Otago success at Moot competition

Jason Brinsley-Pirie (23) and Kimberly Lawrence (22) reflect on their recent law mooting success. Photo by Craig Baxter
Jason Brinsley-Pirie (23) and Kimberly Lawrence (22) reflect on their recent law mooting success. Photo by Craig Baxter
Two University of Otago students are unlikely to ever forget the name ''Brian Bramble''.

And, for similar reasons, it's a fairly safe bet that the two senior law students, Kimberly Lawrence and John Brinsley-Pirie, will never again fly with an imperfectly-fastened seat belt, if ever they have in the past.

The case of the insufficiently-fastened seat belt and of the unfortunate, albeit completely fictional airline passenger, Mr Bramble, came up in the recent finals of the inaugural Australia and New Zealand Air Moot Competition in Melbourne.

Further burning the two matters into the memory of the Otago duo was the fact that they somewhat unexpectedly won the contest against four sets of Australian university law mooting representatives, defeating RMIT University, of Melbourne, in the final.

Law moots simulate aspects of court cases, and provide practice in making written submissions, and later arguing a case, and handling tricky queries from a high-powered judging panel.

Mr Bramble, an anaesthetist by profession, had swiftly become a ''patient'' himself after receiving some gruesome head injuries when he flew from his seat and struck the aircraft ceiling during a heavy landing.

During two days of gruelling preliminary rounds of the competition, the Otago duo twice defended the fictional airline ''Business Express Airlines'' against a law suit from the injured plaintiff . And they also successfully represented Mr Bramble once.

And then, in the intense final of the competition, the Otago students fronted up to defend the airline again, before an eminent judging panel.

Ms Lawrence said the duo, who have also taken part in many Otago mooting events previously, decided almost at the last minute to enter the Australian moot after spotting a note about it on Facebook, close to the entry deadline.

Otago University Law Faculty dean Prof Mark Henaghan said the Otago success was ''fantastic'', and noted the two students had previously received no specialised training in aviation law.

The moot was sponsored by the Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand and run by Victoria University, Melbourne.

Mr Brinsley-Pirie was ''stoked'' with the win, and both students, haunted by Mr Bramble's fate, will, on all future flights, be ensuring that every seat belt within reach is firmly attached.