Wednesday, September 6, 2000

CONTACT: Kellie Casey, Director of Advocacy, (706) 542-2739

WRITER: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172


ATHENS, Ga. -- The advocacy skills of University of Georgia and Irish law students will be put to the test on Friday, September 15 at 3:30 p.m. in the law school's Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom when they square off in an argument over an international economic dispute. The friendly competition is open and free to the public.

This marks the third moot court competition between students from the UGA School of Law and barristers from the Honorable Society of King's Inns in Dublin, Ireland. The exchange, created in 1996, complements the law school's older program with Gray's Inn of London, England, held in alternating years. UGA law students are thus exposed to international cultures and legal systems each fall.

Up for hypothetical appeal before a panel of UGA law professors and their Irish counterparts is the fate of a developing country accused of violating international trade laws. The country recently underwent a massive revolution and swung open its doors to the global marketplace. When it was unexpectedly flooded with products from a larger, developed neighbor, however, it retaliated by nationalizing some industries and restricting free trade, particularly media products.

The University of Georgia will be represented in the debate by three third-year law students, all members of last year's successful National Moot Court team: Anne Allen Westbrook, Charlie Bethel and Jennifer Auer. The Irish delegation is comprised of three young barristers and King's Inns' director of education, Marcella Higgins.

"The educational experience of working and thinking through the problem is probably the most valuable part of the whole moot court experience," said Bethel. "This exhibition will be a lot of fun for those of us who enjoy arguing the law, and we'll be able to test ourselves against international competitors."

The roots of King's Inns go back to the sixteenth century and the reign of Henry VIII. To become a barrister-at-law in Ireland, a student must have passed a diploma examination at the King's Inns. Therefore, all members of the Irish bar and judiciary belong to the society.

During their stay in Georgia, the Irish guests will tour Athens and Atlanta and go whitewater rafting with the UGA students. In mid-November, the UGA competitors will reciprocate the visit and travel to King's Inns in Dublin. The exchanges are financed in part by the William Carroll Brown Fund.