Volume 4, Issue 10, (Originally Published on 7 October 2013)
Two MLS teams competed at the La Trobe University National Environmen¬tal Law Moot in late last month to re¬sounding success, with both teams mak¬ing it to the semi finals, and culminating in Nick Kotzman, Dale Straughan and Matt Psycharis winning the Grand Final by a comfortable margin. Psycharis also took best oralist.
Twenty-four teams competed overall, comprising universities from all over Australia. The MLS semi-finalists were Matt Pierri, Holly Watson-Reeves and Louis Andrews.
Of particular note is that all MLS entrants this year were first years, not having studied administrative or environmental law. Their successful performances demonstrated both teams’ hard work over the preceding weeks.
The moot took the style of a single-problem competition, relating to ministerial approval (at federal and Queensland state level) of a proposed Coal Seam Gas mining operation.
The claimants were an organisation of locals, and the respondents were the two ministers and the CSG mining company.
Accordingly, the moot was based around the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Cth) and Environmental Protection Act (Qld). Throughout the competition, teams would represent both sides.
MLS winning team advocated for the claimants in the final round, and best oralist Matt Psycharis had this to say: “It was nice to end the competition rep¬resenting the good guys, and in the end the injunction was granted”. Another memorable quip came from semi-finalist Andrews: “Ultimately, the real winner is the Kroombit tinkerfrog”.
Most rounds were judged by barris¬ters, judges’ associates or academics. The Grand Final was held in the Federal Court in Melbourne and was judged by Chief Justice Preston of the Land and Environment Court of NSW, Justice Marshall of the Federal Court and Environment Defenders Office principal solicitor Felicity Milner.
The judges were not without humour, with Justice Marshall quipping:
“So are we just to believe the politician? No less, a politician from Queensland?”
Photo saved under *MLS WINNERS DALE STRAUGHEN, NICHOLAS KOTZMAN AND MATTHEW PSYCHARIS