Winchester law students take on team from Oxford in mock trial

23 Feb 2024
A mock trial in a court room with people in legal wigs and gowns

Two budding barristers from the University of Winchester are through to the second round of a prestigious legal competition.

Emile Pitter and Luke Halliday will be competing in round two of the ESU (Essex Court Chambers) National Mooting Competition – in which student lawyers take part in mock trials.

The Winchester pair, both in the final year, will be up against a team from the University of Oxford in the second round on Monday evening (26 February).

They will go head-to-head at Winchester College on Monday night with circuit judge His Honour Paul Dugdale presiding and deciding the winner.

The ESU, which has been running since 1972 is one of the longest-established mooting competitions in the UK but this is the first time Winchester has entered.

Rounds are conducted over the winter and spring, culminating in the semi-finals at Dartmouth House, Mayfair and the Grand Final in the Royal Courts of Justice in June. The winners receive a “Silver Mace” and £1,000 each plus a further £1,000 for their institution.

Each round is on a different aspect of the law – Monday’s night’s is a fictional criminal case concerning the appeal against conviction by a woman with a history of mental health issues who made a plea of self-defence after stabbing a police officer.

Emile and Luke will be acting for the appellant.

Both sides have been given just three weeks to prepare for the mock trial.

Dr Emma Nottingham, Head of the Department of law at the University of Winchester, said: “Emile are Luke are both very promising young advocates. Both have been working hard to prepare a strong argument and we are sure they will acquit themselves well in this testing task.

“Moot courts are an excellent way to prepare for a legal career and are an important part of law courses at the University of Winchester. Competing in outside events such as the ESU is a valuable addition to the experience of those taking part.”

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