Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Girls argue in high court for comp (+video)

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Tauranga Girls' College students will appear in the Waikato High Court today when they act as the defence counsel for the finals of a nationwide competition.

Selena Wright, 17, senior counsel, Joy Ackerley, 16, junior counsel, and Sandalika Illangamudalige, 16, research counsel, would be arguing a case involving drug searches in schools for the 2016 Secondary Schools' Mooting Competition.

The competition put two opposing teams of "lawyers" against each other, where they would argue a legal case in front of a judge. The students would try to convince the judge of their argument by applying law and the legal principles of the facts of their case.

For the finals the Tauranga Girls' team would be arguing their case in front of two real judges against a team from Waikato Diocesan, after ranking above 67 other teams from around the country.

Selena said it was a good opportunity for students to be involved in the processes of law if they were interested in pursuing law.

Sandalika said they had been polishing their argument and were ready for the finals this evening.

"It's arguing with a purpose," she said.

Joy said by going through the preliminary and semi-final rounds, they had the opportunity to build up to the final.

Lyon O'Neale Law clerk Stephen Taylor had been mentoring the girls for the competition.

"The amount of work they put into it is phenomenal," he said.

The girls had been arriving to school at 7am to practise, and would stay after school to ensure they were ready.

"I am super proud of them," he said.

"They have listened to the advice ... and have grown in confidence. They thoroughly deserve to be in the final."

What is a moot?

* A moot is a legal debate in a courtroom setting with a judge or a panel of judges. The debate is over an area of uncertainty in the law.

* Run by the University of Waikato, it is the only competition of its kind in New Zealand.

* All members of the winning team will receive a $3000 scholarship towards tuition fees at Te Piringa - Faculty of Law and a cash prize.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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