Nearly 100 budding lawyers from top high schools in the East Malaysian state of Sabah put their legal skills to the test in Griffith Law School’s inaugural Sabah High Schools Mock Trial Competition, held earlier this month.
The competition celebrates Griffith’s move into offering a study pathway for Malaysians who wish to study in Australia and return home knowing that their law degree is recognised for legal practice in Sabah and Sarawak.
In a dramatic grand final presided over by High Court Judicial Commissioner Celestina Stuel Galid, students from St Francis Convent High School and Tawau High School went head-to-head in a real courtroom located within the Kota Kinabalu Court Complex, Malaysia.
St Francis Covent High School emerged as winners and were awarded RM 3,000 in prize money. Second and third runners up were Tawau High School and Sung Siew High School who received RM 2,000 and RM 1,000 respectively.
Dean of Law and Head of Griffith Law School Associate Professor Therese Wilson contributed hypothetical cases for several rounds, and travelled to Kota Kinabalu to oversee the finals.
Therese says she was impressed by the talent on display.
“It’s important young people understand the role of law and engage with it,” she says.
“I’m confident the students who participated will carry over their enthusiasm and new found understanding of the law’s role in dispute resolution into becoming active citizens working towards a more equitable society.”
Griffith’s Director of Internationalisation for the Arts, Education and Law Group Associate Professor Sven Schottmann says the competition was only possible because of the close collaboration with the Sabah Law Society.
“All 16 high schools were given access to volunteer lawyer mentors from the Sabah Law Society, which is what set the competition apart from others – an industry partnership that saw young professionals volunteering their time for their teams,” he said.
“Giving students hands-on experience and teaching them about the social context of law is at the heart of Griffith Law School’s learning and teaching approach.”