Success for Auckland Law School teams in international competitions

The Auckland Law School competed for the first time in the International Commercial Mediation Competition held recently in Paris and were runners-up in the Grand Final.

The team comprised Nupur Upadhyay, Adam McDonald, Alice Wang and Kimberley Eccles. The team’s coach Nina Khouri, a commercial litigator and strong advocate of mediation who has recently joined the Faculty of Law, was delighted with the result.

“It’s fantastic to put New Zealand, and the University of Auckland, on the international map for excellence in mediation advocacy.”

The International Chamber of Commerce competition, now in its eighth year, saw 66 university teams from 31 countries working with top mediators from around the world to solve complex international business disputes. Teams are scored on their ability to advance their own interests while collaborating with the mediator and the other party to the dispute, to find mutually acceptable solutions.

There were four preliminary rounds in which Auckland competed against Fordham University, the University of Vienna and teams from Tunisia and Brazil. Auckland proceeded to win its octofinal against Stockholm University, its quarter-final against University College London, and its semi-final against Vanderbilt University. Auckland was runnerup to a team from Poland in the Grand Final which was held on 13 February in front of a large audience at La Maison du Barreau, the headquarters of the Paris Bar Association. The Auckland team also won the prize for the best mediation advocacy skills.

New Zealand commercial mediator Geoff Sharp was on the Rules Committee at the competition. Having judged and mediated at the Paris competition for three years, he says it was superb to watch the Auckland team progress through the competition, and made him very proud to be a New Zealander.

“Although the competition has limited profile in New Zealand, it is huge for the European and US law schools and the Auckland team was the talk of the town – I received comment from a top tier London mediator saying he had never seen such a student performance in all his eight years of judging,” said Mr Sharp.

Dean Andrew Stockley commented “My congratulations go to Nina and the team. This is a significant achievement given there were 66 university teams from all over the world competing, and this was the first time Auckland had entered. It has been a very successful few months for Auckland students. In December Georgina Woods-Child and Jeremy Wilson were runners-up in the World Human Rights Moot Competition in Pretoria. This was also the first time we had entered this event.”

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