Law

Skills competitions

You can get involved in legal competitions to develop legal practice skills, giving you the opportunity to boost your employability and network with law firms.

At Sussex Law School, you have the chance to be actively involved in regional, national and international skills competitions at all stages of your studies.

We run a range of internal competitions including:

  • negotiation
  • client interviewing
  • two criminal advocacy and mooting competitions, one for first year students and one for senior students.

Through taking part in the competitions, you gain valuable experience and enhance your skills before competing in highly prestigious national and international competitions.

You can also get involved in various mooting competitions in London and the UK and our students have a strong history of success.

Mooting

You will present legal arguments before superior courts in a fictional, contentious case. Each moot has lead and junior counsel arguing each side of the dispute. 

The exercise will develop your presentation and advocacy skills, both of which are essential in legal practice.

Mooting competitions at Sussex Law School

We run two internal mooting competitions, designed to help you build your confidence, improve your presentation skills, and potentially win legal work experience placements: 

One is for first year students and is sponsored by Mayo Wynne Baxter, a solicitors’ firm based in Sussex, Kent and Surrey. 

This competition is run by second year students who organise mooting workshops to help you build your confidence for your first mooting performance. You will also receive feedback on your performance and peer support.

A partner from Mayo Wynne Baxter then judges the competition final, and winners can receive cash prizes and work placements with the firm.

The other is a senior competition open to all other law students and sponsored by DMH Stallard, a solicitors’ firm based in London and the South East.

Early rounds of this competition are judged by faculty members, junior barristers and solicitors.

The semi-final is judged by a panel of judges from DMH Stallard, the bar and the Law School, and the final, which is held either at Lewes Combined Court or at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is judged by a panel of sitting Judges.

If you win the competition, you can also receive cash prizes and work experience placements.

For more information about mooting at Sussex, contact mooting@sussex.ac.uk.

National and international mooting competitions

To further develop your legal skills, you can represent Sussex in national and international mooting competitions, such as the ESU Essex Court Moot, the Inner Temple Inter-Varsity Moot, and the OUP/BPP National Mooting Competition

You can also take part in moots in Mumbai, Dublin, and Strasbourg and in regional moots.

These regional moots including competing against the University of Brighton in the annual Howlett-Clarke Moot, and against the universities of Brighton, Surrey and Kent in the annual CPS Criminal Law Moot. We also host a Southeastern Universities Moot at Sussex.

Find out about our mooting success

MacKay Cup Canadian Mooting Competition  – May 2018

MacKay Cup 2018Liam Switzer (Year 3 LLB) and Francesca Fox (Year 2 LLB) represented Sussex in the competition, where they claimed victory over Leicester's City Law School in a closely fought final.

This year's competition, which was open to all Canadian students in the UK, concluded at Gray's Inn, London, on 2 May 2018.

The teams were judged by a panel including a High Court Judge working in London and a Canadian lawyer who currently practices in London.

Speaking after the event, Francesca said: “I wanted to participate in the competition to improve my advocacy skills and improve my drafting skills, as we had to write a 12-page factum outlining our submissions. 

“Being able to enhance both Canadian legal drafting skills and practice our advocacy was a unique opportunity that I did not want to miss. 

“I will likely go back to Canada to practice law – as will most other Canadian students – and this helped expose me to Canadian legal issues.” 

She added: “I’m so thankful we were provided with this opportunity – Liam and I were thrilled to represent Sussex in the competition.” 

The prestigious cup, which is now in its fifth year, was launched by the University of Leicester in October 2014 and is supported by Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the Honourable Peter MacKay. 

Sussex has a strong tradition of success in the competition, having been crowned winners in four of the five years it has been running.

DMH Stallard Senior Mooting Competition – April 2018

DMH Stallard Senior Mooting Competition 2018Alex Platts (GDL) and Bianca Zimperi (Graduate Entry LLB) emerged as winners of the DMH Stallard Competition 2018 in a final held in the Supreme Court and judged by Lord Reed and his judicial assistant.

Well done to Valentina Canepa (Year 2 LLB) and Alexandra Makrova (LLM), who also reached the final of the competition.

At the final of the competition, which was sponsored by DMH Stallard, Lord Reed commented on the high standard of all the mooters involved.

OUP/BPP National Mooting Competition – December 2017

Samantha Allan and Liam Switzer knocked Oxford out of the OUP/BPP National Mooting Competition in the first round.

After an excellent performance, Samantha and Liam proceeded to a second round match against Manchester Metropolitan, which was held at Sussex Law School in the spring.

Brighton and Sussex City Mooting Challenge Shield – November 2017

Brighton and Sussex City Mooting Challenge ShieldLily Bewley-West and Freddie Whittle regained the Brighton and Sussex City Mooting Challenge Shield in a closely fought battle against two excellent mooters from Brighton University, in Sussex Law School's own Moot Room.

The competition, which was generously sponsored by Howlett Clarke, was a great success with a healthy amount of competitiveness between Sussex and Brighton and drawing a record number of supporters.

