UVic Law wins 2014 Wilson Moot Competition


UVic Law Wilson Moot team members Aislinn Sirk, Devon Black, Sarah Ashan, and Vivian Lee out performed 12 other law school moot teams to win the 2014 Wilson Moot Competition.  In addition to winning the overall competition, UVic took two of the top three oralist awards, with Devon Black winning the award for second top oralist and Aislinn Sirk winning the third top oralist award.

The Wilson Moot Competition, named after the late Honourable Bertha Wilson, is a national moot competition held annually in Toronto. The Wilson Moot typically involves sections 15, 7 and 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and complex social policy issues that inevitably accompany any section 15 or 7 claim.  This year’s problem explored a fictional addition to the BC Adoption Act that positioned the government`s attempt to correct the historical wrongs faced by Aboriginal people in relation to past policies of removing their children from their care with the use of the traditional best interests of the child test to determine custody for Aboriginal children.

Vivian and Sarah were counsel for the appellants, and Devon and Aislinn represented the respondents. Devon and Aislinn had the privilege of appearing before “Justice” Peter Hogg during one of the rounds. After two rounds of competition for each side, UVic proceeded to the final round of competition. Vivian and Sarah represented UVic as counsel for the appellants. The final was held in a packed courtroom with Mr. Justice Moldaver of the Supreme Court of Canada, Mr. Justice Goudge of the Ontario Court of Appeal, and Madam Justice Jackson of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal presiding.  Vivian and Sarah rose to the occasion, saved their best for last, and were truly fantastic. All three Justices commented on the very high level of advocacy of the mooters in the final round. Vivian also provided the best line of the Moot, when in answer to Justice Moldaver’s question of whether the Adoption Act goes too far and in essence throws the baby out with the bath water responded, “Justice, in applying the legislation, we do not throw the baby out, but rather raise him or her up to be a proud Aboriginal person.” After showing the court she was listening to their examples, she responded to Mr. Justice Moldaver’s question in a substantive way.

Thanks to Leah Greathead and Tyna Mason for coaching the UVic Law Wilson Moot team. Thanks also to the UVic faculty, members of the Victoria bar and judges who helped the team in diverse ways.

Congratulations to the team members and coaches!