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Students join forces with top legal professionals for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander moot

1 August 2018

Ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students will work with top Queensland lawyers, barristers and judges in the fourth annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students' Moot, held jointly by Allens, Ashurst, North Quarter Lane Chambers and the Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland Inc.

The students – representing the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University and Bond University – will compete at the Federal Court in Brisbane on 3 August.

The winner will be determined by some of the state's top-ranking judges, including Chief Justice Allsop, (Chief Justice of the Federal Court), Justice Sofronoff (President of the Court of Appeal), and Justice Edelman (Justice of the High Court).

Designed to boost students' understanding of commercial law and advocacy, the moot explores the legal issues arising from a dispute involving a fictional farming and tourism business founded by Indigenous landowners and entrepreneurs in North Queensland.

The moot will be the culmination of several months of work, during which time the students have received hands-on mentoring from lawyers and barristers, as well as networking and workshop opportunities at the offices of both Allens and Ashurst.

'I decided to participate in the moot because I wanted to challenge myself, and oral advocacy was (and still is) an area I find challenging. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and get some valuable experience along the way,' said University of Queensland team member Martin Doyle.

'To me, the moot is a direct challenge to a prevailing narrative about Indigenous people in Australia. We are a proud people, with a history that cannot and will not be forgotten, or silenced, or defined by the issues and conflicts impacting our community. We can and will survive, adapt and thrive as we have done for millennia.

'This moot represents a shared past and a hopeful future, an ancient culture dominating in the modern world, and a hope that we can bear the legacy of our ancestors and make them proud.'

According to Allens partner and moot coordinator John Hedge, the moot provides a practical way for the legal profession to ensure Indigenous law students have access to the same opportunities as their non-Indigenous peers.

'Hands-on experience provides a critical foundation for a career in law, but that advantage is not always readily accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, who may lack the connections and opportunities of their fellow students.

'We are proud to join forces with other leading legal professionals across Queensland, including some of the most highly respected judges in the state, to continue the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students' Moot this year.'

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Notes for editors.

Allens is a commercial law firm working throughout Australia and Asia. Through its integrated alliance with Linklaters it provides clients access to 40 offices in 28 countries around the world.