, Cameron Henderson - a Journalism Dropout.

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coming events Lipman Karas Open Moot

Trimester 1 Pubcrawl

Round 1 - Week 8

2nd May - 6pm - Late

17th April @ 6pm Final - Week 10 30th April @ 6pm

WestBar -Week 10

Welcome Back Event Law Courtyard -Week 2 (SP4)

Cowell Clarke Negotiation

18th June

Final - Week 10

ALSA Conference

30th April @ 6pm Witness Examination Round 1 - Week 8 16th April @ 6pm Final - Week 10

BRISBANE 7th-13th July

events brought to you by the friendly committee members of USALSA

30th April @ 6pm

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NEWS obiter the

words: Kate Forrester, Cameron Henderson

For the members... ORIENTATION DAY

February 21st 2014, UniSA and USALSA welcomed the new cohort of students into our seventh year of the law school. The day was filled with guest speakers, words of advice from our friendly professors and tours of the campus and law school. USASLA would like to personally welcome all the new students to the law school and hope you have all settled in nicely!

LAW CAREERS FAIR

The highlight of this year so far has been the success of USALSA’s first ever Laws Career Fair, held on Tuesday March 18 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. The fair was attended by seventeen exhibitors including commercial firms, government departments, GDLP providers and non-profit organizations. Students received valuable advice from exhibitors and were able to see the many career paths available to graduates after university. The fair allowed us to source clerkship opportunities and create lasting relationships with HR departments, improving USALSA’s ability to provide career services into the future. Highlights also included lots of goodie bags, drink bottles, ASIO mints and a law student’s best friend, multi-coloured highlighters! A big congratulations to Careers Officer Lisa Parker and the rest of the USALSA committee in making the day such a success, we look forward to the next fair in 2015!

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WELCOME

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The trimesterly welcome back lunch happened on Wednesday of Week 2, with all our amigos gathering in the law courtyard to bring the year back with Mexican burritos, churros, soft drinks and the assault of our now deceased USALSA Mascot, Larry the Pinata.

COMPETITIONS

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USALSA Competitions are in full swing this trimester, with practise rounds underway and finals scheduled for week ten! This year features the Lipman Karas Open Moot, Witness Examination and the Cowell Clarke Negotiation. Comps run from Week 6 to Week 10 and are a great opportunity for students to show off their skills and compete against their peers. USALSA will be sending (yep, with our $$$) the winners of all competitions to represent UniSA Law School at the ALSA conference in Brisbane from July 7-July 13.

So come along and see how its done, even if its just for the drinks after the epic showdown.

PUBCRAWL

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And finally what everyone is waiting for‌. The Trimester 1 Pub Crawl! Get those law diaries out and circle law pub-crawl with your new highlighters. Scheduled for 6pm on Friday May 2 (last day of term) and kicking off at WestBar, the west end will be alive with law students celebrating one night of freedom before those dreaded exams. Also, keep an eye out on social media for law school hoodie designs and various other USALSA initiatives COMING SOON!

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PROFILE obiter the

words: Wendy Lacey

An open letter from your new Dean of Law Dear students, Having just been appointed to the role of Dean, I was asked to write an open letter to students for The Obiter, but one that included reflections on my own experience as a law student at the age of 21. At that age, I was actually taking a year off law to complete my Honours year in Political Science; I was halfway through a combined degree in Arts and Law at the University of Tasmania. I started my degree in 1991 as a 17 year old and finished it in 1999 at the age of 26 and, as a mother of Sam, who was 3 and a half when I graduated. Thus, my undergraduate years did not exactly reflect a seamless, regular progression through the degree. I had 3 years away from the Law School at one point and 2 years away from University altogether. I finished my degree as a part-time student while I raised Sam as a single parent. My student experience was, therefore, quite broad and I was probably one of the last in my original year-group to actually graduate. I must admit that those early undergraduate years were fantastic. I had a great social life but I probably wasn’t the best student that I could have been. In hindsight, I wonder how I even managed to tackle the academic hurdles posed for students wanting to enter into Law and sometimes wonder whether I would even meet today’s entry requirements! It wasn’t until 1992 that I actually started studying ‘proper’ law – contract and torts – rather than the introductory law courses. To be honest - unlike Julia Davis, who was a fellow student in all of my law lectures at the time - I really didn’t enjoy that year and almost withdrew from law altogether. It wasn’t until I was exposed to public law and criminal law the following year that I finally realised why I was actually at Law School. From then on, my marks improved and I knew I was doing what I was meant

