** This story has also been covered on the University news page ***

The Grand Final of the inaugural Herbert Smith Freehills Oxford Disability Mooting Championship took place in the beautiful Keble College Chapel on Saturday 22 November 2014 to coincide with UK Disability History Month. It has been established by Wadham College Graduate students and the Oxford Faculty of Law, University of Oxford.

The first Moot Court competition to be established by the Faculty which focuses solely on legal issues affecting persons with a disability, the Grand Final was judged by Professor Timothy Endicott, Dean of the Oxford Law Faculty, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers KG PC, former President of the United Kingdom Supreme Court, Mr Ian Gatt QC, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Head of the Advocacy Unit, and Ms Helen Mountfield QC, Matrix Chambers.

(Court hears submissions of Championship winning team) First photo: (Left hand side: Bench from left) Mr Ian Gatt QC, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Head of the Advocacy Unit, Professor Timothy Endicott, Dean of the Oxford Law Faculty, The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers KG PC, Visiting Professor at the Oxford Law Faculty and former President of the United Kingdom Supreme Court, Ms Helen Mountfield QC, Matrix Chambers; (Centre: Clerk) Ms Katie Allan; Right hand side: Mr Conor Kennedy making his submissions to the bench and Mr Stuart Sanders (Championship winners, both of Trinity College).  

After a fierce final round, against Mr Daniel Goldblatt (St Edmund Hall) and Ms Fiona O’Malley (Merton) the Grand Final was won by Mr Conor Kennedy and Mr Stuart Sanders both of Trinity College. Conor Kennedy, said: ‘Having not expected to progress past the group stages, it was an unexpected and quite intimidating honour to moot in front of the esteemed panel. The extremely interesting and finely balanced moot problem made it a thought provoking and fantastic experience.’ Stuart Saunders continued: ‘We particularly enjoyed the stimulating panel discussion which followed the moot and were also very pleased to be able to be part of the wider disability awareness aspect of the event.’

(Grand Finalists with judges) Second photo from left to right: Ms Helen Mountfield QC, Matrix Chambers, Mr Ian Gatt QC, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Head of the Advocacy Unit (just behind), Mr Conor Kennedy and Mr Stuart Sanders (Championship winners, both of Trinity College) and Professor Timothy Endicott, Dean of the Oxford Law Faculty.

The Grand Final was followed by a Conversazione moderated by Lord Macdonald QC, Warden of Wadham College and former Director of Public Prosecutions, on the theme: Building on the Paralympic Legacy: Social Attitudes, Equality Law and Participation in Public Life. The distinguished group of panellists included celebrated artist Ms Alison Lapper MBE, Mr Stephen Frost, the former Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, author and journalist Ms Katharine Quarmby and Mr John Lish, Expert by Experience for the Barker Commission.

(Conversazione) Third photo from left to right: Daniel Hudson, Partner, dispute resolution, Mr John Lish, Expert by Experience for the Barker Commission, Mr Stephen Frost, the former Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Lord Ken Macdonald QC, Warden of Wadham College and former Director of Public Prosecutions, author and journalist Ms Katharine Quarmby and celebrated artist Ms Alison Lapper MBE.

Lord Macdonald commented: ‘This was an outstanding event and I hope it will become an established part of the Oxford legal calendar. There is so much to be done to raise awareness of disability issues in Oxford and around the country and the Disability Mooting Championship is a brilliant and thought provoking contribution to this much needed work.’

Mr Dan Hudson, partner sponsor of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Ability Network commented: ‘Since launching our network in April, we have sought to raise awareness of disability issues inside and outside the workplace, challenge perceptions and encourage sharing of information and dialogue. Our support of the Disability Mooting Championship and partnership with the Oxford Faculty of Law on this project is a real highlight of our first year.’  

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