Moot Court Achievements

Moot Court 2015

Once again Gibson Pillay Learning Academy has excelled and this time on the international stage.

Two learners from the school, Shandre Smith and Katelyn Chetty, were part of the South African Moot Court team, the winners of the International Moot Court Competition, held in The Hague, Netherlands from 16 to 22 January 2016.

A moot court competition is a simulated court case in which high school learners are given a set of fictional facts in respect of which they must formulate legal arguments based on real law to represent both the prosecution and defence sides.

In October 2015, the two learners represented the school in the SA National High Schools Moot Court Competition where they argued against schools from all over the country during preliminary rounds held at the University of Pretoria. The duo emerged as one of the finalist teams and argued the case before judges and legal experts in the Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa. The duo were runners up to the team from Western Cape, losing only by 0,25%. However, they were awarded with the same prizes of bursaries to the value of R30 000 each.

As a result of their success at the national finals, Shandre and Katelyn were selected to be part of the South African team, which also included 6 other learners from Gauteng, kwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, to participate in the International Moot Court Competition (IMC).

This is the 3rd edition of the IMC for high school students of 16 teams from 12 countries, including Venezuela, United States of America, Germany and Russia. The teams were given a set of fictional facts based on crimes against humanity and war crimes. Although the case is fictitious, the learners based their arguments on real international case law, and they presented their arguments before panels of legal experts which included retired judges from all over the world.

After 8 preliminary rounds held over 3 days at the Leiden University, the two teams with the highest accumulated scores were USA and South Africa. The two teams competed in the final held at the highest court in the world, the International Criminal Court at the Peace Palace, on Friday 22 January 2016. It must be noted that very few attorneys worldwide have the opportunity to appear in this prestigious court.

The defence team from South Africa, which included Shandre Smith, argued against the Prosecution team of USA and the presiding Judge of the Final Bench mentioned that the calibre of the learners exceeded that of many experienced attorneys. After intense legal arguments, South Africa were declared the winners.

Mr MS Pillay, the principal of Gibson Pillay Learning Academy has expressed his pride and elation that learners from the school were part of this phenomenal and gifted team of champions. He has said that "We are a relatively small school, with less than 500 learners, and yet from day to day we are gaining strength and momentum in provincial, national and now international competitions of high calibre. We have been blessed to be able to take any learner with very little potential and guide and nurture them to become champions with dedication, perseverance and above all humility. We have also witnessed that learners who compete in the various competitions are the very learners who show marked improvement in their academic performance as they learn vital skills in the competitions. The excellent results achieved by our Matric class of 2015 is indeed proof of this."

Shandre has now enrolled to study Law at the Wits University and Katelyn will be completing her matric.

Moot Court 2014

Riding high on the success of the school in the oral history competition, Justin Kuni, accompanied by Anele Nyaka, once again participated in the prestigious National High Schools Moot Court Competition. In this competition, learners are provided with a set of fictional facts on a constitutional matter, and write essays based on actual constitutional law in order to represent both sides of the issue. The learners appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on 27 September 2014 and were placed 4th overall in the provincial rounds of the competition.

The pair went on to participate in the national rounds held at Pretoria University on 11 October 2014 where they competed against schools from Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. They both received well deserved high praise from the judges who commended them on their ability to think on their feet and answer questions based on law which they had learned in such a short time. Following intense competition, the pair were declared one of the top two teams (from 42 teams) for the day along with Granville High from North West Province. The two schools then competed against each other in the highest court of the land, the Constitutional Court, on Sunday, 12 October 2014, before a panel of judges which included two constitutional court judges. Our learners once again impressed the judges and although they were beaten, the scores were very close and the entire panel together with the spectators, which included the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Enver Surtee, agreed that Justin and Anele, have the makings of great future attorneys.

Justin and Anele have made us extremely proud and they have certainly made their marks in the highest court of our land. They have proved that at Gibson Pillay Learning Academy, education, truly is wealth.