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University of Guelph-Humber hosts its second GH Cup mooting competition

Emma Danaher

I would definitely not be who I am today without mooting and the Pre-Law Society." – Emma Danaher

The University of Guelph-Humber recently hosted its second GH Cup, the University’s international mooting competition.

Presented by the Guelph-Humber Pre-Law Society (GHPLS), the competition – held virtually for the first time – drew more than 20 teams representing post-secondary schools including the University of Toronto, York University, the University of Guelph, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Guelph-Humber.

That participation is a testament to not only the growing renown of the GH Cup itself, but also the reputation the University of Guelph-Humber has built for its consistently strong performances at mooting competitions across Canada.

“It’s really interesting to see how the legacy of the University of Guelph-Humber and our moot program have grown,” said graduating Justice Studies student Emma Danaher, who served as president of the GHPLS over the past year.

“The success we’ve had and the relationships we’ve built participating in other moots have created much more interest in our moot.

“We definitely have a reputation now, which is amazing. UofGH is known as one of the top moot schools and everyone knows UofGH is a force to be reckoned with. Our program has grown so much.”

A rigorous test

Originally planned for 2020 before being postponed by the pandemic, the second GH Cup tasked teams of two students to debate the R. v. Ahmad case that was decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2020, a ruling that explored the doctrine of entrapment in the context of investigations of “dial-a-dope” drug trafficking operations.

Spread across two days in May, the GH Cup saw all teams face off during four rounds of preliminary action before a team of judges gradually whittled the field in subsequent elimination rounds. A team from the University of Toronto ultimately came out on top.

UofGH’s team of student organizers do admit to being nervous about hosting the event virtually for the first time, but they say that it helped to apply the lessons learned from recent mooting competitions they experienced as participants to try to ensure a seamless experience for GH Cup competitors.

“It did help going to a lot of virtual moots beforehand, because not all of them were run the same way,” said Alessandra Giorgi, who will serve as President of the GHPLS for the 2021-22 year.

“We were able to see what worked and what didn’t.”

One point of pride for UofGH’s organizers? Almost immediately after the GH Cup concluded, competitors received especially detailed and thoughtful scorecards on their performances from judges (a group that included Justice Studies Assistant Program Head Dr. Glenn Hanna and instructor Dr. Glenn Barenthin, as well as UofGH alumni and law professionals).

“It was a goal for us to make sure that not only is UofGH known well on the circuit for competing, but also for hosting a really good competition that was efficient and quick and where competitors could get really detailed and valuable feedback,” said Jayme Milligan, who will serve as Vice President of Activities in the GHPLS for the 2021-22 school year.

“I’m excited to do it next year and keep building on what has been done in the past two years.”

As Milligan and Giorgi turn their attention to the next GH Cup, Danaher looks forward to coming back to participate as an alum. When she looks back on her own experience with mooting, she sees considerable personal and professional growth.

“Mooting solidified to me that public speaking is not as intimidating and out of reach as I thought it was initially. It convinced me that I could become a lawyer,” said Danaher, set to begin a graduate law program at U of T in the fall.

“Mooting drove my passion to go to law school. It drove me to keep persevering and make sure that I achieve my goal of becoming a lawyer,” she added. “I think I would definitely not be who I am today without mooting and the Pre-Law Society. It really shaped who I am.”