Celebrating a season of student advocacy excellence

April 18, 2024

Four photos of student moot teams

Photo LTR: Arunp Cup team members, members of the OTLA Cup team, Issac moot winners Sarah Abdul-Jalil and Tega Odjevwedje, and Jessup team members

During the 2024 winter term, Western Law students made a strong showing at over 15 for-credit and extra-curricular advocacy competitions. The advocacy program gives students the opportunity to argue hypothetical cases before trial and appellate moot courts, and to gain experience in preparing written and oral submissions.

With upwards of 28 competitions throughout the year, students benefit from opportunities to explore a range of practice areas from corporate law to labour law, family law and human rights law. We’re pleased to share a roundup of performance highlights from the 2024 winter term moot season.

Julius Alexander Isaac Moot

The Julius Alexander Isaac Moot is a competitive, for-credit moot organized by the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada. The moot focuses on an area of law in which issues of equity and diversity arise. This year’s problem was an appeal of Canadian Council for Refugees v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2023 SCC 17, about the constitutionality of Canada’s implementation of the Safe Third Country Agreement.

Supported by faculty coach Professor Manish Oza, Western was represented by Tega Odjevwedje and Sarah Abdul-Jalil for the appellants and Elisha Yao and Anthony Yan for the respondents. Neely Jarvis was the student coach. Competing against colleagues from 17 Canadian law schools, Tega and Sarah were declared the winners of this year’s Isaac Moot.

Arnup Cup

The Arnup Cup is an annual trial advocacy competition organized by The Advocates’ Society. Teams from each of Ontario’s law schools participate in trials held in a Toronto courtroom and presided over by judges of the Superior Court of Justice. Senior members of The Advocates’ Society act as assessors.

Western’s team, who was coached by Assistant Dean Danielle Lacasse, finished second at the provincial competition–among 8 Ontario law schools–qualifying to compete in the national Sopinka Cup competition in Ottawa. Congratulations to 2L oralists Maja Soltysiak and Matt Gaulton, who represented the defence at the trial, and 2L Michelle Owusu-Ansah (alternate).

Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot  

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world's largest moot court competition, with participants from roughly 700 law schools in 100 countries and jurisdictions. The Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice.

At the Canadian National Rounds in Ottawa, Western was represented by Ciaran Sheahan & Brittany Lieberman as the Applicants, Alex Azzopardi & Fayha Najeeb as the Respondents, and Chloe Holmes as the team’s researcher. Professor Ryan Liss was the team coach.

For the fifth year in a row, the team advanced to the International Rounds placing second overall in the Canadian competition. The team also received first place in combined memorials and first place in respondent memorials. Western moved forward to international rounds of the Jessup, which took place last week in Washington, DC. The team put in an excellent effort during the competition and received an award for placing seventh in the world on their combined written memorials.  

Willms & Shier Environmental Law Moot

The Willms & Shier Environmental Law Moot is Canada's first and only national moot court competition devoted to environmental law. The competition aims to promote awareness of the growing role of environmental issues in contemporary legal practice and public life, while enhancing law students' written and oral advocacy skills.

Supported by coach, Adjunct Professor Paula Lombardi, the Western Law team performed exceptionally well in their second round as respondent. Aitana Robinson won best oralist at the competition.

Ontario Trial Lawyers' Association (OTLA) Cup

Each year at the Ontario Trial Lawyers' Association Cup, OLTA lawyers support the development of trial skills, civility and professionalism amongst law school students. Law schools from across Ontario compete in a simulated trial which covers all aspects of a real court case giving participants a glimpse into how a real trial would play out.

With the support of faculty coach Professor Manish Oza, Western Law was represented by Andrew Schjerning, Noel Ongpauco and Eric Flowers. Congratulations to Andrew Schjerning on the Best Cross Examination, to Noel Ongpauco on the Best Examination in Chief and to Eric Flowers on the Best Witness.

2024 Davies Corporate/ Securities Law Moot  

The 32nd Davies Corporate/ Securities Law Moot was held in Toronto with 13 schools in attendance. The subject of the moot was a complex corporate law issue centring on the fiduciary obligations of nominee directors.

The Western Law team, oralists Nik Cuvalo, Allen Hujic, Red Lasiste and Paul Papaeliou, researcher Jacquie Tran, and student coaches Alina Gdaniec and Konner Fung Kee Fung, performed strongly. The team, who was coached by Professor Emeritus Colin Campbell, took home the third-place prize for best factums.  

Boman Tax Moot

The Donald G.H. Bowman National Tax Moot is Canada’s first competitive moot on taxation and is administered by a committee of judges and practitioners. The competition took place at the Federal Court in Toronto. Western’s team – Caitlin Clouthier, Malcolm McCarron, Victor Ulitin, Emily Xu, Damian Rostoski (researcher), and Taylor Feltham (student coach) excelled with the support of faculty coach Professor Rory Gillis. Malcolm and Emily reached the semi-finals and finished second out of 18 appellant teams.

Adam Fanaki Competition Law Moot

The Adam F. Fanaki Competition Law Moot is organized by the Competition Bureau, the Competition Tribunal and the Canadian Bar Association. This annual event gives Canadian law students the chance to tackle timely, complex civil or criminal issues in a growing field of law that strives to balance private economic incentives with the public interest.

This year’s moot involved the review of a complex digital merger. Western Law was represented by Joseph Olij, Maddie Hill, Matthew Healey, William Stevens, Tiana Gleason (researcher), Alessandra Tuzi (student coach) and David Zhang (student coach). Supported by faculty coach Professor Francesco Ducci, Western Law students won awards for Best Respondent Factum (third place) and Best Appellant Team (third place). Joseph Olij won second place Appellant Oralist. 

We congratulate all student participants on their hard work, dedication and success and thank the many students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and community volunteers who make our advocacy program possible.