La Trobe v La Trobe Final Ensures Human Rights Victory

La Trobe University logo
La Trobe University logo
By: Konstantine Peter Ketsetzis

La Trobe University has continued this year's tremendous success in mooting by adding yet another accolade with a 1st Place and runner-up 2nd Place finish at the 2009 Castan Centre for Human Rights Moot. 

Now in its third year, the Castan Centre for Human Rights Moot involved teams from Monash University, Melbourne University, Deakin University, Victoria University and eventual winners La Trobe University. The participants are required to appeal and respond to a multitude of human rights issues that are regulated under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act. More specifically, this moot deals with the application and enforcement of the complex legislation, which only came into force last year on January 1.

The student competitors had a difficult and rather challenging task ahead of them, as they were only given a couple days to research and gain an understanding of the legislation. This only becomes increasingly more daunting as there are very few relevant cases to help them prepare their written and oral arguments. The preparation stage is often the most rewarding part of the moot, other than winning, as it gives all participants the chance to gain practical experience in researching and writing arguments.

After the short period allotted for preparation of arguments, the first two preliminary rounds of the moot began and involved teams from each of the participating universities, including three teams from La Trobe. At the end of the preliminary rounds, the four best teams progressed to the semi-finals, namely, La Trobe University teams 1 & 3 and Melbourne University teams 1 & 2. These teams argued intensely over the human rights issues involved and eventually the two teams from La Trobe University emerged victorious, and so the stage was set for the Grand-Final. 

The Court of Appeal was filled with keen La Trobe Law faculty members and students alike who attended in support of the all La Trobe Grand-Final. La Trobe 1 consisting of Harlis Kirimof, Leigh Howard and Ben Mawby argued for the appellant, while La Trobe 3 consisting of Mark Basile, Daniel Diaz and Aimee Chadzynski argued for the Respondent. This was not made any easier for the finalist teams as the judging panel included His Honour Justice Chris Maxwell, President of the Court of Appeal, Judge Tony Howard of the County Court and Ms Padma Raman, CEO of the Victorian Law Reform Commission and Victoria Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. 

The competition between the two teams was incredibly close and the arguments delivered from both sides were well researched and equally compelling. This led to extensive questioning by the judging panel, who were undoubtedly hoping to unsettle and provide some obstacles for the competitors. However, both sides were professional and articulate upon their responses to the bench, thus making a decision all the more difficult. As a result, there was a thick tension in the air as the judges retired to chambers for deliberation and there was rampant speculation as to who the winning side would be. The judging panel eventually returned with a unanimous verdict in favour of the Respondent (La Trobe 3). At that point it was also announced that the Best Oralist award would be received by Daniel Diaz for his excellent advocacy skills throughout the competition. 

As the winners of this year's moot, Mark Basile, Daniel Diaz and Aimee Chadzynski were awarded the Grand-Prize of $3000, supplied by Clayton Utz (the competition's sponsor), while runners-up Harlis Kirimof, Leigh Howard and Ben Mawby walked away with a cool $1000. 

Congratulations need to be expressed to all three La Trobe teams, as they not only represented themselves spectacularly, but also the entire student body of La Trobe University throughout the competition. This is truly an amazing result and continuation of what has been a tremendous trend of mooting success this past year for La Trobe University. 

For further enquiries

Konstantine Peter Ketsetzis 
Vice-President (Competitions)
La Trobe University Law Students' Association
Telephone: +61 3 9479 3881
Fax: +61 3 9479 1607