York teams wins top honours in Osgoode moot competition

 Osgoode Moot Champions
Above: Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan, centre, stands with the top six oralists in the Osgoode Cup, who are, left to right, Domenic Bianchi of York, Ali Ayoub of York, Daniel Vertlieb of Queen’s, Navdeep Gill of York, Jeff Culp of Carleton and Dihim Emami of the University of Toronto

York University students Ali Ayoub and Domenic Bianchi were the winning team in the inaugural Osgoode Cup Undergraduate Mooting Competition held over the weekend of March 5 and 6 at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

Ten teams of undergraduate students from Ontario universities participated in the competition, which was sponsored by the law firm of Beard Winter LLP.

York students Navdeep Gill and Gurpreet Singh, who were members of a joint York-University of Toronto team, placed second. Two teams tied for third place: Manraj Rai and Gurminder Singh from the University of Toronto, and Katie Mahon and Jeff Culp from Carleton University.

Ayoub, 21, and Bianchi, 22, were also named top oralists, along with Jeff Culp of Carleton, Dihim Emami of the University of Toronto, Navdeep Gill of York University, and Daniel Vertlieb of Queen’s University.

The Osgoode Cup is a fun way for students with an interest in law to get a taste of what it is like to act as lawyers in an appeal before real judges. A “moot” is a mock legal proceeding in which students argue an appeal in a case specially designed to challenge and develop their oral and written advocacy skills. This year’s case dealt with the responsibility of social hosts when their party guests consume alcohol and injure unrelated/innocent third parties.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Ayoub, a third-year psychology/law and society student at York. Ayoub is a member of York’s Pre-Law Society for undergraduate students who have an interest in law. “I definitely recommend the competition to anyone considering law or interested in public speaking.”

For Saturday’s two preliminary rounds, judges included upper-year Osgoode students, Osgoode faculty members and members of the Ontario Bar. As well, Osgoode alumni served as coaches for each team. For Sunday’s semi-final and final rounds, the judges were Justice Rose Boyko, Justice Andromache Karakatsanis and Justice June Maresca, all of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario; David Jarvis, a partner with Beard Winter LLP; and Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan.

“Everyone had a huge amount of fun and it was a great learning experience for the students,” Monahan said. “The judges commented on how impressed they were with the calibre of argument, given that the competitors were undergraduate students who had never attended law school.”

In 2006, the Osgoode Cup will become a national competition and, thanks to the generosity of sponsors, students from outside Ontario will receive travel bursaries to enable them to participate.