On Friday 14th March 2014, The Eugene Dupuch Law School (EDLS) reclaimed its position as ‘CCJ Mooting Champions”. The school’s team defeated five other teams representing law schools and law faculties throughout the Caribbean:
- Norman Manley Law School (Jamaica);
- Hugh Wooding Law School (Trinidad & Tobago);
- Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill);
- Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies (Mona); and
- Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies (St Augustine).
This is EDLS’ third victory in the competition’s 6-year history. The institution first won the competition in 2010 and again in 2011. This year’s victorious team members were Alexandria Mackey (lead advocate), David Cash (junior advocate) and Kristina Wallace-Whitfield (reserve and researcher). Team advisor was Mrs. Carla D. Card-Stubbs.
In announcing the unanimous decision that EDLS was this year’s victor, Justice Hayton, on behalf of the entire panel, observed that the students exhibited competence and professionalism and a great capacity to answer questions from the three-member bench. He said that Ms. Mackey was articulate and well-prepared. He commented that Mr. Cash’s presentation was impressive and that he demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the material. He also noted the supporting role of Ms. Wallace-Whitfield. Ms. Wallace-Whitfield was instrumental in marshalling the documents that the advocates relied during their presentations. The court also commended the substantive skeleton argument that had been submitted by the EDLS team when compared with those submitted by the other teams. The students appeared before the Honourable Mme. Justice Bernard (retired) and the Honourable Messrs. Justice Hayton and Anderson. The team was presented with the victory shield by the Court’s President, The Rt. Honourable Sir Dennis Byron and with gold medals by the Honourable Mr. Justice Sanders.
The Rt. Honourable Sir Dennis Byron had earlier welcomed the participants and explained the importance and relevance of the moot noting that “…the unique art of appellate advocacy that is being cultivated through participation in this competition will become increasingly relevant as the appearance of young attorneys before the highest court of appeal in the region is a reality with the accession and anticipated accession of Member States to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ.”
Mrs. Card-Stubbs said that she was very proud of the students and commended the students for their hard work, commitment and the many hours that they dedicated to preparing for the competition. Lead advocate Ms. Mackey commented that the experience was truly an enriching one that has reminded her of “the importance of teamwork and discipline”. Junior Advocate Mr. Cash considered his experience to be “invaluable and enjoyable” and said that “our preparation was the precursor to our success.” Ms. Wallace-Whitfield also reflected on her experience, describing it as “rewarding” and noting that “commitment, focus and determination were required to achieve the team’s ultimate goal.”
Among the many persons observing the competition were regional and Trinidadian dignitaries including The Honourable Mr. Justice Ivor Archie, Chief Justice of the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago; His Honour Anthony D.J. Gafoor, Chairman of the Tax Appeal Board; His Excellency Paulo Sérgio Traballi Bozzi, Ambassador of Brazil; Mr. Ulrich Kinne, Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy; Ambassador Kole Adebola – Deputy High Commissioner, of the Nigerian High Commission and Mrs. Olamide Olufunke Adediran, Second Secretary of the Nigerian High Commission.
Last year’s champions, The Hugh Wooding Law School, claimed second place in the competition. The team from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill was awarded a special prize of best team from an academic institution. The Caribbean Court of Justice’s Annual International Law Moot Court Competition “was inaugurated in March 2009 to encourage budding attorneys to become familiar with the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, and other areas of International Law.” More on the competition can be seen at: http://www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org/news/eugene-dupuch-law-school-wins-vi-annual-ccj-international-law-moot-competition.