A team of Swinburne law students have been crowned international champions at the 2021 University of Oxford International Intellectual Property Moot competition having taken out Best Written Submission at the 18th annual event.
Swinburne Law School students Madeline Connolly, Elliott Mann and Connor Morgan, took out the title in March. The prestigious competition requires students to prepare written submissions on an intellectual property issue, with the best then selected to then compete in the oral submissions in the UK.
Swinburne Law School has strong form in the Oxford IP Moot, having qualified for the oral submissions for the past four years, as well receiving an award for Best Written submissions in the 2019 competition.
Last year’s oral submissions was cancelled due to COVID-19, so the 2020 written submissions were used to select this year’s oral round teams. Fifth-year student Elliott Mann was part of Swinburne’s 2020 team, along with Madeline Connolly. Their entry was awarded the ‘Best Written Submissions’.
Madeline was unable to participate in the 2021 oral submissions after commencing a role with Intellectual Property Australia in Canberra. She says that winning the written submission was “super exciting and a bit of a shock” and recommends all law students participate in mooting and other extra curricula activities.
Elliott, Madeline and Connor recommend all Swinburne law students get involved in mooting competitions.
Appealing in court online
Elliott and fifth-year student Connor Morgan competed in the oral submissions last month against 32 other teams from universities across the world, including the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics, King’s College and the University of Bern.
Delivering their case on pharmaceutical patents, copyright and trade marks, Connor and Elliott appeared before their judges in the UK via Zoom in the Swinburne Moot Court for four nights.
Though competing virtually allowed for flexibility, they were not immune to technological malfunctions.
“I remember one night I was in the middle of my submissions when I suddenly had Connor poking me to tell me my Zoom had frozen. Luckily, with some quick thinking and graciousness from the judges, I managed to scoot over a metre to my left and complete my submissions on Connor’s computer,” says Elliott, who is studying a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Computer Science (Cybersecurity).
Elliott began mooting during a Swinburne Orientation Week activity. “Ever since then, I’ve been hooked on the rush of arguing a case in front of a panel of judges, the legal research beforehand, and the deep satisfaction of a submission well argued.”
Connor is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and says it was an honour to represent Swinburne against some of the most prestigious law schools in the world.
“Putting myself out there and trying new activities like mooting competitions has not only taught me valuable skills, such as greater advocacy and communication, but has also allowed me to feel more comfortable in new and sometimes confronting situations,” he says.
This year’s competition was held virtually, so the Swinburne team competed in the Swinburne Moot Court instead of at Oxford University
A team effort
Department Chair at Swinburne Law School, Associate Professor Amanda Scardamaglia, was one of the team’s coaches. She describes the preparation for the moot as “gruelling”, with students spending their summer break and many late nights developing their submissions.
Competing and winning against world class universities is a testament to Swinburne’s law programs and the outstanding work of Madeline, Connor and Elliott, she says.
“We might be one of the newest law schools in Australia and we might not have the history of some of the sandstone universities, but it is clear from this result that our course provides the practical skills that our students need to succeed in legal practice.”
Madeline, Connor and Elliott say they could not have produced and presented such complex and in-depth submissions without the support of Associate Professor Scardamaglia and Bachelor of Law Course Director Mitchell Adams.
“They have made this moot a fantastic and enjoyable experience and I cannot wait to return as a mentor to other students in years to come,” says Connor.