02 April 2012

Law students from the Queensland University of Technology have beaten rivals from Oxford University to win the 2012 Oxford International Intellectual Property Law Moot - QUT's third crown in six years.

The two sixth-year students, Mitch Rawlings and Tim Alexander, were among 20 university teams selected from around the globe to compete in the prestigious competition in the United Kingdom.

Their path to the title included beating teams from Singapore and India, before defeating the University of Oxford in the grand final.

Mooting competitions involve arguing a case in a mock court and Mitch and Tim's challenge in the final was to argue that a revealing photo posted on the web was an invasion of privacy.

"We were arguing for the privacy rights of what the judge called "a love rat" - a guy who was having an affair in his office and someone came in and took a picture of him on their mobile phone and published it on the internet," Mitch said.

The photo showed the couple was also watching a pirated movie, adding to the hypothetical intrigue and IP conundrum.

QUT's Faculty of Law has won the Oxford IP Moot three times - 2007, 2009 and 2012 - since the competition started in 2003.

"There was a fair bit of pressure but we had a long preparation time ... we were practising 15 hours a week since late January and did 36 practice moots," Mitch said.

"Oxford itself is a very inspiring place - it seems like you've landed in a Harry Potter movie. So being there in itself gave us a real sense of the importance and prestige of the competition."

Tim said being involved in moots like the Oxford contest helped him toward his ultimate ambition of becoming a barrister.

"It gives us a real foundation in advocacy and I think this moot, more than any other I've done, gave us very practical experience," he said.

"We had lord justices judging us in the final and it was very much about tactics and being able to concede points and move on and be realistic.

"Of all the things I've done at law school, mooting has been the most helpful."

Mitch and Tim were coached by law lecturer James Duffy, and fellow student Anna Plantos was their research assistant.

"QUT has an absolutely astonishing record in the competition. It is commented on by every single judge, solicitor, barrister and academic that is involved with the competition in Oxford," Mr Duffy said.

"The grand final is always judged by three members of the English judiciary - Lord Justice Mummery, Mr Justice Floyd and Lord Justice Kitchin. These are three of the top intellectual property law judges in the common law world."

QUT's Faculty of Law has a distinguished history in mooting, spanning almost 20 years.

One of the keys to its students' success has been the purpose-built, technology-driven moot court where students can polish their skills in a simulated court environment.

Professor Rosalind Mason, the Acting Executive Dean of Law, said students had the opportunity to participate in moots from the first year of their degrees, so that skills such as legal research, writing and advocacy could be developed progressively throughout their studies.

"Mooting teaches students to 'think like a lawyer', present complex legal arguments simply and concisely as well as think on their feet," she said.

"They are immersed in real world experiences, are actively engaged with the law and work closely in teams. It also helps them gain confidence and build character and have the opportunity to progress to prestigious moots internationally in locations such as Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong."

This year, up to 50 law students will participate in mooting competitions covering areas of law such as contract, family and maritime law.

The Faculty of Law has also hosted the Shine Lawyers Torts Moot competition since 2003 and been involved in the Pan Pacific Moot since 1993.

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Media contact: Mechelle McMahon, QUT media officer, 07 3138 9449 or

QUT law students Mitch Rawlings and Tim Alexander

Mitch Rawlings, coach James Duffy, and Tim Alexander

2012 Oxford International Intellectual Property Law Moot trophy


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