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Ulster University law students presented complex legal arguments today to five UK Supreme Court justices at a specially convened UK Supreme Court Moot.

Lady Hale, President of The Supreme Court, Lord Mance, Deputy President of The Supreme Court, Lord Kerr (former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland), Lord Hodge and Lady Black had convened in Belfast for the first time earlier this week to hear two cases with significance for equality and human rights law in the UK.  Five UK Supreme Court Justices judged Ulster University students moot against Queen’s University students.

A moot competition simulates a court hearing and allows students to develop their experience and knowledge of a working courtroom.

This is the first time that the Supreme Court has taken its successful moot programme on tour.

The Ulster University team consisted of Belinda Widocka and Eimear Fanthorpe as Counsel, with Jordan Thorburn and Andrew McFadden as instructing solicitors. The legal problem the students addressed was the liability of the police for injuries caused by third parties whilst the police are overseeing a protest march, including psychiatric shock caused to onlookers by witnessing members of the public being injured at killed at a protest march.

Ulster University students spent hours studying case law and refining legal arguments, to prepare for the moot under the direction of Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of Mooting at Ulster University, Ciaran White, along with John Keers, lecturer, and Ulster graduates now practising as barristers.

Ciaran White, Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of Mooting at Ulster University commented:

“This is a historic event and a fantastic opportunity for students to display their legal knowledge in front of the highest court of the land.  Mooting is a core part of any law degree. These are intense and demanding events but highly rewarding, giving students a real insight into styles of legal argument that will provide them with the key skills for their future careers.”

Andrew McFadden, Ulster University Law student (and outgoing student law society president) commented:

"It is such an honour to take part in this competition and represent Ulster University in front of the Supreme Court. Mooting is a great experience as it allows me the opportunity to apply the research skills developed in class into a more practical outcome. Today’s competition will be invaluable as I develop my career in law.”

Mark Ormerod Chief Executive Supreme Court commented:

“The Supreme Court is delighted to take its ever popular moot programme on tour to Belfast for the first time. The education and outreach work that the Court does is very important and through the moot programme our aim is to inspire the next generation of legal professionals. We wish the best of luck to all the students taking part in this mock hearing.”