The scenario is: The Republic of New Zealand is about to elect its first president. Polls indicate it will be an extremely close race. Both presidential candidates have been subject to compromising tabloid photography. Were these breaches of privacy? And should damages be awarded?
These were the questions that the finalists in the inaugural Justice Sir Robert Chambers Memorial Moot had to grapple with at the High Court in Auckland on October 12.
The memorial moot was funded by Sir Robert’s widow, Lady Deborah Chambers QC, and the Chambers family. Lady Deborah, Justice Simon Moore, and Hon Robert Fisher QC, were the judges.
The courtroom was packed with spectators including students, the families of competitors, family and friends of the late Sir Robert, Dean of Law Professor Andrew Stockley, and other senior staff from the faculty.
Initiated by the Auckland Law School Mooting Society, the competition was designed specifically for Part 1 students. It was the Law School’s most popular mooting competition to date, with 128 students participating in teams of two. The winner was Dominic Perry, for the respondent, with second place going to Bella Rollinson, for the appellant, each of them receiving $1000 in prize money. The two other finalists, Bronte Page and Mina El Khodary, won $500 each.
Justice Sir Robert Chambers was a Supreme Court Judge and one of New Zealand’s leading legal minds. He attended the University of Auckland from 1971 to 1974, graduating LLB(Hons). An outstanding student, he was awarded Junior and Senior Scholarships in Law, the AG Davis Scholarship and the Sir Alexander Johnston Scholarship.
After a year as clerk to judges of the Supreme Court (now High Court) he proceeded to Oxford University and was awarded his DPhil in 1978. On his return to New Zealand he lectured in law at the University of Auckland and worked at Wilson Henry Martin & Co from 1979 to 1980.
In 1992 Justice Chambers was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In 1999 he was appointed a judge of the High Court. This was followed by appointment to the Court of Appeal in 2004 and to the Supreme Court in 2011.
Throughout his career Justice Chambers made a valuable contribution to legal writing. He was closely involved in New Zealand’s law societies and supported legal education and professional development.
Pictured: Lady Deborah Chambers QC and moot winner Dominic Perry