Students improve knowledge of maritime law through mooting

July 6, 2018

Maritime Law Mooting: Murdoch University's School of Law organised and had a participating team in this year's International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot.

The Murdoch School of Law has once again hosted the International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot (IMLAM) competition, bringing law students together from around the world to gain a deeper understanding of maritime law.

Teams of students spend six months researching a complex but realistic shipping scenario, preparing written submissions and then preparing their oral arguments. They are pitted against other teams and argue their case before a panel of experienced arbitrators.

The University of Queensland emerged triumphant from a grand final against University of Hong Kong at this year’s event, beating 28 teams from 13 countries.

Murdoch University School of Law has organised the IMLAM event for the past 13 years.

Moot Director Professor Kate Lewins and Coordinator Michelle Barron, said the School of Law prides itself on the practical experiences gained by its students through its extensive mooting program.

“While many people are aware that over 90 per cent of all commodities travel by sea, few think about the legal arrangements that must be in place to secure that transport,” Professor Lewins said.

“This competition exposes students to the real issues that tribunals and courts deal with whilst resolving disputes arising from the carriage of goods by sea.”

The IMLAM competition is open to students from any law school worldwide.

Student teams research the law and formulate memorandums to argue their client’s case months before the event.

They then practise for the oral competition, where two opposing teams argue their case before a tribunal comprising experienced maritime arbitrator; members of the maritime industry; as well as commercial and maritime lawyers.

The competition is well-supported by the international maritime industry and law firms, and tribunal members have included senior judges from the highest courts in England, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

“We pride ourselves on running a friendly but intellectually rigorous competition which gives a real insight into this important area of law, while honing the advocacy skills of student teams,” Professor Lewins said.

“As well as learning about the fascinating field of shipping law and the practice of arbitration, the students also improve their written, oral and teamwork skills throughout the process. These are skills are highly valued by the legal profession.

“Many of the students competing in IMLAM go on to secure employment at maritime law firms or as associates for Judges specialising in admiralty and shipping matters.”

The venue for the IMLAM final changes every year, rotating between Australia, South East Asia and Europe. Next year the competition will be hosted by Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Further information on the latest mooting events can be found on Twitter @IMLAMMurdoch while details on the next competition will be available on the School of Law website from early October.

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