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photo: UniSA Law School

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to be doing. But there were certainly some days when I seriously questioned why I had chosen the path that I did. I don’t think that’s unusual for people in their late teens and early twenties, and I found that my focus and determination was much stronger when I studied as a mature aged student. So how did I end up in Adelaide and academia? A few months before I turned 21, I joined my family on a holiday to visit relatives in South Australia. It was my first trip to Adelaide and, from then on I think I always knew that I would eventually live here at some stage. It probably helped that I was a mad Crows fan and enjoyed good food and wine! However, an opportunity arose when, in 2001, the University of Adelaide advertised about 10 academic positions. When I learnt about the jobs I immediately knew that I would be applying for one of them. I was a full-time PhD student on scholarship at the University of Tasmania at the time, but had worked out by then that a career in academia was where I was headed. It wasn’t that I had planned or mapped out a career path into academic life, but I knew I had strengths in legal research and teaching and, as a single

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parent, academia offered an appealing flexibility and the opportunity to influence the law’s development through research. There is also a lot to be said, to quote Vicki Waye (my academic mentor at the University of Adelaide), for working with intelligent, curious people on a daily basis. She is right; it is a privilege to teach in a law school. Had anyone told me at age 21 that I would be a Professor and Dean of Law by the time I was 40, I no doubt would have laughed and dismissed the comment out of hand. However, I do recall a reference to ‘the professor’ being made in relation to me, in my final Law School Yearbook. Whether that was a compliment or not, I’m not really sure (perhaps by then I had become an annoying mature aged student who did more readings than had actually been set by the lecturer)! However, in hindsight, I wouldn’t have changed much along the way. Sure, I have certainly experienced my share of challenges – as a student, as a single parent, as a new academic trying to build a life in another state whilst finishing a PhD thesis - but the journey has been an immensely rewarding one. I feel incredibly honoured to be now leading the UniSA Law School, as its first female Dean, and as one of the School’s foundation staff members. Our Law School is unique and I am incredibly proud of what we have collectively built since 2007. Like Julia and Vicki, I still get emotional on graduation day; interestingly, much more so than I ever did at my previous institutions. Whatever your law school experience, and whatever your ultimate professional journey, there will inevitably be many challenges along the way. If I can offer any advice, it would be to work hard, believe in yourself and learn from every experience – both good and bad. And, always remember that the bad experiences will help to shape you as a person and a professional but they can never ultimately define who you are as a person. Do what you love, do what you’re good at and enjoy the journey. Wendy.

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It’s not what you know... words: Melissa Davies There has been so much talk about the Law degree being the new Arts degree. Numerous articles have been written about the lack of jobs out there for graduates and the empty opportunities for students wanting to gain experience in the industry whilst studying. Unless you’re top of your class, related to the Queen or have worked in a law firm since birth, finding a law job is tough! UniSA law student, Girish Rao just landed a graduate job with Donaldson Walsh (and he hasn’t even graduated yet). He never did honours and his weekends throughout law school weren’t spent at the library. His story will make you believe there could still be a light at the end of the tunnel. So how did he do it?

How did you get an interview?

I used to play cricket with the HR manager so I gave him a call and asked him if he wanted to catch up for coffee. One thing led to another and a couple of months later I was in the boardroom being interviewed by the Managing Partner.

Did the law school prepare you for work?

It doesn’t prepare you for the pressure on the quality of your work or the deadlines within which it must be done. But nothing can prepare you for that. What it does do is give you the tools to quickly learn on the job; how to construct argument, write clearly and research efficiently.

