This year, the University of Glasgow Mooting Society was delighted to be invited to the UK Supreme Court, London for the final of the Deans Cup, our internal mooting competition. Open to second year undergraduates through to masters students, the competition is always fierce and this year was no exception. From the 22 teams that had entered the first round back in October, by the time February came along we had four teams battling it out to get to London. The two semi-finals were of a high quality, however, advocates John McElroy and Kenneth Campbell QC finally chose the teams of Andrew Deans & Heather Clark and Craig MacLeod & Gillian McGarry (all Diploma students) to compete in the final. As if the trip to the Supreme Court wasn’t intimidating enough, Justice of the Supreme Court Lord Hughes was the man tasked with deciding a winner.
It was an early start on Wednesday 2 March, when the teams and I [Chris Rae] caught the morning flight down to London Stansted. After making our way into town, we arrived at Westminster and were treated to the wonderful sights of the Palace of Westminster and the Clock Tower. Stephen Bogle, the Mooting Society Faculty Adviser, greeted us at the Supreme Court and we took the opportunity to get our photos taken outside.
After the teams had completed their last-minute preparations, we were given a fascinating tour of the Supreme Court where we were given special access to the Advocates Library and a “behind-the-scenes” tour of Court 3, the Privy Council Court.
Due to Lord Hughes’ involvement in the ongoing Spare Room Subsidy case that was taking place in the Supreme Court on the day, the moot started around 15 minutes later than planned. Lord Hughes and judicial assistant Emmanuel Sheppard, who was also on the bench, soon subjected the team to a rigorous examination. Both teams advocated with style and confidence in what was a tough yet thoroughly interesting delictual problem written by Mr Bogle. In the end, only one team could be declared winner and Lord Hughes decided that Andrew Deans and Heather Clark had prevailed by the narrowest of margins. It was a thoroughly deserving victory for the pair whose quality had shone through from the first round. A special mention must also go to Craig MacLeod and Gillian McGarry, whose advocacy was also of the highest quality. Lord Hughes commented on how all four participants would enjoy successful careers at the bar, should they choose to follow that line of employment.
After the moot, the group retired to dinner, where we were delighted to be joined by Lord Hughes and Mr Sheppard, who treated us to a fascinating insight into the life of a Supreme Court Justice and the hard work that it has taken to get there. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that I am sure none of us will ever forget.
On behalf of the University of Glasgow Mooting Society, I would like to extend our thanks to the UK Supreme Court and Rebecca Lowson for making the event possible. In addition, we would like to thank Stephen Bogle for all his continued support. Lastly, a thank you must go to all four finalists for representing Glasgow so admirably down in London and a final congratulations to the Deans Cup Winners of 2015/16 – Andrew Deans and Heather Clark.
~ Chris Rae (President, University of Glasgow Mooting Society)