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Paralegal

Paralegal students compete in annual moot competition

Top-tiered paralegal students from across Ontario provided "impressive" arguments as they competed in the recent Third Annual Paralegal Cup Intercollegiate Mooting competition, says Toronto paralegal and Bencher Marian Lippa.

“The calibre of these students' knowledge base is top-notch,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Hosted by the Humber College Lakeshore Campus, the Nov. 21-22 paralegals’ moot saw students argue a case that is currently before the Supreme Court of Canada. They were required to submit a legal memo and to appear four times, either for the appellant, the Crown, or the respondent, Kenneth Gavin Williamson. The students argued the Ontario Court of Appeal decision, R. v. Williamson, [2014] ONCA 598, and presented 10-minute submissions before justices of the peace, deputy judges, adjudicators and benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada, lawyers, college professors and senior paralegals from the Toronto legal community. 

The Williamson appeal centres around a Charter of Rights and Freedoms s. 11 (b) motion, which examines whether or not an institutional delay prejudiced Williamson. The Supreme Court will look at whether the Court of Appeal erred in law by finding that the respondent’s constitutional right to be tried within a reasonable time was infringed. The respondent was charged with sexual offences against a young boy committed more than 30 years prior. Williamson was arrested at the school where he taught in January 2009. He was charged the next day. A jury trial ended in December 2011, says the Supreme Court files.

Lippa, who was a judge in the moot competition, says the case was “very well presented” by the students.

“Both sides were very compelling in their arguments,” she says. 

Lippa notes that last year the winning team was invited to compete against law students in the Osgoode Law moot competition. The paralegal team won second place amongst about 15 lawyer teams.

“These students are impressive — in part, a testament to the quality of education they are receiving,” she says. 

Lippa says the purpose of these mooting competitions is to provide paralegal students with an opportunity to develop their advocacy skills and to interact with people who will be their colleagues.

“The judges provide the students with feedback to improve their advocacy and professionalism; the networking experience is meant to help them transition away from their role as a pupil and into an active member of the paralegal community,” she says. 

The Paralegal Cup Moot 2015 Champions are Gavin Phillips and Kathyrn Brklacich, both of Seneca College

Lippa notes the Paralegal Cup celebrates the success of the Ontario paralegal community. The competition ended with a formal banquet at Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus.

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