Student success at Southern Varsities Mooting Challenge – March 2017  Successful mooting students

Sussex Law School were victorious at the Southern Varsities Mooting Challenge that took place on Saturday 18 March 2017. Our successful students, Charlotte Meek and Olivia Lewis, endured a very intense and exciting full-day of mooting. The triumphant pair were up against nine teams from the universities of Exeter, Bournemouth, Brighton, Kent and Sussex, who all took part in three rounds of mooting across the competition.

The four best teams proceeded to the semi-finals which were heard by two members of the local bench: Circuit Judge Janet Waddicor and District Judge Helen Clarke. In those competitions Kent beat Brighton, and Sussex beat Bournemouth in what were two very close matches.

In another tight final, Sussex held out against Kent. This was particularly impressive as it was in front of a three person bench consisting of the two local judges.

Charlotte and Olivia were professional in their bearing and held their nerve throughout the day to produce a string of extremely strong mooting performances. We are very proud of the way in which their professional competence reflects on the Law School.

Students victorious at Sussex One Day Mooting Challenge – February 2017

Emma Bell and Olivia Lewis won the Sussex One Day Mooting Challenge held by the Sussex Law School on Saturday 4 February 2017. The final was a closely fought struggle involving Sonja Gill and Maisie Jones-Ayres whose performance was particularly impressive, mooting on a subject area she has yet to study.

It was the second time the event has ever been run, intended to provide participants ample experience mooting, and to an audience of rotating judges. We are particularly grateful to the panel of judges made up of eleven Sussex Alumni, who travelled far and wide to assist on the day!

The event has received high praise from the students and it’s likely we will see more in the future. 

Advocacy competitions

You will benefit from early training and practice for trial advocacy through taking part in criminal advocacy competitions, and advocacy workshops.

You will get the opportunity to participate in both Sussex advocacy competitions, which are supported by local criminal defence barristers and the Crown Prosecution Service, and the national Blackstone’s Criminal Advocacy Competition. The competition involves students running a trial (in which they examine witnesses and make special trial applications to judges).

Find out more about our advocacy success

Junior Criminal Advocacy Competition – May 2018

Isabella Hemsley-Taylor emerged as winner of the Junior Criminal Advocacy Competition in May 2018, with Nadia Meyer following as runner up.

High flying Sussex alum James Yates (International Criminal Law LLM), who is currently working as a trainee solicitor at local firm Martin Cray & Co., returned to Sussex Law School to judge the Competition.

A news story on the Martin Cray & Co. website reads: “While the quality of the advocacy was high throughout – special mentions must go to the runner up, Nadia Meyer and the overall winner Isabella Hemsley-Taylor, who stunned the judges with a display of outstanding advocacy.” 

James, who will qualify as a solicitor in September 2018, presented Isabella with the award.

He said: “During a difficult time for the criminal justice system, it is encouraging to see such passion and enthusiasm for practicing criminal law.” 

Symbiosis Law School International Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition – March 2018

Symbiosis Law School Competition 2018Chelsea Kidd (Year 3 LLB) and Jamie Skepper (LLM International Criminal Law) represented Sussex Law School in the Symbiosis Law School International Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition, which took place on 24 and 25 March 2018, reaching the semi-final.

As one of the last nine of 24 teams taking part in the competition, Sussex's team were also crowned Best International Team, making it the third consecutive year that Sussex were awarded the title.

To prepare, Chelsea and Jamie produced three sets of written submissions of 7,500 words each and conduct three trials based on the memorials. Chelsea also had to learn the principles of international criminal law in just six weeks.

Each round of the competition lasted around three hours, and Chelsea and Jamie took part in three rounds in just one day.

After the competition, Chelsea and Jamie spent some time in Pune, speaking to schools and universities as they promoted Sussex to Indian students.

Westgate Senior Criminal Advocacy Competition – December 2017

Westgate Criminal Advocacy CompetitionOn Thursday 14 December 2017, eight finalist advocates from Sussex Law School competed in the Westgate Senior Criminal Advocacy Competition, held at Lewes Court.

Lloyd Thomas (GDL) was crowned winner of the Competition after an outstanding performance in his closing speech, while Victor Feltham (Year 3 Law with Business LLB), Chidima Ateyoi (Year 2 LLB) and James Fairley (GDL) emerged as the three runners up.

These students, along with Henry Rolle, Hassan Khan, Alex Platts and Lily Bewley-West will now form two squads to prepare for the National Criminal Advocacy Competition, where Sussex Law School has entered two teams this year.

As part of the legal skills programme offered to students, the Senior Criminal Advocacy Competition semi-finalists are also eligible to undertake a mini-pupillage with Westgate Chambers in Lewes. This opportunity, which allows students to gain experience as life as a barrister and witness real courtroom scenarios, is invaluable and supports future scholarship and pupillage applications.

Blackstone’s National Criminal Advocacy Competition Final – July 2017Two students

On Saturday 8 July 2017, two teams from Sussex Law School competed at the Blackstone’s National Criminal Advocacy Competition final having qualified as two of the top eight teams (out of 26) from the preliminary rounds.

