Christopher McHugh and Isobel Salzedo of Keble College win the Oxford Herbert Smith Freehills Disability Mooting Championship

The Grand Final and Panel discussion of the 2022 Herbert Smith Freehills Disability Mooting Championship concluded during Disability History Month.

Finalists of the 2022 Disability Moot Championship

Christopher McHugh and Isobel Salzedo, both of Keble College, won this prestigious mooting championship after great advocacy for both teams in the grand finale. The respondents, Shastikk Kumaran of Mansfield and Suneeti Srekumar of Magdalen were fantastic runners-up in the competition. The grand finalists had to get through two days of mooting to reach the final stage of the competition in which they faced our judges Dan Hudson, Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, Jordan English, Supernumerary Teaching Fellow in Law at St John's College Oxford and Matthew Sheridan, Littleton Chambers. Twelve teams of two students took part in the competition, with preliminary rounds on Friday 25 November and the later rounds on Saturday 26 November. This year, the moot problem focused on contract law, exploring issues of inequality of bargaining power and unconscionability. It centred around a scenario in which Ms Laurier allegedly made a contract with Mr Baker, a successful investment banker who purchases her prestigious art piece The Weeping Sorrow. Mooters were asked to engage with concepts of capacity in contract to determine the position of the contractual arrangement between Mr Banker and Ms Laurier.

This exciting mock court case competition aimed to showcase the intellectually demanding study of disability and the law. The Grand Final and panel discussion was attended by undergraduates, graduates, members of the public and invited guests. The moot is one of the flagship events of the Faculty of Law and Oxford University Disability Law and Policy Project and was followed by a panel discussion.

This event was supported by the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. Tim Leaver, Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and one of the semi-final judges said:

We were once again blown away by the standard of the mooting this year in respect of what was an extremely challenging moot problem. We were particularly pleased to learn that a number of the competitors had little, if any, mooting experience before the Championship and that they were able not only to progress through the initial selection stages, but to impress us on their feet with their submissions. The importance of events like these should not be underestimated – open and honest discussions on issues of law and policy as they intersect with disability is an imperative, now more than ever. We at Herbert Smith Freehills are proud to play a small part in that, and look forward to our continuing partnership with the Oxford Disability Mooting Championship for future years.
Tim Leaver
Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills

This year’s panel discussion centred around inclusive employment in times of crisis. Panellists were asked to discuss how regulation and reform of current practices for inclusive employment of disabled people may mitigate the impact of the ongoing cost of living crisis. The sessions keynote chair was Kim Hoque, Professor of Human Resource Management and Vice Dean at King’s business school. In 2021, along with leading charities and trade unions, he co-founded the Disability Employment Charter. He was joined by panellists Professor Victoria Wass, Alan Bogg, Sarah Stephenson-Hunter and Jonathan Tiley. Panellists discussed issues ranging from government policy at the broadest level, to the effect of education on the progression of disabled students.

Our thanks go to Herbert Smith Freehills for their ongoing financial support of this event, to the student committee who helped put this event together and to organisers Dr Luke Rostill, Associate Professor in Property Law, and Dr Marie Tidball, Coordinator of the Oxford Disability Law and Policy Project.