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Schools Moot Court Competition opens

Written by Sinenhlanhla Mkhwanazi
It is that time of the year again when all secondary schools are invited to enter the National Schools Moot Court Competition.

Now in its seventh year, the moot court competition aims to encourage young South Africans, especially those in Grades 10 and 11, to understand and relate to human rights concepts, values and principles.

The first National Schools Moot Court Competition took place at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 21 March 2011, Human Rights Day. Teams from four schools in each of the nine provinces – a total of 72 learners – were selected to participate.High school team preparing their case for a Schools Moot Court.

The competition also aims to empower learners and encourage those from previously disadvantaged schools to pursue careers in law. “It is these young people who will lead meaningful dialogues on the Constitution and craft legislation and policies that will guide our country in the future,” Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery noted during last year’s event.

Defending human rights

Participating teams are provided with the facts of a fictitious case which involves human rights issues under the South African Constitution. The teams are expected to write two short essays defending opposite sides of the case. The teams from each province with the highest essay scores will be invited to argue the case in an oral round before judges in a real court scenario.

The final oral round is hosted at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. Winners will receive financial support toward their first year of study at any South African university to which they have been admitted – should they choose to study law.

The eight finalists in the national oral round will stand a chance to represent South Africa in The Hague at the International Moot Court Competition in January 2018.

The South African competition is a partnership between the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Department of Basic Education, the Foundation for Human Rights, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and Webber Wentzel.  

How to participate in the 2017 moot court competition

Step 1

Each school must select a team of two learners, preferably one male and one female. This is only a preference, not a requirement.

Step 2

Download the competition material (Hypothetical Fact, Resource Pack & Competition Rules). You can download the “Essay Writing Guide” and the “Oral Pleading Guide” to assist with your preparations.

Step 3

Team members must write one essay for the Applicant and one essay for the Respondent.

In total, teams must write two essays. Submit both essays before the submission deadline (28 July 2017 at 5pm). Teams can submit essays to schoolsmoot@up.ac.za. A moderate extension will be given to schools if sufficiently warranted.

Step 4

The 10 teams in each province that wrote the best essays (based on the essay results) will be invited to participate in the provincial oral rounds taking place between 19 August and 2 September 2017.

Note that the provincial oral rounds are organised by the provincial departments of Basic Education and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

Judges from the provincial oral rounds will select the four best teams from each province. Those teams will advance to the national oral round in Pretoria and Johannesburg to be held from 4 to 8 October 2017 (refer to the 2017 Official Rules).

Step 5

In Pretoria, the four best teams from each province will compete against each other through the preliminary, quarter-final, semi-final and the final rounds.

The grand finale oral round will be hosted in the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 8 October 2017.

Step 6

Like the National Schools Moot Court Competition on Facebook.

For more information on the competition, visit www.schoolsmoot.co.za.

For any questions or queries, contact Gift Kgomosotho on schoolsmoot@up.ac.za or call 012 420 5883.

Sinenhlanhla Mkhwanazi is a media research and liaison officer with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development