What kind of law student Is the reality of legal work what you thought it would were you? I was generally engaged in the be? law course. I wouldn’t say I was the hardest worker but I was definitely not the slackest.

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It is more tedious than I thought it would be. Law school gives a very theoretical and academic view of the law. Legal work is


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far more practical. Most cases resolve on the facts, before any legal principles are argued. Having to quickly get my head around each factual scenario was a shock to the system and something I didn’t have to do much of at law school.

“...be more than your academic transcript... my firm didn’t even look at mine!” How much legal experience did you have before being offered the job?

I had a fair amount of legal experience before being offered the job. I worked for a barrister for a year doing many of the same tasks as I do now. This definitely held me in good stead in the interview process.

What advice would you give to current law students?

Get as much experience as you can. Legal work is so different to law school and firms want to hire people that can hit the ground running. There are so many things that you can only learn in the workplace. Volunteer your time and start building up your resumé and contact base.

Is there any advice you received that you would like to pass on?

It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. I know this is cliché but there are plenty of smart kids coming out of uni. At the end of the day a firm is going to hire someone they trust and who can one day be a fee earner. So start building a contact base and adding value to yourself. You have to be more than just your academic transcript…my firm didn’t even look at mine!

Do you view your new job as the light at the end of the tunnel?

It feels like it now but ask me again in 6 months. That light might just be the Orient Express.

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billable hours ...EAT. SLEEP. LAW. REPEAT. with Meredith Hennessy The Weekly Breakdown. Dear law students, Ever feel like since starting law school, the weeks go faster than a pint at a pub crawl? Feel like you don’t have time to fit everything in? Well, you’re right. (We will pause here let the shock sink in. You don’t hear those two words very much in law school) We have kindly done the maths for you, to show you exactly where your week goes.

Hours in a week: 168 Time spent sleeping (at 8 hours a night, a naïve but reasonable estimate): 56

Waking hours in a week: 112 Time spent in class for a full time law student: 16 Time spent travelling to and from campus (estimate) half an hour each way, five days a week - weekly hours: 5

Time left over: 91 Time taken out for showers, meals and dressing: 1.5 hours each day of the week: 10.5

Time left over: 80.5

but then... Expected study commitment as per “Information for Law Students” on the UniSA website: 63

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Time left: 17.5 hours So, full time law students. You now have 17.5 hours every week. Do you need to work to support yourself? Are you expected to contribute towards the household duties of where you live, including inspections for those of you who live out of home? Do you enjoy the company of other human beings and social activities? Do you need, not want, but need some, downtime to make sure you don’t turn into a raging ball of anger? Would you like to spend some time with your family? Do you adhere to the health guidelines of requiring at least half an hour of exercise per day? Do you have hobbies? Do you do volunteer work? Are you involved with extracurricular clubs and committees? If the answer is yes to any of these above questions, it’s time to drop a truth bomb on all of you. You probably shouldn’t be doing law full time. Now, before you get your knickers knotted, that’s not to say that it would be impossible.

However, if you do full time law, are aiming to get good marks and have any other commitments in your life, you will almost definitely have a full-blown breakdown once every semester. That’s nine breakdowns over your degree. On top of that, from years of experience (literally,) I can tell you that you will not be able commit yourself one hundred percent to your studies. Now, I’m not doing this to ensure that all you law students do a couple of subjects a semester and draw your degrees out by a year or two so we can spend more time with each other. You just need to know that just because you have the option to study full time and finish your degree in three years, doesn’t mean it is the path that works for you. Learn from the mistakes of those that came before you. Love, A part time student, who lives out of home, works 20+ hours a week and likes to pretend she still has a social life

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billable hours

...YOGA AND LAW. with Joe Gilmore Yoga can help students feel healthier than they ever have before. It improves health, memory, mental clarity, emotional maturity, and all around well-being. Try the following five suggestions, and see what improvements they make in your life!

1 – Get up earlier, and sit quietly for 15-30 minutes.

