Queen’s first Grand Moot showcases talented law students, OCA justices
(March 15, 2017)
For years, students and faculty have dreamed of an internal mooting competition just for Queen’s students. This year, the Moot Court Committee took action, and the result was Queen’s inaugural Grand Moot. “Holding the event was a snap decision, so we had a short organizational cycle and a limited number of participating teams,” says Professor Joshua Karton, a committee member. “But the quality of the mooting was really impressive!”
In the end, two teams of third-year students prevailed in the preliminary rounds to advance to the final: Stephanie Bishop and Erin Crochetiere for the appellants, and Alexandra Terrana and Harshi Mann for the respondents. Harshi couldn’t attend the final due to a family commitment, so Mike Adamek, top oralist in the preliminary rounds, stood in for her.
The moot problem, chosen by Professor Lisa Kerr, was a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision, R. v. Anthony-Cook, that addresses when a judge can reject a plea-bargained sentence agreed to by the prosecution and the defence – a topic that is both highly technical and of great real-world importance. “We have an abundance of mooting talent at Queen's Law,” said Kerr. “I tried to find a problem that would give us a chance to showcase and further develop that talent.”
The committee was also gratified by the willingness of Ontario Court of Appeal judges to get involved. “The first three OCA judges we approached were all enthusiastic about taking part,” Karton says. Visiting Kingston to preside over the moot finals were Justices Gary Trotter, former Queen’s Law professor and acting dean; Katherine van Rensburg, Law’81, a member of the Moot Advisory Council; and Kathryn Feldman, whose son Charles graduated from Queen’s Law.
“It was easy to see how the four students in the final deserved that honour,” Karton says. The final round saw all four presenting compelling arguments in the face of some strong questioning from the judges. The visiting OCA justices “didn’t barrage the mooters, but they did ask highly pointed questions aimed right at the weak points in the two sides’ arguments,” Karton says. “As Justice Feldman mentioned to me afterward, it is, after all, their day job.”
The annual Moot Gala, which followed the Grand Moot final, celebrated all of Queen’s competitive moot teams, recognizing the hard work of the dozens of students that engaged in mooting this year. Eowynne Noble, Law’12, now an associate with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, presented the Fasken Prize for contribution to Queen’s moot programs. This year, the prize was shared by Alexandra Terrana and Cole Meagher.
The Grand Moot decision? Our guest judges ultimately awarded the inaugural Grand Moot Cup to the respondent team, Alex Terrana and Mike Adamek.
“This year's inaugural competition – with a final round in front of three Ontario Court of Appeal justices – was a great success,” says Kerr. “We only plan to grow the Grand Moot from here."
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