Even amid a challenging pandemic, experiential learning opportunities continue for students at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) in a virtual form.
For the second year in a row, the annual Moot Court Competition scheduled for Thursday, May 13 will be hosted online.
“The SMCS community has faced multiple challenges over the past 15 months, whether it be navigating through multiple lockdowns, or having to pivot from in-person learning to online learning overnight, I feel everyone has adapted quickly and efficiently,” says Joseph Tropea, SMCS faculty member and co-organizer of this year’s event. “When planning this event last fall, we knew there would be a possibility of us being back online exclusively, so we properly planned for two realistic scenarios, which made our transition essentially seamless.”
The SMCS Moot Court Competition provides an opportunity for Grade 12 law students to actively engage and immerse themselves in the world of law by participating in a mock appeal hearing similar to one in the Ontario Court of Appeal.
“The event is an excellent blend of critical thinking and experiential learning,” says Kevin Shaughnessy, SMCS faculty. “In addition to the obvious experiential learning opportunity and benefits, I wanted to help keep the Moot Court Competition going this year (and in the years to come) as a tribute to the legacy of my father, the late Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Shaughnessy ’68, OSM.”
The appeal chosen for this year's competition was generated by the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN), which provides frameworks, resources, and mock trial scenarios for producing a moot court competition.
The fictitious R v. Powell, a pseudonym for an actual, historical landmark case in Canadian Law, deals with reasonable limits, legal rights, unlawful search and seizure, arbitrary detention, procedural rights, obtaining counsel, and the admissibility of evidence applicable to sections 8, 9, 10, and 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, respectively.
Here are some fast facts about the Moot Court Competition:
- The event is its 18th year and was started by David Lee ’94, SMCS Vice Principal, with the help and expertise of the late Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Shaughnessy. Justice Shaughnessy donated the trophy, ‘The Shaughnessy Cup’, that is awarded annually to the winner.
- This year’s appellants are Grade 12 students: Gianluca Cudizio, Ellis Grange, and Hugo (Marshall) Hinojosa. This year’s respondents are Grade 12 students: Mwanyumba Ng'ang'a and Yafiet Teame.
- Competition will be adjudicated virtually by the Honourable Mr. Justice Mark Edwards (Chief Senior Regional Justice of the Superior Court of Justice for the Central East Region), the Honourable Mr. Justice Hugh O'Connell (Superior Court of Justice, Central East Region), and the Honourable Mr. Justice Michael Quigley (Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Region).
- In addition to naming a winning team, a top advocate is selected and awarded the St. Thomas More Legal Advocacy and Shaughnessy Family Award. The award was established by the late Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Shaughnessy, and awarded annually to the graduating student who has shown an aptitude for the study of law and the various forms of advocacy practised during the year.
- Every year, a new case scenario is assigned that best complements the legal issues studied in class in addition to the students’ interests and relevance.