LLM Mooting Initiatives and Success

LLM Mooting

The Law School aims not only to deliver a first-class educational experience in commercial and maritime law but also to develop the vital transferable skills its LLM students will need for a career as a legal practitioner. Such skills include the honing of their research ability, in-depth and practical understanding of the subjects that they study on the course and amalgamation and development of credible arguments based on advanced legal principle and authority, as well as the confidence to speak in public, under pressure and to think on one's feet.

To this end, we offer a number of mooting initiatives throughout the academic year. These include:

  • Enrolling on our non-credit bearing module: Commercial and Maritime Mooting. This module adopts a holistic and practical approach to teaching international and transnational dispute settlement by using the medium of mooting. In particular, the module offers advocacy training and innovative teaching in commercial and maritime arbitration and adjudication. Teaching is offered through a combination of seminars and advocacy labs.
  • Mooting training by a dedicated Mooting Co-ordinator, Dr Tabetha Kurtz-Shefford
  • Training sessions delivered by barristers including the Head of the School, Professor Elwen Evans QC.
  • The LLM Internal Moot Competition, which gives our LLM students the chance to test their new advocacy skills. For example, in 2015-16, the final of the LLM Internal Moot Competition was held at the Supreme Court and was judged by Lord Clarke. We were again invited to the Supreme Court in 2018 and the final of our Internal Moot was judged by Lord Mance.
  • Our 2019 LLM Internal Moot Competition final was sponsored and hosted by HFW, one of the leading global law firms in shipping and energy. HFW already offer our top LLM students prizes for highest marks in several of our modules and we could not be more grateful for their continued support in the education of our future maritime and commercial lawyers.
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Winners of the HFW Shipping & Trade Moot Competition 2019

The Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law enjoys close links with those in the industry, including some of the top shipping law firms in the world. This year we had the privilege to host the final of the HFW Shipping & Trade Moot Competition at HFW headquarters in London.

Moot finalists and initial round participants waiting for the judges to enter

Moot finalists and initial round participants waiting for the judges to enter.

It was a fantastic end to an intense mooting season, providing our top eight LLM mooters with the opportunity to show off their presentation and legal reasoning skills to some of the very best in the business. We were honoured to have as our judges, Quadrant Chamber and long-time Institute member Simon Rainey QC, HFW Senior Partner Paul Dean and Claire Womersley, who unanimously sided with Claimant team in their final decision.

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Winners and judges of the HFW Shipping & Trade Moot Final, from left to right: Wu Yirun, Li Yaxin, Paul Dean, Claire Womersley, Simon Rainey QC, Kyriaki Akrita, Jack Ford.

We would like to offer our sincere congratulations to the winners, Mr Jack Ford (Speaker), Ms Yaxin ‘Rose’ Li (Speaker), Mr Yirun ‘William’ Wu (Researcher) and Ms Kyriaki Akrita (Researcher). Their dedication, creative legal arguments and fantastic teamwork impressed us all. 

The moot question itself was particularly complex in nature, covering some of the specialised commercial subjects our LLM students have been studying throughout their degree, and thus offering them the chance to put what they’ve been learning into practice. The initial rounds were held during the week prior, with over fifteen teams competing for the top eight places in the final at HFW. Competition was fierce and we are proud to say that, overall, the calibre was very high. This was especially the case in regards to our runners up, Mr Georgios Katonidis (Speaker), Mr Nikola Marki (Speaker), Ms YingYing ‘Ruth’ Wu (Researcher) and Mr Santiago Gimenez-Gil (Researcher), who provided our winners with rigorous opposition.

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Runners up with the moot judges.

Last, but certainly not least, we must congratulate Ms Nilasha Raha and Mr Jiake ‘Bruce’ Yin on being the clear winners for the ‘Best Skeleton’ prize. The winners of this award were selected from all the teams who submitted skeleton arguments during the initial rounds.

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This concludes our mooting season. We would like to thank all those involved in training and participating in our commercial and maritime moot. We are especially grateful to HFW for their sponsorship, and to the mooting judges who took the time out of their busy schedules to participate in this event. It was an invaluable experience for our students and one that our finalists will certainly never forget!

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1st Commercial and Maritime Moot

The Department of Shipping and Trade Law at Swansea's School of Law, very well-known for its pioneering work in teaching and researching serious commercial law, noted with some surprise the complete absence of any national moot competition focusing on commercial and maritime law. The result was the Inaugural Commercial/Maritime Mooting Competition held in June 2014, organised by the Department under the auspices of 7 King's Bench Walk (probably the foremost commercial and shipping set of barristers' chambers) and Informa Law (part of Routledge, and far and away the leading publisher in the field). The event -- involving a fiendish exercise in legal argument and interpretation arising out of multimodal transport -- attracted 10 university student teams from all over the UK, as well as a wide range of arbitrators, solicitors, academics and transport law experts. Initial rounds took place over an intensive weekend in Swansea on 21 and 22 June 2014; the final, between Swansea and Exeter law schools, was held next day on 23 June in the Parliament Chamber of the Middle Temple in front of Mr Justice Flaux, Peter Macdonald-Eggers QC and  Simon Pickens QC. After a hard-fought battle Exeter Law School (Richard Mahal and Feng Wang) were held to have prevailed over Swansea (Pernille Kuld-Eriksen and Miss Konstantina Zormpa). The overall best speaker award went to Mr Richard Mahal from the winning Exeter team; the Encouragement Award, sponsored by Swansea Law School's own Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, was given to the team from Birkbeck College (Devin Frank and Richard O' Keefe).