Team B comprising LLB finalists Leyla Benali and Jamie Skepper, did not make it into the semi-finals despite some very creditable performances. Second year LLB students, Hope Spalding and Liam Lane, were in the A team and finished the Saturday preliminary rounds as the top scoring team some 30 points ahead of the next highest scoring team.Winning law student

Hope Spalding was awarded the Best Advocate 2017 prize. Sussex has now won this award three times in the last four years. Hope also represented the A team in the semi-final legal application but unfortunately lost out on a place in the final by one point.

We can be very proud of our performances in the competition. All of the students have been offered the chance to marshall His Honour Judge Bright QC at St Albans Crown Court and Hope a mini pupillage with Sarah Forshaw QC from 5 KBW.

Client interviewing competitions

You will be able to gain experience of client interviewing, where you role play the client interviews solicitors have to find out the nature of the legal problem, helping you to develop your fact-finding and interviewing skills.

You can get involved in workshops which prepare you for a Sussex Law School client interviewing competition, sponsored by law firm DMH Stallard. 

In the competition, you and another student interview actors or fellow students or faculty, pretending to be clients. 

The final is judged by a panel which includes experienced solicitors from DMH Stallard and wins receive work placements, cash prizes and go onto represent Sussex in the National Client Interviewing Competition. 

Find out more about our client interviewing success

Client Interviewing Competition – December 2017

Client Interviewing Competition, December 2017Bria Colvin-Jarvis and Julie Stacey just edged Amanda Byles and Shanmathi Ratnasabapathy in a very closely fought Client Interviewing Competition Final on Wednesday 6 December 2017.

Both teams will go on to represent the University in the National Client Interviewing Competition in 2018.

As in previous years, the event was sponsored by DMH Stallard, who also donated generous prizes.

Sussex compete at the national final of the Client Interviewing Competition – March 2017 

Students at the national final of the client interviewing competitionRebecca Scantlebury & Mary Iyi competed at the national final of the Client Interviewing Competition on Saturday 11 March 2017, having won the regional round of the competition. The pair placed seventh out of the ten teams competing, meaning that they placed seventh out of the thirty teams that entered the competition, which is within the top twenty-five percent of the country! Judges praised Rebecca and Mary for their warmth towards their acting clients and for their legal knowledge.   

Sussex Law School hosts (and wins!) regional round of the National Client Interviewing Competition  February 2017

Client Interviewing Feb 17

On Wednesday 8th February 2017, Sussex Law School hosted the regional round of the national Client Interviewing Competition, which feeds into the International Client Counselling Competition in April. During the course of the afternoon, teams from Brighton, Sussex and Winchester competed to win a place at this year’s national final in Exeter on 11 March.

It was a close competition, and all teams performed very well. The final scores saw our own Sussex team (Rebecca Scantlebury and Mary Iyi) emerge as overall winners, who we congratulate on their success. They are one of 10 teams (out of 30) who will compete at the final of the national competition.

The competition is run at Sussex by Dr Lucy Welsh (assisted by Jo Smallwood) with assistance from colleagues who volunteer to act as judges and play clients in the given scenarios. The competition at Sussex Law School is kindly sponsored by award winning law firm DMH Stallard.

Negotiation competitions

As students, you will also have the opportunity to practise negotiating, where you role play the negotiations situations you will be expected to do as a qualified solicitor. 

To prepare you for negotiating competitions, you will take part in a series of negotiation workshops, run by legal professionals and faculty members. You can then participate in a Sussex Law School negotiating competition sponsored by law firm DMH Stallard.

Winners of in this competitions receive work placements and cash prizes and go on to represent Sussex at the National Competition in negotiating.

Find out more about our negotiating success

Sussex Law School/DMH Stallard Negotiation Competition  February 2018

DMH Stallard Negotiating Competition 2018Samantha Allan and Liam Switzer emerged as winners of the Sussex Law School/DMH Stallard Negotiation Competition for the 2017/18 academic year, with fellow contestants Jennifer Michal Miller and Remus Cozma finishing as runners up.

The competition was judged by Dr Charlotte Skeet (Sussex Law School) and Neil Farrow (DMH Stallard), with DMH Stallard also very generously sponsoring the event.

Speaking after the event, Mr Farrow said: "The teams were great, but the winning team I thought was one of the strongest I've judged on."

Sussex Law student Liam Edwards, GDL

"My decision to pursue a career at the Bar was strengthened by my mooting experience at Sussex. I started the Graduate Diploma in Law with an open mind around going down the solicitor or barrister path.

"The extra-curricular activities help you make this choice. I was in the final of the mooting competition held at the Supreme Court, London, in front of Lord Wilson of Culworth. The problems are generally set on the core subject areas.

"Mooting brings the law to life, takes you to interesting places and introduces you to a new way of thinking about a legal problem. Your first mooting experience is nerve-wracking; however, it could be the special ingredient needed to secure a training contract or pupillage."

Mooting at Sussex