College of Law

KZN Regional Moot Court Competition round-up

The Unisa Law Clinic, under the College of Law (CLAW), hosted the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Regional Moot Court Competition on 9 October 2021 in the Durban Magistrate’s Court. From the 20 CLAW students who entered the competition, seven were selected by means of selection interviews to participate in the Regional Moot Court finals. The students who participated were Abia Mukandama, Mathabo Machitje, Nontsikelelo Ngcobo, Hazra Moosa, Siyabonga Mhlongo, Funeka Madadase and Mamane Yanga.

CLAW students who participated in the competition at the Durban Magistrate's Court.

Prior to the actual competition, Unisa CLAW academics who are also esteemed legal practitioners, competent litigants and moot court trainers, Boledi Maboki and Nyeleti Mashele, paid a visit to the Durban region from 4 to 7 October 2021 to provide vital training to students ahead of the main event. After the training and competition, three successful candidates were selected to represent the KZN region in the Inter-Regional Competition to be hosted in Pretoria from 6 to 10 December 2021. The three successful students are Nontsikelelo Ngcobo, Hazra Moosa and Mathabo Machitje. Regional and Inter-Regional Moot Court competitions are annual events on the university calendar. These competitions could, however, not be held in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

Boledi Maboki and Nyeleti Mashele, Unisa CLAW academics, legal practitioners and moot court trainers

Moot court is an essential component for prospective litigants, legal advisors and academics. The intended purpose is to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Unisa students are afforded the opportunity to display their litigation skills after proper training. Moot court competitions are held worldwide to help participants understand many aspects of varying fields of law. These competitions have also proved to be a powerful tool in the field of human rights in several countries, including America, Europe and Africa. To this extent, the winners of the Inter-Regional Moot Court Competition will participate in the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition.

Moot court provides law students with the opportunity to enhance their drafting skills, research skills, oral submissions and communication skills. The students are given real-life court experience. Furthermore, this initiative seeks to develop fluency and enunciation, and give students an experience in the art of persuasion and presenting a case succinctly and intelligibly.

Ngcobo, one of the three winners who will represent the KZN region in the Inter-Regional Competition expressed: "I am looking forward to a tough competition with students from other regions. I am also optimistic that the KZN region will emerge victorious."

Another successful candidate, Moosa, applauded the intensity of the competition and displayed the character of a litigant during the competition. "I am extremely excited about taking part in the competition and confident that we are going to win the famous Inter-Regional Moot Court Competition."

The other winner, Machitje, intimated that the competition was tough and appreciates the opportunity granted to her. She undertook to embark on a legal trajectory henceforth.

Maboki, a flamboyant, charismatic and boldest legal practitioner duly admitted that as an attorney, she was intrigued by the commitment and exuberance displayed by the prospective legal practitioners. She remarked: "I am impressed by the demeanour of the participants during the court proceedings and throughout the competition. I encourage the students to work even harder after the competition."

Mashele, a meticulous, articulate and scrupulous legal practitioner mentioned that it was difficult to select the best three candidates, given the excellence displayed by all the candidates. "The students were focused, applied the skills acquired during training and performed to the best of their ability," she added.

Sidney Senoamadi, an acclaimed attorney and lecturer at CLAW and overall coordinator of the event, said that this initiative seeks to capacitate Unisa students to compete against the best in the legal fraternity. The experience attained from this programme is of paramount importance. He explained: "The aim of this programme is to ensure that the students are confident and understand the basic principles of law. To be more precise, what it entails to consult and represent a client in the court of law. I wish the KZN region all of the best in the Inter-Regional Moot Court Competition." His wishes were motivated by the level of competitiveness within the region and against the backdrop that the region had never won the competition before.

The region is holding its breath for the students to do well since moot court competitions are generally an extremely valuable learning experience. They help participants to engage with interesting and topical legal issues and to think deeply about such topics. Students, as prospective legal practitioners, are afforded the opportunity to demonstrate their interest and competence in advocacy. Most students said that they found the competition to be intellectually rewarding, highly enjoyable, nerve-racking and frustrating, but also a lot of fun.

* By Siyabonga Seme, Manager: Communication and Marketing, Unisa KwaZulu-Natal Region

Publish date: 2021/10/19