Published: 03 May 2023

Supreme Court Justice Lord Kitchin judges Surrey School of Law moot final

On Thursday 27 April, we held our Mooting Competition Final at the Supreme Court in London. Four students were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to compete before Lord Kitchin in the prestigious surroundings of Court Room 1 of the Supreme Court. 

Olubunmi Sobowale in Mooting Competition final 2023

Our School of Law offers students fantastic opportunities to develop their professional skills, specifically the skill of oral advocacy. A highlight of the year is our mooting competition which is organised by the USSU Law Society. This year, the University of Surrey’s School of Law was one of only 12 UK law schools to be selected to hold their internal moot competition final at the Supreme Court. 

Lord Kitchin with Mooting Competition finalists 2023

After four rounds of the School’s mooting competition in which 50 students took part, the stage was set for our final. Our four finalists were: third year students, Olubunmi Sobowale and Susaan Thapa, Foundation year student Nihad Nadil Siyam and first year student, Jacqueline De Villiers.  

They debated a fictional criminal law case based upon the partial defence to murder of diminished responsibility. Specifically, the mooters argued whether a defendant can avail themself of the defence if the abnormality of mental function existing at the time of the offence was caused by the voluntary ingestion of unlawful drugs.  

Group pic of Mooting Competition at Supreme Court 2023

They were watched by families, academic staff and more than 20 of their law student colleagues from Surrey, and they all enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Supreme Court as part of their experience.  

Jacqueline triumphed after displaying very impressive advocacy skills, presenting a robust legal argument and keeping her composure impressively in such a very intimidating setting. She said: "“Being able to moot at the Supreme Court was a dream come true. Even if I hadn’t won it is still an absolutely incredible experience to have been a part of, and to be able to say that I have not only mooted at the Supreme Court but also won there is such an incredible thing to be able to say about myself. Being able to say that I have won at the Supreme Court at the age of 20 in my first year of university is not something many people my age can say and I don’t take it lightly at all. I can’t thank the University and the Law Society enough for providing my fellow mooters and me with this opportunity and for all the help they provided along the way.”

Krystof Turek
Krystof Turek

Krystof Turek, Teaching Fellow in Private Law and Director of Validations, said:  

“Mooting is a very important part of legal education. It is an effective way of learning, practising and testing the advocacy skills essential for barristers and solicitor advocates. We are very proud that our Law Society, and especially our mooting officer Aya El Fekih, have done such an amazing job in running this year’s competition. We are also proud of all the mooters who took part in the competition and particularly of the four finalists who represented us brilliantly before Lord Kitchin in Court 1 of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.  

Special congratulations go to Jacqueline, our very deserving champion.”   

Susaan Thapa in 2023 Mooting Competition

We would like to thank and congratulate all the teams who took part in the mooting competition and the members of the staff who contributed to their success. A special thank you goes to Aya El Fekih and Krystof Turek who organised this competition on behalf of the USSU Law Society. School of Law staff also helped out tremendously with judging the previous rounds as well as members of the student Law Society who helped with clerking. 

The School of Law is most grateful to Lord Kitchin for judging the final and to the Supreme Court for hosting us.

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