We are proud to announce that the team representing the University of Oxford has won the Landmark Chambers Property Moot 2021.

The Landmark Chambers Property Moot takes place each year and touches on many topics within property law that go far beyond the FHS Syllabus. This year the Oxford team consisted of two undergraduates: Alexander Yean (Exeter College) and Bethany Arrowsmith (New College).

In the first round of the competition, held in November 2020, the team came up against Queen Mary University of London. The problem focused on the interpretation of a commercial lease and in particular, the meaning of “demand” and “vacant possession”. Prior to the moot, the teams exchanged written submissions, and developed these in 10-minute oral submissions on the day. Having completed their moot, the team attended a presentation on life at Chambers, and took part in a workshop based on Fearn v Tate [2020] EWCA Civ 104. The Oxford team was ranked within the highest-scoring eight teams out of over two dozen competing teams, and advanced to the next stage of the competition.

The quarter-final was held in early December, and the moot problem focused on the law on implied terms and the academic question of whether a lease could be determined by repudiatory breach. The Oxford team were triumphant against the London School of Economics, and received valuable feedback from the judge on how to improve their advocacy ahead of the semi-final.

The semi-final was held in early January, and the problem involved examining a specific provision of the Housing Act 1988 and its application. The team made submissions regarding the applicability of a discretionary ground for possession, and whether an order for possession would have been reasonable on the facts. Despite the highly technical problem, the team was narrowly victorious over City, University of London and progressed to the final.

The Grand Final was between Oxford and Cambridge, and was presided over by HH Judge Dight CBE. The problem focused on the ambit of prescriptive easements and the test for unlawful intensification. Unlike previous rounds, the problem was an appeal to the Supreme Court, and the Oxford team (acting as counsel for the appellants) were tasked with overruling a legal test that has stood for over half a century. Though the appellants lost on the law, HH Judge Dight was very impressed with counsel’s submissions, and declared both Alexander and Bethany as the winners of the competition. Per the competition rules, the two winners were decided based on their individual speaker points, and therefore could have come from different teams, so it was a very happy outcome that both winners were from the Oxford team. For their efforts, Alexander and Bethany were awarded £500 and invited to undertake mini-pupillages in Chambers.

Due to Covid-19, this year’s competition was held entirely virtually, however the team thoroughly enjoyed taking part nonetheless. Alexander and Bethany would like to thank all members of Landmark Chambers involved in the event, and in particular, Natasha White-Foy for her role in its organisation and HH Judge Dight CBE for presiding over the Grand Final.

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Left to right: Bethany Arrowsmith (New College), Alexander Yean (Exeter College)