Durham students place in Top 8 at International Law Competition


A team of two Durham Students made it to the quarter-finals of the European Human Rights Moot Court Competition, placing in the top 8 out of over 100 teams from across the continent.

Trevelyan’s Katie Tooley and Van Mildert’s Dara Foody reached the final stages of the competition after being the highest ranked team in the preliminary rounds, with Katie also being the highest scoring oralist of any team.

The case discussed in the competition focused on state violation of civil liberties, with the court set in a country dealing with a national epidemic. The Durham team had to discuss aspects of the European Convention of Human Rights, including the state’s use of surveillence infringing on the right to privacy, and lockdown restrictions affecting right of assembly.

“The whole experience has really encouraged me to pursue a career at the bar, preferably specialising in human rights and civil liberties.”

-Katie Tooley

Both team members have been involved with mooting at Durham before. Last summer, both Katie and Dara took part in a research simulation project run by Durham and the European Law Students Association (ELSA). This course ended with a moot competition featuring prominent London barristers, which Katie attributes her success in the competition to: “my confidence really grew by taking part in the ELSA Durham summer school and I am really grateful for all the support the organisers and judges gave me through this experience.”

Dara also highlighted the help of this course, saying “The feedback which we received here was particularly helpful when it came to developing our mooting skills. It was certainly placed us in a much better position heading into the Competition, which we signed up for a few months later.”

“I’m absolutely delighted that Durham has been able to advance so far in an international mooting competition, particularly when considering that we were pitted against larger teams, some of whom were at more advanced stages of their education.”

-Dara Foody

The competition, usually hosted at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, was unable to take place in-person. Despite this, the event was still successful online, with networking opportunities provided to make up for the lack of face-to-face meetings.

Both team members felt that the competition worked well in an online format, with Dara stating that “whilst there were differences to in person moots, the skills that we were expected to demonstrate – namely applying case law to nuanced facts in order to develop an argument for or against an appellant – did not change.”

More information about ELSA and the European Human Rights Moot Court Competition can be found here.

Image: Durham ELSA

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