Three Mooting Victories for UAlberta Law

University of Alberta teams triumph at Gale Cup, Wilson Moot and Bowman Tax Moot

Brea Elford and Ben Freeland - 05 March 2018

The 2018 moot season may only halfway through but it's already proven to be a banner year the University of Alberta Faculty of Law thanks to three big victories in Toronto.

The season began with a bang for UAlberta Law with two early first-place finishes at the Gale Cup and Wilson Moots on February 16-17 and 24-25 respectively.

On March 2 and 3 the Faculty completed a hat trick with yet another first-place finish at the Donald G. H. Bowman National Tax Moot.

Gale Force Win

For the first time since 2001 and only the second time in the contest's 45-year history, UAlberta Law are the reigning champions of the prestigious Gale Cup Moot.

After advancing to the finals, the team of Heather Cave (3L) and Kritika Sharma (2L) mooted in a final showdown against the University of Toronto team on February 17 and took home the big prize.

"The Gale Cup has been the highlight of my law school career," said Sharma of her team's big win.

"The time and energy that goes into finessing your arguments is overwhelming but incredibly rewarding. The team and the coaches become your family and I am so grateful to have been part of such a talented and supportive group."

The 45th Gale Cup was held at Osgoode Hall School of Law at York University on February 16 and 17. Sponsored by the Toronto law firm Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP and the Criminal Lawyers' Association, the moot centred on the 2017 R v Paterson case, in which the Supreme Court of Canada, in which the SCC ruled that a warrantless entry by RCMP officers into a private residence (in which drugs were discovered) did not meet the criteria of "exigent circumstances".

A total of 16 law schools participated in the competition.

The final day of the competition also featured an after-dinner keynote address by the Honourable Justice Suzanne Côté of the Supreme Court of Canada, which was followed by the awarding of the trophy.

Team coach Professor Peter Sankoff expressed his deep pride in the team's win.

"The Gale Cup is Canada's most prestigious criminal law moot, and after many attempts, I finally was a part of the team that won it. Congratulations to my amazing team, Heather Cave, Kritika Sharma, Sarah Offredi and Daniel Jachna, and my fantastic co-coach Mandy MacLeod and many thanks to the many, many people who helped make this happen."

First-Place Finish at the Wilson Moot

After a hard fought weekend, the Wilson Moot trophy is once again coming home.

Through two days and multiple rounds of competition, UAlberta Law teammates Kimberley Gosel (2L), Alyssa Kim (2L), Paul Maas (3L) and David Pope (3L) best argued and advocated for equality rights issues to narrowly defeat team from University of Toronto Law and place first.

The final round took place Saturday at the Federal Court in Toronto and was judged by the Right Honourable Richard R. Wagner, PC, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

13 Canadian law schools participated in the competition this year.

Chris Samuel, federal crown prosecutor with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, coached the team for the second year in a row. Samuel's ecstatic about the victory, and the hours of practical experience and mentorship for his team.

"Participating in an upper-year moot is one of the most enlightening experiences available at law school. You will receive advice on your advocacy from senior practitioners and sitting justices, which in turn will make you a better advocate and lawyer," said Samuel.

"While winning the moot was extremely rewarding, I am confident that the longer-lasting impact comes from the skills that my students will take with them into the practice of law," he added.

For Gosel, the moot experience was a tremendous learning opportunity and a chance to highlight their hard work as a team.

"It was amazing to see all of our work come together and see our team members answering questions persuasively and with such precision," said Gosel.

"My team was absolutely amazing and I am incredibly happy with our teamwork," she said.

Three's A Charm With Bowman Tax Moot Win

The eighth annual Bowman National Tax Moot featured teams from 13 Canadian law schools and culminated in a "Battle of Alberta" semifinal round between UAlberta Law's respondent team and the University of Calgary's appellant team.

Benjamin Effa (2L) and Athena Sturmay (3L) represented the appellants while Mitchell Ng (3L) and Elizabeth Allum (3L) competed as the respondents.

Coach Chris Sprysak, associate professor and associate dean of research at UAlberta Law, praised the team's hard work and commitment throughout the year.

"I am delighted to say that each and every member of the team did themselves and the University of Alberta proud. They worked hard individually and as a group; they supported each other, as well as the teams against which they competed; they immersed themselves in both the obvious and subtle aspects of the case and gave their best performances at the competition. It was an honour and a pleasure to be their coach and to witness their growth as legal researchers and as written and oral advocates," said Sprysak.

The 8th annual competition was judged by Justices of the Federal Court of Appeal and Tax Court of Canada, as well as tax practitioners from across Canada.

This year, the moot focused on an appeal of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Garron Family Trust v The Queen regarding the proper test for determining the residency of trust for income tax purposes, as well as the proper interpretation and application of a specific anti-avoidance rule intended to prevent Canadians from using offshore trusts to avoid Canadian taxation.