The New Zealand Law Students Association (NZLSA) annual national Conference is where the top competitors from the six different Law Schools in New Zealand compete against each other. All Law Schools hold regional competitions then the winners of each respective Competition get the chance to represent their University nationally at the NZLSA Conference.
There are five Competitions – NZLSA Senior Mooting, Bell Gully Junior Mooting, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts Witness Examination, Buddle Findlay Negotiation and Russell McVeagh Client Interviewing. The Conference takes place over five days and rotates locations (each Law School gets a chance to host the Conference once every six years).
This year, the University of Otago Law Faculty and the Society of Otago Law Students hosted the Conference in Dunedin. Some highlights from the conference included the Opening Night Dinner at the Dunedin Town Hall, a LSS Presidents Breakfast hosted by IPLS and the Final Prizegiving Dinner at Larnarch Castle. There was also an education forum where the inspiring Erin Jackson spoke.
In addition to developing their skills and representing their University on a national level, competitors get to meet other law students, experience a different part of New Zealand and connect with distinguished members of the legal sector and judiciary. For example, the open mooting Competition was judged by Justice Peter Woodhouse, Justice Rhys Harrison and Trevor Shiels QC.
The NZLSA Open Mooting problem was a case involving defamation, centred around two issues, the first of which was whether a certain statement made outside of court amounted to an effective repetition or adoption of defamatory statements made under absolute privilege in Court.
This was based on the facts from Jennings v Buchanan  3 NZLR 145 in which the Court of Appeal agreed it was arguable that a defendant who “effectively repeats” statements made under absolute privilege, in a situation in which that privilege does not apply, may be liable in defamation. Secondly, the problem raised the issue of whether an internet access provider with a degree of control over the websites it hosts, is liable for defamation for allowing those statements to be placed on its web pages. The basis for this issue were two United States decisions, which were supplemented by the Law Commission report, which set out a full discussion of the law in this area.
Winner: Sam Jeffs and Carter Pearce (University of Auckland)
Runners up: Abhiteja Kandarpa and Sean Brennan (Victoria University of Wellington)
Note: Sam Jeffs and Carter Pearce qualified to compete in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Sponsorship is provided by the Law Foundation.
The Bell Gully Junior Mooting competition was fiercely contested this year, and the problem was a case involving both standing and appropriateness of name suppression, in the context of a blogger reporting on court proceedings. Firstly, the position of a blogger as a member of the media was argued, there being no established test for how courts should exercise the discretion provided in s 210(1)(b) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.
Slater v Blomfield  NZHC 2221 provides a useful starting point, as does the Law Commission report on the issue. Secondly it was argued whether on the facts name suppression should be awarded under s 200 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 following the framework developed in Robertson v New Zealand Police  NZCA 7, along with other New Zealand authorities forming the closed list formulated for the moot.
Winner: Caitlin Anyon Peters and Katherine Eichelbaum (University of Auckland)
Runners up: Kayla Polamalu and Lucy Kenner (Victoria University of Wellington)
The Minter Ellison Rudd Watts Witness Examination Competition for 2015 featured a scenario in which the accused had been charged under s 13A of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, in that he intended to assist a known terrorist, whom he was aware intended to carry out a terrorist act, to avoid arrest by harbouring him in his house.
The prosecution called the evidence of the arresting officer, Detective Wright, whom gave testimony of the arrest of Mr Bush (the defendant’s flatmate), stating that the arrest was based primarily on evidence collected by bug placed in Mr Bush’s home of an attack on the Prime Minister at the next opportunity. Mr Bush countered with the defence that he assumed Mr Blair (the accused) was joking with these statements, and that he was not aware that the flatmate was a terrorist.
Winner: Stephen Taylor (University of Waikato)
Runners up: Roshana Ching (University of Auckland)
The 2015 Buddle Findlay Negotiation final this year concerned a hypothetical scenario related to the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The International Cricket Council (ICC) were looking for major sponsors for each match during the event, which involved advertising during TV broadcasts and advertising featured at the grounds.
ICC had reached an agreement in principle with Swete, a sports deodorant brand, to be a major sponsor for the final, and the parties involved were meeting to discuss the length of the dinner break featuring Swete’s advertising, the circumstances in which the final would not feature a dinner break and the consequences of such an occurrence, and the price of the sponsorship agreement.
Winner: Ellie Domigan and Jamie Rohan (University of Otago)
Runners up: Nasif Azam and Charlie Haines (University of Canterbury)
Note: Ellie Domigan and Jamie Rohan qualified to compete in the International Negotiation Competition. Sponsorship is provided by the Law Foundation.
The scenario involved in the final of the 2015 Russell McVeagh Client Interviewing Competition centred around a client coming in to talk about three issues related to their plumbing company. Firstly, the client wondered about their liability after an earthquake had caused a lot of damage to a building their company had previously worked on, and what the consequences were of the failure of an automatic ‘stopper’ which may or may not have been installed properly.
As well as this the client had a query regarding their options after water flooded onto their personal property from a water feature installed at their neighbour’s property, damaged after the earthquake. Lastly, the client asked about a situation where a supplier of goods had sent the wrong size of piping, with the correct size having to be sourced from a competitor, costing much more, resulting in a delay and a loss of contract price.
Winner: Eve Bain and Fayez Shahbaz (Victoria University of Wellington)
Runners up: Hugh Goodwin and Tom Burgess (University of Canterbury)
Note: Eve Bain and Fayez Shahbaz qualified to compete in the Brown-Mosten International Client Consultation Competition. Sponsorship is provided by the Law Foundation.