Thursday, September 4, 1997

WRITER: Kathy R. Pharr, 542-5172

CONTACT: Richard Ford, 548-1151


ATHENS, Ga. -- The skills of two third-year law students at the University of Georgia, Leigh Martin and Michael McCabe, will be put to the test next week as they debate two future British barristers in a case concerning British negligence law. The moot court competition will be held on Friday, September 12 at 3:30 p.m. in the law school's Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom.

The competition marks the eighth exchange between UGA and Gray's Inn of London since 1983. Teams from the two institutions compete every other year, and in alternating years, the law school participates in a moot court exchange with King's Inns of Dublin, Ireland. The purpose is to promote law students' knowledge of other cultures and legal systems.

This year's hypothetical case concerns a police officer who sued his department for failure to provide proper safety equipment after he contracted the HIV virus while assisting the victim of a car wreck, who, unbeknownst to him, had AIDS. The police officer also sued the accident victim for general negligence, since the wreck had been caused when he forgot English traffic laws and drove on the wrong side of the road.

Gray's Inn, one of the famed British Inns of Court, is a prestigious training ground for barristers. Under the English system of legal education, students major in law as an undergraduate, then become bar students at one of the Inns of Court. Those who pass the bar examination after a year of study become interns with barristers, the British version of trial lawyers.

This summer, law faculty and three graduates of UGA's moot court program -- members of the team which won the 1997 National Moot Court Competition -- visited London as guests of Gray's Inn. In addition to participating in a moot court competition, they were treated to a tour of the English criminal court, dinner at Gray's Inn, and trips to Lever Castle and Cambridge.

The four British students who travel to Georgia for the moot court exchange will enjoy a Bulldog football game in Sanford Stadium, tour the Georgia Supreme Court, visit the Atlanta law firm of Troutman Sanders, and be entertained at several dinners and receptions. The students are accompanied by the Honorable John Mummery, an appellate judge in England.

The law school's participation in the Gray's Inn Exchange Program is financed in part by the William Carroll Brown Fund.