UQ hosts Air Law Moot Competition

9 Oct 2015

The TC Beirne School of Law hosted the second Australia and New Zealand Air Law Moot competition on September 28-29, 2015. The competition was convened by Mr Joseph Wheeler (Principal of International Aerospace Law and Policy Group), Mr Charles Giacco (Victoria Law School, Victoria University, Melbourne) and Associate Professor Peter Billings (TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland).

The moot problem was based on the downing of MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014 and raised difficult questions of international law. All the teams performed to a high standard, and judging panels commented positively on the oral advocacy of participants. After three preliminary moots the University of Auckland and the University of Queensland progressed and were paired in the Grand Final held at the Federal Court of Australia. Before a distinguished panel comprised of the Hon. Justice Darryl Rangiah, and aviation law experts Mr Joseph Wheeler and Mr Gerrard Mullins (Barrister, Darrow Chambers) the University of Auckland team prevailed winning the overall team title and prize for best written submissions. Mr O’Hara (The University of Queensland) won the prize for best speaker in the preliminary rounds.

ANZALM co-convener, Charles Giacco, said:  "The TC Beirne School of Law and A/Prof Peter Billings and his staff and student colleagues at UQ are to be congratulated for hosting this year's Second Annual ANZALM. The standard of advocacy displayed by the competing teams was the highest that I have had the privilege of witnessing to date, and the grand final at the Federal Court before His Honour Justice Rangiah, acting as Court President for the moot, was especially memorable."

Georgina Morgan, mooting coach for The University of Queensland team said "This year, the problem focused on issues of public international law, as well as air law, looking at a similar fact scenario to that of MH17. It was a brilliant opportunity for students to explore a relatively unknown area of the law, and to discuss issues that are currently being dealt with on the world stage. All teams were of such a high standard, and it was great to see UQ place second, and have UQ team member Alexander O'Hara be awarded Best Speaker.”

The team from the University of Auckland, comprising of Jack Davies, Michael Greenop and Nick Porter said "It was a real pleasure for the team to participate in, and eventually win, the second edition of the Australia/New Zealand Air Law Moot. Air law as a subject draws together many aspects of both private and public law and it was thrilling to be able to explore various aspects in the context of a hypothetical case in the International Court of Justice."

"The case concerned a fictional rebel group who had shot down a civilian jetliner – much like the real life MH17. It was a thrilling final in the Federal Court before the Hon. Justice Darryl Rangiah, but acting for the Commonwealth of Australia, we were able to persuade the bench that the respondent State should not have been allowed to cruise away from liability."

"The moot was well-run and witnessed some very esteemed practitioners and academics acting as judges in the preliminary rounds. We enjoyed a fantastic final-night dinner and look forward to potentially hosting the third moot in 2016!”

Marion Hiriart, coach of the University of Auckland team said "We greatly enjoyed the competition as coaches, the University of Queensland put on a great event including two excellent guest speakers and a great final night dinner. The competition was well run from start to finish and the judges were highly qualified professionals that the team was fortunate to appear in front of. We thank UQ for their hospitality and look forward to continuing to be involved in the competition."

The competition convenors thank the following sponsors for their generous support: TC Beirne School of Law; McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law; Australian Federation of Air Pilots; Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand Ltd and the International Aerospace Law & Policy Group.