Meditation is a vital part of yoga (remember, yoga is much more than stretching). Sit still and set a timer, resist the urge to check how much time is left, and start to pay attention to your thoughts. It will change the way you think for the whole day.

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– Be conscious of how you breathe. Throughout the day, in lectures, in the library, wherever, take a few moments to think about your breath. Feel where you are breathing into, and move your breath into your belly. Belly breathing will relax your mind and renew your energy.

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– Eat wholesome, healthy food. This one is common sense, but for a student it is vital. Try to get more than 6 serves of veg and 3 serves of fruit a day, and stay away from overly processed, high sugar, fatty foods. Your body deserves the best.

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– Practice compassion. Bring happiness to those around you, and empathise with those who may not be feeling the best. For those who annoy you, instead of judging or getting angry, try being indifferent towards them, and don’t let any negative thoughts arise from their presence. You will become a nicer person to be around, and people will be attracted to you.

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– Go to a yoga class! Find a yoga class, and begin a practice. In the western world, we think of yoga as stretching, or the ‘Asana,’ but it is much deeper than that.

The above points cover a few basic points of deeper yoga, but going along to a class will only cement the above into an amazing routine of health and happiness. If you think yoga is for girls, or is too easy (like I used to think), attend an Ashtanga yoga class and see how far you make it through the beginners sequence. I can almost guarantee you’ll be very sore and tired the next day. Yoga can and will change your life for the better, if you let it. In a place like law school, where stress and unhealthy lifestyles are the norm, yoga can help balance your energy and most importantly, make you a much more effective student and future professional.

Joe Gilmore is an Ashtanga Yoga instructor, if you wish to learn more about yoga you can find him floating around the law school...

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EXTRA obiter the

words: Toni Rodriguez image: SA Life

A DAY WITH A CEO Late 2013, I was invited to apply for the UniSA Business School’s ‘Win a Day with a CEO’ competition, which is open to first year Business and Law students. As the first winner from the Law School, I had to make sure I represented us well!

I think the best piece of advice I received during the day was not to put myself in the ‘lawyer’ box, and to open up my mind to the many opportunities that exist both in law, and in business. Mr Daniels is a chartered accountant who hasn’t done any accounting work for many years as he has been far too busy being the CEO!

I spent a day in January with the UniSA team, starting out by interviewing Pro Vice Chancellor Marie Wilson about her own career and her very exciting plans for the future of the Business School, before having some media training and heading over to Adelaide Oval for a behind the scenes tour and a surprisingly candid chat with Mr Andrew Daniels.

I would strongly recommend to first year students that they apply for this competition if they receive an invitation. I learned that there is more to a law degree than practicing and going to court, there is a whole world of business out there and the opportunities can be endless!

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words: Courtney Garfoot obiter the

A CHINESE SUMMER Over summer, I had the experience of a life time. I was fortunate to be selected as one of 11 interns to join the CRCC Asia February group in Beijing for a month. During this time I lived with interns from around the world and worked at Jay & Shaw, a boutique commercial law firm near the CBD dealing with clients outside of China. Day to day life for me included buying street food, riding the subway to and from work (which was every bit as busy as you can imagine), working from 9 – 5 then undertaking social events. I was involved in client meetings, the drafting of legal memos, proof reading and contacting clients directly about their disputes.

Everyone was friendly and did their best to speak English and involve me in their work. It was incredible to experience a civil law system and the Chinese business culture first hand. Spending Chinese New Year in Beijing was full on! CRCC were amazing in organising events for us and helping us organise our own trips on the weekends. I saw the Great Wall, the Silk Markets, Forbidden City and many other attractions. It was definitely one of the busiest, craziest months but I wouldn’t change a thing and I would recommend it to anyone who is considering going to China. Not only did I make friends for life but the networks I created are invaluable for my future career.

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EXTRA obiter the

THE JESSUP MOOT

Third year law student Simon Rogers talks to the Obiter about his recent experience at the Jessup International Law Moot.

Can you provide a rundown of the Jessup?

