Change the world

Faculty of Law

My name is Kathleen Mpofu and I recently took part in the NMMU internal moot court competition where we argued on Jon Qwelane’s “hate speech” article. When one does a moot competition especially for the first time, you’re never really sure about what to expect. A lot of hard work goes into it: researching, reading cases and articles and drafting heads of arguments but in as much as it is hard work, it is also very interesting. Like all things worth doing, the hard work is really rewarding and at the end of it all, it is a small price to pay for all the benefits that come from mooting. It was an opportunity to make use of the legal skills I had learnt and also to acquire more skills and better refine the skills I already had. We had a training session with Adv Benecke and I really learnt a lot from her, as she showed us the fastest and easiest research methods, gave us advice on how to construct our written arguments and tips on how to deliver an effective oral presentation. As a law student hoping to practise law one day I believe that it is of the utmost importance to gain as much knowledge as possible about the type of work I will be doing and being part of the competition really helped me with that. We also got lots of feedback and hints and tips from all the advocates and judges who judged our presentations and this gave a sense of direction as to which areas I would needed to work on.

Majority of the work we do in our lectures is largely theory and that is very different from what practising lawyers actually do. By doing moot court, it gives an insight of how to make use of the theory that we learn in our lectures and how to apply it to any particular set of facts so as to be able to construct a well written and well-presented oral argument. I also got to learn about court decorum and get a feeling of what it is like to be in a court environment. All this is vital knowledge that I would not have known had I not taken part in the competition. 

Law is a very practical field and it is only through constant exposure and practice that one can truly develop and harness their legal skills and the moot competition is a great way of achieving this. I encourage all law students to make use of this great learning opportunity that we have because it really is an exciting and interesting beneficial experience.