Aspiring Legal Practitioners Impress Judges at Moot Court Competition

UKZN’s School of Law, in partnership with the Luthuli Museum, hosted the annual Mini-Moot Court Competition for Grade 10, 11 and 12 high school pupils who hope to follow a career in Law.

The competition involved youngsters from underprivileged schools in the Groutville Community in KwaZulu-Natal – where the homestead of Chief Albert Luthuli and the Luthuli Museum are located – presenting oral arguments to the court.

The exercise aimed to create awareness about the justice system and encourage learners to study towards entering the Law profession.

A team of fourth-year Street Law students under the supervision of lecturer, Ms Janine Hicks, trained the learners on appropriate legal content and how to make written and oral arguments to assist them in their bid for selection to compete in the national moot competition, run by the Department of Basic Education.

Those selected presented arguments in a hypothetical court case in which a 15-year-old learner suspended from school, challenges the constitutionality of the school’s code of conduct. Some of the competition contestants were tasked to stand as representatives for the applicant, arguing that the code of conduct was unconstitutional and violated the learner’s right to equality and education, while others represented the school.

Announcing the competition winner, Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi, said the contestants were all winners and should be very proud of the work they put in to make the event a success. ‘We (the judges) are all very impressed by your eloquence and knowledge,’ said Reddi.

The overall winner was Ms Sthokozile Nyembe of Groutville Secondary School, who thanked UKZN, the Luthuli Museum and her school for helping her – through the competition – gain new knowledge and open her mind about the prospect of a career in Law. ‘It was a stressful but great experience which helped improve my public speaking skills,’ said Nyembe.

Reddi presented Nyembe with a R20 000 bursary to study Law at UKZN.

Nyembe now goes on to deliver an address at the Annual Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture at UKZN.

The prize for the best overall team was awarded to Nyembe and her Groutville Secondary School colleague, Mr Lindokuhle Dlamini.

Fairbreeze Secondary School teacher Ms Anusha Jairam thanked the Luthuli Museum and UKZN. ‘This is an excellent initiative and a great empowerment tool for our learners. Many are unsure of what expect going forward and the moot competition gives them insight to the Law profession and exposure to what to expect when they enrol.’

All participating learners submitted legal essays to the Department of Basic Education from which they will be considered for selection to the KwaZulu-Natal team to compete in a provincial schools moot competition.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photographs: Photographs: Supplied