New Zealand Law Society - Criminal lawyers sought for judging advocacy sentencing contest

Criminal lawyers sought for judging advocacy sentencing contest

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For the second successive year, the Ministry of Justice, Victoria University Law Students’ Society and the New Zealand Bar Association (NZBA) will be jointly host a sentencing advocacy competition for law students at the Wellington High Court.

The NZBA says the competition serves a very useful purpose in giving students a greater appreciation of criminal law and practice.

It requires criminal law practitioners to serve as judges in the preliminary and semi-final rounds of the competition on Monday, 13 August at 5.30pm and Thursday, 16 August at the same time, at the Wellington High Court. The Association needs 10 practitioners to act as judges for these rounds.

If you are able to help with this competition, please confirm your availability by Thursday, 12 July to Hiba Hussain at

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Law students from Victoria University will be given a sentencing problem and assigned the role of prosecution or defence by Friday, 3 August.
  2. The judges will also be forwarded the problem on Friday, 3 August.
  3. The competitors must file their written submissions by Friday, 10 August at 12pm.
  4. Judges will be sent the submissions by 2pm on the same day, and each competitor will be sent opposing counsel’s submissions.
  5. Each competitor has 20 minutes to present their oral submissions.
  6. Judges will have 20 minutes to deliberate and 10 minutes to inform the competitors of their sentencing decision.
  7. The top competitors, based on marks, proceed to the semi-finals on 16 August. At this stage, competitors moot on the same question but swap roles. Assessment proceeds as it did in the preliminary round.

Judges will be provided with a marking schedule to judge the candidates. It would be helpful for the competitors to understand how the judge arrived at the final assessment and to have an overview of their performances and ways to improve, particularly if a competitor is moving forward to the semi-finals.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Hiba Hussain at the above email address.