The problem is released late September, this is when most teams start working on it (some teams start working on it earlier). Basically each year there are 4 prayers for relief, for both applicant and respondent. First thing you have to do is prepare memorials (submissions) for both sides. A memorial involves all the research, actual writing and proofing; the equivalent of 2 honours thesis’ in a 2 month period. These are generally due early Jan. This has a word limit of 10, 200 for substance, which you’re normally struggling to stay under. After this you normally take a day or two break. Then oral prep starts. You have to rework your memorials so they work as a speech, and learn the content of that speech so you can basically answer any question within the allocated time limit (45 minutes combined for counsel – which believe me is NOWHERE near enough) without notes, or with very minimal notes.

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Then you go to Canberra for the nationals, which basically involved 2 days of preliminary rounds with 2 moots on each day. Then the finals start, or if you don’t make those, the drinking and socialising starts!

“the equivalent of 2 honours thesis’ in a 2 month period..” How much preparation was involved?

We were in at Uni almost every day for at least 12 hours, sometimes even longer… You will have no chance to do anything other than the Jessup. Did you have any difficulties? Our team wasn’t formed until late November, and then the way it is structured… we didn’t really start working on it until the 23rd of December, so we were under the pump and didn’t’ have nearly enough time to prepare. But all things considered, we did really well!


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What were the highlights?

What wasn’t a highlight? It was such an awesome week, we went a couple of days early to do some sightseeing and then when we didn’t make finals had a couple of days to relax in Canberra with all the other competitors. And by relax I mean drink. It was fantastic… It was also a really good networking opportunity given the calibre of team advisors and the judges.

“...a couple days to relax in Canberra...and by relax I mean drink...” What are your tips for a successful mooter? Use the facts and work the law to those facts, which sounds simple enough I know, but a lot

of people try and spill out law after law after law, without any indication of how it relates to the facts. Knowing the law is all well and good, but you have to be able to argue for your client. Mooting is no different than getting up in front of a judge in court. Preparation is also key. Most of all, have fun. Advocacy (especially mooting at uni) is all about experience. Learn from what you do and learn by watching others too.

Would you recommend the Jessup to anybody considering it?

If you can put the time in, and I mean REALLY put the time in, then yes. If not then you’re only going to be letting yourself and your team mates down. That aside, it is one of the best things you’ll ever do!

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WILBUR J obiter the

You’ve been hearing them since you started law school; the horror stories associated with Constitutional and Administrative Law. Mooting. We all know it. We all fear it. The inevitable plunge into the depths of despair we are forced to take at least twice in our degree. It’s every law student’s (read: my) nightmare. Never fear, peers. The Beard is here to help. Straight from the tutor’s mouth, I’ve prepared a feast of mooting tips from a somewhat average mooter...

“For my last moot I took a different tack; I winged it” - You’ve been given your topic; consider starting straight away. For my Admin moot, I originally thought that I only had to read 10 pages. When I finally worked out that apparently I can’t tell the difference between a 5 and a 6, and in actual fact, I had 110 pages to read, it was far too late. By the time I’d begun, I only had a week until my moot. It suffices to say that I did not manage to complete all this in time, and I missed a few fairly important cases. Rookie mistake.

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- You’re going to be told that it is highly recommended that you read all the cases in full. While you should always listen to the advice of an expert over a man who once stalled an automatic car and still doesn’t know how he managed it, reading full cases is not always possible, and definitely not appealing (see: Carter v Egg and Egg Pulp Marketing Board, 45 pages of your life you will never get back). Read all the extracts in the text book, pick the important/relevant cases and read those in full. - One thing I have never been able to master is knowing a prepared speech word for word, and being able to recite it without having it in front of me. A planned speech can be your downfall. For my last moot I took a different tack; I winged it. By that I mean, construct a brief outline of where you want to go, prepare your witty introduction, and knock socks off with a dramatic conclusion (preferably followed by a sassy hair flick as you exit. Dramatically). Most importantly, include the kinds of questions you think you will be asked. Your tutor is going to be leading you in all sorts of directions with their questions; they may ask you something which takes you from your first submission to your fourth submission. If you have a set outline, it may throw you off. I decided to forgo a complete outline for Admin (an intentional decision which had nothing to do with the fact that by 12am the day of my moot I still hadn’t gotten past ‘may it please the court’). It turned out to work in my favour; my answers had much more impact when they stumbled out of my mouth by accident. Please don’t forget me when you’re mooting you’re way to the top of the lawyer world xoxox

