School of Law

PMB students impress Judges

PMB students impress Judges

The 40th John Milton Moot Court Final hosted by the Faculty of Law was held on the Pietermaritzburg campus in August. ‘UKZN continues to provide students with excellent legal education. This was particularly evident in the manner these students presented their arguments,’ said the judges, the Honourable Mr Justice Koen and the Honourable Mr Justice Seegobin.

Four final year law students, Mr Daniel van Zuydam, Mr Stuart Tarr, Ms Hlengiwe Mkhize and Ms Carmen Schoon argued their cases before the bench. The students were required to submit their heads of argument to the judges prior to the court presentations.

The first case was “Julia Moelman versus Equality for Women”, argued by Van Zuydam, representing the appellant and Tarr, representing the respondent. Moelman was accused by a non-governmental organisation, Equality for Women, of hate speech in terms of the Promotion of Equality and the Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (No.4 of 2000). It was alleged that she made a number of inappropriate statements regarding the complainant in the Zuma rape trial.

The second case, “The State versus Joe Jacobs”, was argued by Mkhize, representing the state and Schoon, representing the accused. This case dealt with Philip Jacobs, a 10-year old boy who dislodged his father’s handbrake whilst pretending to drive. The car damaged the gate. Philip’s father, Joe, was furious and punished Philip by hitting him three times on his backside and his legs. Philip’s mother decided to lay criminal charges against Joe. The issue in this case was whether a parent’s common law right to chastise his or her child is constitutionally valid.

Mkhize said: ‘Although I have a shy personality, this competition has instilled renewed confidence in the manner with which I handle my arguments…I have also learnt a great deal from my peers who participated in this competition.’

The winner was Van Zuydam who according to the judges impressed them with his ability to think quickly on his feet and provide sound arguments. ‘This skill is crucial for legal practitioners to master and the foundation for such a skill should be laid during tertiary education,’ said Justice Seegobin.

The runner-up prize went to Schoon. Mkhize received the Pietermaritzburg Attorney’s Award and Tarr won the FB Burchell Award.

‘I am honoured to have won…this experience has been extremely challenging and beneficial,’ said Van Zuydam. Lecturers from the Faculty of Law assisted the students with additional preparations for their court presentations.