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Fictitious criminal proceedings in exchange for the lecture theatre!

16 February 2018 | By:
EBS Moot Court Februar 2018

The winning team at the EBS Moot Court (left to right): Sophie Hochdörffer, Mariarna Jarju and Maria Bongartz.

Students put their knowledge to the test at Wiesbaden's District Court

A pub brawl between rival music and sport students, a Hell’s Angel who accidentally kills a policeman, and a young woman who suddenly proposes to her boyfriend in the courtroom. Last week’s first moot court of the year at the EBS Universität was a stormy affair. In this competition, law students play fictitious cases to test their knowledge of criminal law. The future lawyers had devised these cases together with the Wiesbaden branch of the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA). It came to a showdown at Wiesbaden’s District Court, in the presence of the Court’s President.

What seemed fun at first glance is actually daily practice for a criminal lawyer: the cases the EBS students reenacted contained diverse legal issues. Does a broken ring finger already count as grievous bodily harm? When he shot through that door, did the Hell’s Angel know there was a policeman standing behind it and did he, therefore, act wilfully and knowingly? What do I do if my only witness suddenly exercises her right to refuse to testify? This is not just about learning from books, but above all by practising legal proceedings. This is why EBS students organise two moot courts each year using construed cases to test their knowledge of criminal law. This time, the two-day competition included several rounds, involving 28 participants and 14 witnesses. “The moot court is intended to give the students comprehensive insight into the various aspects of law”, says Luca Manns, the student organiser of the initiative. For the leader of the 30-person team, it is particularly inspiring to experience “the commitment and high-level professionalism with which my fellow students set up this event. We very much grow with it!”

Experiencing the atmosphere in court up close

Stepping out of the lecture theatre and library into fictitious criminal proceedings makes the course content more intriguing and, at the same time, more comprehensible. “Once you are a prosecutor or defence counsel, suddenly it’s no longer about interpreting abstract legal texts but about people. The students realise: I play a part in whether the defendant is acquitted or sentenced to a long term of imprisonment,” says Professor Christoph Wolf. He sees himself as a trainer preparing his team for real-life situations.

The two winning teams competed against each other in the final at the Wiesbaden District Court. In one of the large courtrooms, there was a lively and voluble exchange of pleas and counter-pleas between the participants. Joachim Blaeschke, President of the District Court, once again assumed the role of Chairman. At the end, the team “Lady Public Prosecutors” with Mariama Jarju, Maria Bongartz and Sophie Hochdörffer were declared winners. They mastered the criminal provisions of the Penal Code to perfection and played their part most convincingly, according to the jury.

About the EBS Moot Court

The EBS Communicate & Moot Court, a student-led organisation, was founded in 2011 to give law students insight into the practice of legal proceedings. They are given the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of procedural law while at the same time training and further developing their rhetorical skills. To do this, they take on the role of either public prosecutor or defence counsel in fictitious court proceedings. This year the focus was on criminal law. Due to the close cooperation with EBS partner law firms and experienced lawyers, the moot court also offers insight into the practical work of a lawyer, thus making the choice of future career path or an internship easier. For the past year, the student-led organisation has been working together with the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) Wiesbaden, a newly founded local ELSA group. ELSA is the world’s largest law student association and organises moot courts in Germany and Europe.

Further information about ELSA Wiesbaden: www.elsa-wiesbaden.de

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