Report on the third annual Oxford French Law Moot

The 10th March 2010 saw the annual Oxford French Law Moot reach new heights. Eight teams from all over England (Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Kent, King’s College London, Oxford and two teams from UCL) came to participate in this challenging competition, which required mooters to be able to argue a point of French law from both the position of the “demandeur” and the “défendeur”.

The day was kicked off with a presentation from the sponsors, Gide Loyrette Nouel, a prominent French law firm of international fame, which allowed participants to ask questions about pursuing a career with the firm. Before the mooting began, lunch was served and the teams were able to mingle and network down in the Institute of European and Comparative Law.

As for the main event, I cannot stress enough how impressive all the teams’ performances were. Having mooted once before in French, it is hard to put across just how difficult this event must have been to prepare for. Of particular note was one of the first round moots, which saw the UCL B team proceed to the semi-finals, despite having had been informed only fifteen hours earlier that they would be able to participate after all! All of the teams had done a marvelous job, and it was a pleasure to witness each moot.

The final itself took place in St Catherine’s College, between the UCL A team and Bristol. Both teams put on a spectacular display of mooting prowess, as M. Alain Lacabarats, President of the 3ème chambre civile of the Cour de Cassation, emphasised when the results were announced. Me Michel Pitron, partner of Gide, remarked that the mooters were ”comme les avocats” and stressed the difficulty of the case that all participants had had to prepare. M. François-Xavier Lucas, Professor of the Sorbonne, lauded the efforts of the non-native speakers and the seductive style with which the representatives stated their cases; indeed, Alison Hayes, of Bristol University, had a most lyrical and persuasive technique which was absolutely charming to listen to. An adequate summary of the event may be taken from the words of Professor François-Xavier Lucas, who ended his feedback with “un mot : bravo!”.

I would finally like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part: our esteemed judges, not only those of the final, but those of the lower rounds also; our sponsors, Gide Loyrette Nouel; and all the administrative staff and team mentors who made this wonderful event happen, not to mention the mooters themselves! It really was a privilege to be a part of it, and I hope that next year the competition will expand even further, to see teams coming from universities from all over the world.

Peter Beaumont
Lincoln College