Miami State High School student Zoe Boxshall has won the 2014 Griffith Law School and Short Punch and Greatorix (SP&G) Legal Essay Prize. Zoe takes home $500 for herself, $300 for her school, a book prize and a trophy.

Griffith Law School Senior Lecturer Dr Kieran Tranter says the competition encourages eligible High Schools to submit their top two Legal Studies essays for consideration.

“Zoe’s essay impressed judges by arguing for the reinstatement of the upper house of Parliament in Queensland, the Queensland Legislative Council, as a matter of political pragmatism and democratic importance,” says Kieran.

“The strength and contemporary relevance of her argument were important factors, however the fact Zoe went an extra step and engaged with academic journals really impressed the judges.”

Runners up for the Legal Essay prize worth $250 each were Coomera Anglican College student Kana Nakano for her essay on Queensland’s controversial VLAD Act or anti-bikie laws, and St Stephen’s College student Lauren Trickey, who explored the voluntary or coerced sterilization of mentally disabled persons.

All three students received their awards at a ceremony held at the SP&G offices in Bundall.Among the crowd of High School students and teacherswas Griffith Law School Dean Professor Pene Mathew, SP&G Partner Martin Punch and Griffith University Council member Ian Alderice.

The annual Legal Essay Prize is open to all Year 12 Legal Studies students in the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales region.

This year more thanhalf a dozensecondary schools, both public and private entered the competition. “Since schools submit their very best papers, the field is extremely competitive and we receive so many high quality essays. It makes the judging process very difficult,” says Kieran.

The legal essay competition is held in partnership with established local firm SP&G to encourage Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales students to start their legal careers on the Gold Coast and stay on in the profession after graduation.

For High School Legal Studies students considering entering next year, Kieran has some advice.

“Griffith Law School is one of the leaders in legal research in Australia, so we’re keen to see Legal Studies students formulate a clear and scholarly argument,” he says.

“We’re keen for students to use appropriate resources and to show in their writing that they’ve critically assessed the validity of their sources.”

For more information on how your High School can participate in the 2015 Legal Essay Competition, contact Dr Kieran Tranter.