- Wilbur J (Side note: I haven’t completed Admin Law per se. If you see me crying into empty jugs of cider over the next few weeks, put this down and back away slowly).

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PRECEDENT obiter the

image: Juliette Neel

In keeping with this editions spotlight on mooting, we thought we’d throw in some professional tips from the master of criminal law and consumer of cider himself; David ‘Morris Dancing’ Plater. • The first tip lies in your written outline of argument. This is a powerful and often overlooked opportunity. Written advocacy is as important, if not more so now, than oral advocacy. Written advocacy is increasingly important in modern litigation. It provides your opportunity to shape and frame the arguments before the parties even come into court. A powerful and effective written outline can win your cause before the parties even say a word in court. But it is a written outline. The English call it a skeleton argument. It means what it is. Make it short, sharp and to the point. It is a summary of your arguments. It is a road map. It is not a verbatim overview of your intended address. Too many students treat it as an opportunity to deploy the kitchen sink school of advocacy. Don’t! It is called a written outline for a reason. • It might sound obvious but check the expression, formatting and spelling. Too many students don’t! • Be selective in your choice and citation of cases.

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With online resources you can easily saturate the court. Don’t cite or use ten cases when two or three will suffice. Choose the most recent, the most closely applicable to your case or from the highest level of court on point. Don’t put in in your written outline or include in your oral address lengthy quotes unless they are necessary. Judges can read! If you are putting in direct quotes, keep it as short as possible and only when it is necessary. • Start your oral address after introductions with a short overview of your intended submissions. Make sure the court knows where from the outset you are going. What are you asking for and why. Avoid the magical mystery road approach. Also, finish on a strong note. Finish with a 30 second or so overview or reminder of your main arguments. • Be well prepared and confident but not abrasive, cocky or hostile. Don’t argue with your opponent or especially the judge. The judge’s questions may well be not to undermine


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you but to bounce his or her ideas or thoughts off you, maybe even help you. Answer them, even if the questions may seem out of place. Don’t say I will come to that point in a few minutes. Return to your thread and where you were when you have answered the judge’s question. • Don’t read from a prepared script. You will soon lose the thread. You also lose a lot of your flexibility and persuasive effect. Make and keep eye contact with the bench in your address. Use your written outline as a guide to your oral submission or have a list of short bullet points to cover. • Know the facts of both your case intimately and also those of the cases that are cited. Sir Anthony Mason commented at ALSA in 2008 that too many

students in mooting focus on the law and overlook the facts. He is 100% right. You are applying the law to the facts of your present case. Remember a case seemingly against you at first glance may well be able to be distinguished on its facts. • Don’t be afraid to preempt the likely arguments from the other side and counter them in your own address. If something is against you, acknowledge it and deal with it as best you can and move on. • The final tip is to take every opportunity and to remember we can all become effective and persuasive advocates. But remember not to take yourself too seriously and do remember that cider is the spice of life.

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obiter is the only student magazine for law

the

students at UniSA.

While created by a core group of students, we can’t do it all...

that’s why we need your help. We want your contributions to this magazine to ensure it really is a magazine for all law students. Ifknow youofhave ideas for columns, an issue that needs addressing, or want to submit a story yourself, we want to hear from you...

get in touch with our friendly team...normally creating a ruckus in the library or ‘studying’ at the pub

or drop us an email at theobiter@usalsa.org

obiter the

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a USALSA publication © 2014

The Obiter - Edition 8 - Trimester 1 2014  

A fresh layout. Still informed. Still awesome.

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