Nearly every Canadian law school from coast to coast descended upon Moncton N.B., on Feb. 17 for the 27th annual Bora Laskin Moot. The faculty of law at the Université de Moncton hosted the longstanding bilingual competition. Dean Odette Snow welcomed the teams in true maritime hospitality, who were able to compete in the city’s brand new courthouse.
The Université Laval took home the best team award, with the Université de Montréal following close behind in second place, and McGill University finishing in third.
The Laskin moot challenges students with an administrative law issue, this year’s problem applied to the topical Canadian refugee system. Ronald Caza, a longtime organizer of the moot, says the moot began with two or three students wishing to create a national moot to highlight administrative law and promote Canada’s bilingualism, requiring each team to moot in both English and French. The bilingual aspect of the moot not only connects the common and civil law schools, but as Erin Kitzell, a law student from the University of British Columbia team, notes, “The Laskin moot was a fantastic experience allowing me the opportunity to moot in my second language, highlighting the spirit of the bilingual law school competition.”
Daniel Goldbloom, a law student from the University of Toronto team who placed fourth in the best oralist category, also appreciated the bilingual aspect of the competition. “Watching the French oralists and their high-calibre mooting styles was fascinating,” he says.
Caza notes that the Laskin moot strives to inspire and challenge the student litigators who participate every year and ensure they receive substantial feedback from more than 40 judges, many of which return every year to judge the competition.
It is not all work though, the Laskin moot is well known for its social aspect, encouraging students to get to know the other teams and interact with the judges during the organized evening affairs. Goldbloom says he appreciates the community aspect of the moot. “The organizers were warm, welcoming, and funny from the very beginning. It was great getting to know everyone from across Canada.”
As a mooter for the University of Windsor team myself, I can attest that when I was not mooting, I was socializing with the judges and making new friends from the competing teams.
During the banquet and awards presentation, recently retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Ian Binnie reminded participants of the man behind the moot by
sharing fond memories of his friend justice Bora Laskin, who faced adversity in his early career and subsequently became “an icon in the legal community.”
In the category of best factum, McGill University placed first, Queen’s University placed second, and the University of Toronto placed third. U of T also took first place in best pairs and McGill took second place.
Queen’s law student Brooke MacKenzie received the best oralist award, U of T law student Emily Shepard received second place, and Western University law student Sebastian Schmoranz received third place.
The 2013 Laskin moot will be held at the University of Alberta.
Karl Schober is a second-year law student at the University of Windsor.