Law students defend title in global competition

15 November 2017

This is without a doubt the most valuable experience of my law degree. The wisdom of our mentors on advocacy, drafting and negotiation has been second to none.

The Australian National University (ANU) is leading a team of Australia's top international law students heading to Japan to compete in what's described as the Asia-Pacific Olympics of transnational arbitration and negotiation.

Team Australia is defending its 2016 title in the Intercollegiate Negotiation Competition (INC), one of the most rigorous and complex Law competitions on the world stage, where students compete in mock commercial negotiations and arbitration.   

The 22-strong Australian Team comprises 14 students from the ANU, two from the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Monash and one each from the Universities of Western Australia and the Sunshine Coast. They will compete against 20 of Japan's top law schools and teams from universities in Hong Kong, Singapore and Mongolia.

Team lead coach Professor Veronica Taylor from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific said students are given a taste of what they will face in the real world of international commercial arbitration and must learn and comply with international commercial contracting standards.

"The competition helps students become accomplished and principled lawyers and it's watched by a very powerful network of law firms and corporate sponsors, all looking for talent," Professor Taylor said.

"It's usually followed by a round of enquiries from top employers.

"The Australian team has a reputation for creative problem-solving with that very Australian can-do attitude. To have the edge they need maturity, real commitment to teamwork and be willing to tackle legal and business problems that can look insurmountable.

"This year the scenario involves a multi-national mining venture and co-development of an environmentally sensitive tourist precinct, so the students will be tested in the risks and complexity of different aspects of transnational law."

Over two days Team Australia will be competing in both English and Japanese.

Timothy Magarry, who captains the Japanese language team, said the competition has given him a rare opportunity to develop his legal thinking in Japanese.

"This is without a doubt the most valuable experience of my law degree," Mr Magarry said.

"Throughout preparation, we have been blessed with academics, barristers and solicitors across Australia and Japan, whose wisdom on advocacy, drafting and negotiation has been second to none," said Mr Magarry, who has a Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies from ANU and who is studying for a Juris Doctor at the ANU College of Law.

"After all the time and expertise these people have invested in us, I am confident we can hold our ground against the best Japan has to offer and show everyone why we are the defending champions."

Team Australia is supported by a consortium of universities that form the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL): The ANU, University of Sydney, University of Queensland, University of Technology, and by the Melbourne Law School.

Its key sponsor in 2017 is the New Colombo Plan (NCP), an initiative of the Australian Government. ANU received a three-year NCP mobility grant in 2016 to support student participation in the competition.

The students will arrive in Tokyo on 15 November. 

For details and profiles of Team Australia: https://www.teamaustralia-inc.net/2017/.