WINNER(ex aequo) OF THE BEST ORALIST AWARD
Mr. Richard Davies, Vienna University
Writing this article leads to me suffering a severe case of Telders withdrawal syndrome. I am sure anyone who has participated in Telders has also had common symptoms for this condition which include delving into the VCDR, reading through some obscure legal case or preparing oneself for a practice pleading until the sudden realisation comes that Telders is actually over for this year. If Telders were just another event, then this would not happen, but as we all know, Telders is something special.
My journey to winning this award of Best Oralist began all the way back in July 2009. I was adjusting to getting to know Vienna but I was very keen to try and become involved in mooting. This started by going through the corridors of the University of Vienna, feeling like Harry Potter on his first trip through Hogwarts, to meet and have a conversation with our coach, Alexander Breitegger. His instructions were very clear and left me in no uncertain terms that I should apply. This would be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about international law as well as competing against some of the best mooters across Europe. The next stage after that was to prepare my pleading to get into the team of the university which was in September. After they were finished, I was delighted to get a call later that day from the university’s other coach Mr Luca Schicho to tell me that I had been accepted into the team.
After joining the team, there was no time to rest and I immediately began to work nights and long weekends with the team on the memorials. It was hard work but good fun because we all got along well as we developed into a team very quickly. Until January, we worked hard on our memorials. Once these were submitted, we were started practising for the pleadings. I got so used to referring to the EFM as “my State” that at one point I mixed up the UK and the EFM. Looking back, I think the sessions helped me a lot to iron out errors and learn to be prepared for anything.
For me personally, I had a feeling that in the light of the controversial points we had to defend as Respondents, we were at our best when we were at our boldest. We wanted to look beyond the obvious points and raise something new. As a result, me and my co- agent Joachim Leitner used a number of surprising arguments such as Abdul Wali Muse (a pirate that even his parents couldn’t agree the age of), the Solas Convention that was more about deep fat fryers than piracy and saying that we could detain Captain Jason for a long time due to similar detention review conditions for refugees around the world.
In the actual moot court itself, both moots saw me come up against tough benches with plenty of questions. This was good as it challenged me at the highest level. I thought the first speaker for the respondent is the best position to be because you get the chance to hear the applicants first and feel the general mood of the bench. Plus whilst your co agent is speaking and later on you are listening to the rebuttal, you get time to gather your thoughts before coming back to do the surrebuttal later on in the moot. To actually win the award of Best Oralist was a fantastic achievement but it would not have been possible without the hard work and friendship of the University of Vienna team: Joachim Leitner, Stephanie Raab, Phillip Hoedl, Alexander Breitegger and Luca Schicho, as well as many other people who have helped us along the way.