An interview with International Humanitarian Law Moot semi-finalists Cindy Cameronne and Maddison Godwin

Cindy Cameronne and Maddison Godwin won the ANU International Humanitarian Law Mooting Competition held by the ILS in May last year. They proceeded to the national rounds, which took place at the Australian Law Students’ Association Annual Conference in July in Hobart, where they competed against teams from law schools all around Australia. They were there semi- finalists in the competition overall, and Cindy was also awarded the best oralist prize.

1. What were your personal experiences with mooting prior to taking part in the IHL moot?

Neither of us had any experience with mooting prior to IHL. We simply saw the event on Facebook and decided to participate on a whim.

2. How is the IHL Moot different from the General Law Moots?

IHL traditionally involves a more considerable amount of research and preparation than General Law moots. The fact scenarios that we are given for the competition can range from 15 to 20 pages, so it’s integral to know every detail of the facts and all of the relevant law that may arise. Additionally, the formalities in court and memoranda are slightly different to General Law Moots.

3. Could you tell us about the process up till reaching the semi-finals in the ALSA competition?

We received the IHL 2016 question a month before the competition, just after the end of exams in Semester two. Most of this time was spent conducting research into the issues and writing up our memoranda which are provided to the opposing side before each round of competition.

At ALSA itself, most of our time was spent preparing for each round either in the form of research or practicing our submissions, or taking time off where we could to see some of the sights of Hobart.

4. What would you say you gained most from taking part in the IHL mooting competition?

Definitely confidence in public speaking skills, and improved research skills. It can be very daunting arguing your case in front of IHL experts, as they know the law inside and out, hence they are able to grill you on the finer points and throw you off your main submissions. So you need to be confident in your arguments at all times or at least pretend to be. Additionally, given the extensive amount of law on these topics, you need to hone your research skills to be able to wade through all of the Conventions and case law to find the law appropriate to your case.

5. What advice would you give to prospective law student mooters taking part in this competition?

Be prepared. There’s a lot of time and work involved in this competition compared to other more general competitions, but it is an extremely rewarding experience. You come out with practical skills that aren’t taught in any part of your studies which can give you more of a real life feel for how cases take place outside the textbook.