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UC Moot Court Society raises the bar for undergrads

By Matty Hume, June 29 2018 — 

On June 5, Students’ Union vice-president student life Nabila Farid announced the successful registration of the University of Calgary Moot Court Society (UCMCS) as an SU club. A moot court is an event where students conduct a fictional trial, often in front of a legitimate judge.

“It’s essentially a mock trial simulation. What it aims to do is provide a fictional case to students. Once the students have that case, they make oral arguments, formulate them and present them at a competition,” UCMCS president and second-year psychology student Gayathri Peringod said. “They do that in two ways: they have a written submission a month before sent to the judges and once they go to the actual competition — typically [including] real-life judges — they present and give their arguments.”

“If you’ve ever seen Suits, it’s in the first season where they have the pretend trial,” added UCMCS vice-president operations and finance and third-year philosophy and law and society student Davin Portz. “[It’s] just a case laid out with actors to a certain degree.”

According to Peringod and Portz, this is their first time organizing a moot court association, but they’re starting with a clear plan and specific goals.

“We want to go to the national championship at York University in Toronto in March,” Portz said. “So we want to hopefully send two teams there, with teams consisting of two people each. And ideally, we might even try to send a secondary team to a tournament in British Columbia but that’s going to totally depend on size and the response we get from students.”

In addition to out-of-province competitions, Portz added that the club is considering organizing a small tournament on campus at the beginning of the fall semester.

For Peringod, the UCMCS fills an important gap in undergraduate career planning.

“For students who breathe and live law, this is perfect for them because they can go to universities and compete in something they would end up doing as lawyers. It’s a way to gain accolades and experience law,” she said. “But for students that aren’t really sure if law school is for them, this is a way for them to taste it and see if they like it.”

“It’s for the gunners who haven’t had a chance to become gunners yet,” Portz added. “Or for people to see if this is something that they could be passionate about or interested in.”

Over the summer, the UCMCS will be busy preparing for the fall and winter semesters. To contact the UCMCS or to get involved, visit their page on the SU ClubHub.

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