The awards were presented by Peter Macdonald-Eggers QC (7 KBW) and Professor Baris Soyer (Director of the Institute) at the reception held in the Queen's Room in the Middle Temple immediately after the event.

IISTL Students Mooting Competition

Professor Soyer, Head of the Department of Shipping and Trade Law, presenting the best speaker prize to Mr Richard Mahal

Speaking after the event, Dr. George Leloudas, who organised the event for Swansea Law School, said: "I would like to extend a very warm thank to all the teams who joined us at Swansea and made this inaugural competition the success that it was. I must also profusely thank our sponsors 7 KBW and Informa Law for all their assistance, without which none of this could have happened. We are even more grateful that they have already indicated their willingness to continue with the event next year. A moot competition is an invaluable learning process for everyone involved: and for that reason we strove successfully to provide a friendly and open environment that allowed all participants to learn and improve between rounds. Our aim is to retain this philosophy, to carry on the good work in the years to come and contribute to the training of the new generation of transport lawyers. Well done to everyone."

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2nd Commercial and Maritime Moot

Swansea LLM students achieved a remarkable success at the 2nd Mooting Competition on Commercial and Maritime Law hosted by 7 King’s Bench Walk, a leading commercial chambers. The event attracted 12 mooting teams from premier law schools. The initial rounds of the Competition were held in Swansea on 20th-21st June. Two teams, one led by Martin Karst/Siddharth Mahajan as speakers and Styliani Kounakou/Maria Skylodimou as researchers, and one led by Marilena Papgrigoraki/ Wuraola Debbie Obiegbu as speakers and Delphine Defossez as a researcher, represented the Shipping and Trade Law Department at the Competition and performed in an outstanding fashion during the initial rounds by winning their matches against mooting teams representing University of Exeter, University of York, University of Birkbeck, University of Liverpool and University of Geneva.

Martin and Siddharth deservedly reached the Final of the Competition, which was held at the Parliament Room of Middle Temple Inn in London on 22 June 2015. Whilst we narrowly lost out to Bristol University in the final, Swansea's mooters had every reason to celebrate with Marilena Papgrigoraki collecting the overall Best Speaker Award. It was a tribute to the Swansea Mooting Coach, Ms Tabetha Kurtz-Shefford, that the shortlist for the Best Speaker Award also contained the names of Martin Karst, Siddharth Mahajan and Wuraola Debbie Obiegbu.

IISTL Students Mooting

Mr Siddharth Mahajan advancing his arguments before the arbitrators

Commenting after the event, Dr George Leloudas, Mooting Co-ordinator for the Department of Shipping and Trade Law, said: “We are extremely proud and grateful for the generous sponsorship provided by 7 KBW, which gave our students an invaluable opportunity to hone their advocacy skills in commercial and maritime law through this competition. We would also like to thank Informa Law (Routledge) for sponsoring the Best Speaker Award. We are also indebted to the participating arbitrators, who willingly gave of their valuable time for this event, in particular to Mr Justice Picken, for presiding over the panel that judged the Final.  Both the speakers and researchers of the Swansea Postgraduate Mooting Teams offered a utterly stellar performance. They made us proud and impressed everyone with their knowledge on commercial and maritime law.”

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3rd Commercial and Maritime Moot

Swansea won the 3rd Mooting Competition on Commercial & Maritime Law hosted by 7 King’s Bench Walk & Informa Law from Routledge, which attracted 10 teams from Exeter, Sheffield, Nottingham, City University, Coventry, Birkbeck, Bangor and Swansea. The early rounds were held in Swansea with the Final held at Middle Temple Inn in London. Swansea entered two teams, one led by Kirsten Jackson and Jacqueline Dammens and the other led by Ashlee Xi and Breeda Okpo.

Group photo Mooting 2016

Swansea teams with Professor Soyer, Professor Tettenborn, Dr Nikaki, Dr Leloudas and Miss Kurtz-Shefford‌

The team led by Kirsten and Jacqueline won all their matches in the early rounds, achieving the highest score. They reached the final where they competed against a team  from Sheffield. The Swansea team performed in an outstanding fashion winning over the panel of arbitrators. Kirsten Jackson won the Best Speaker Award, the shortlist for Best Speaker included Jacqueline and the shortlist for Best Skeleton Arguments also included Ashlee and Breeda. Such success could not have been achieved without the efforts of Ms Kurtz-Shefford, Swansea's Mooting Coach, who prepared the teams in the best possible way.

Finalists (Mooting 2016)

The finalists advancing their arguments before the arbitrators

Dr Leloudas, Mooting Co-ordinator for Swansea University, said: “For the 3rd year in a row we are grateful for the support of 7 KBW and Informa law from Routledge, establishing this as the leading commercial/maritime competition in the UK. We are happy to see new teams joining every year, a development that gives us impetus to continue. We are also indebted to the arbitrators, including Mr Justice Picken who gave their valuable time to this event. The Swansea teams made us very proud.”

Kirsten Moting 2016

Kirsten Jackson receiving the Best Speaker award from Dr Leloudas

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