Our Child Rights moot court experience



‘Twas a warm Thursday morning when the actual competition began. The previous day, we had  been briefed on some formalities and even met some of our judges in advance. The preliminary rounds went smoothly, until our final round with a children’s rights specialist, who we shall call Ms Paris for purposes of this article. She brought legitimate concerns to the table, concerns that we had not considered (to say the least). Our session with Ms Paris may not have yielded much in terms of marks, but she did open our minds to concerns that we needed to be aware of for our future sessions. Before we let you in on the rest of the story, let’s go back to the beginning and background of the moot competition. 

The Call

The first ever Model African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (MACERWC) Moot Competition was held between 2nd and 16th of June, 2023and was organised by Kabarak Law School in collaboration with Save the Children. The overarching theme of the competition was ‘Child Protection In The Digital Era’. 

Similar to most moot competitions, the first stage was to prepare written submissions. However, unlike other moots, the MACERWC required the teams to prepare a report following the guidelines of a hypothetical investigation to be carried out by the organising committee. Each registered team was to prepare a report for each side, that is, the State and the Civil Society Organisation ‘Taarifa Watoto’.

On the day of submission, we reviewed and polished our writing, fixed our formatting and sent the reports out. Dozens of prayers and Hail Marys followed the period after the submission. We were ecstatic to find out that our team had proceeded to the preliminary rounds with our report taking position eight out of all submissions.

The Journey

Preparing for a moot competition is no small feat. It requires dedication, perseverance, and a strong commitment to excellence. Behind every successful moot team lies a tale of late-night practice sessions, demanding coaching, expert guidance, and valuable peer-to-peer collaborations.

The foundation of a strong moot case lies in thorough research. Hours spent poring over legal precedents, statutes, and academic journals equip us with the knowledge necessary to construct robust arguments and competitive presentations

We strived to go beyond surface-level arguments and embrace meta-thinking. By consciously reflecting on our thoughts, we were able to identify biases, assumptions, and blind spots that may influence our reasoning. 

Our main coach, Elvis Cosmos, relied on a very uncompromising approach, pushing us beyond our limits. This was the crucible where our arguments were dissected, weaknesses exposed, and skills sharpened. With each critique, we improved our legal reasoning, refined our oral advocacy, and developed the ability to withstand intense scrutiny. 

As the moot competition drew closer, our team knew that hours of practice were essential. Late-night sessions became the norm, where we poured over case materials, drafted arguments, and simulated courtroom scenarios. With caffeine-fueled determination, we analysed every aspect of our case, honing our legal arguments and perfecting our presentation skills. These gruelling practice sessions built our confidence and resilience, preparing us for the rigorous challenges ahead.

Seeking guidance from experienced practitioners and legal experts also played a crucial role in our preparation. Through mentoring sessions and consultations, primarily with Dr. Mathenge Thogori, we gained invaluable insights into the nuances of the law. She provided us with a broader perspective, helping us craft persuasive arguments and address potential counterarguments effectively. Their guidance transformed our legal knowledge into a formidable weapon in the moot competition arena, or so we thought.

Collaboration within the team was another vital aspect of our preparation. We engaged in mock trials, challenging each other’s reasoning, and highlighting weaknesses that needed to be addressed. These sessions fostered a supportive environment where we could learn from one another’s strengths and offer constructive feedback. Through these interactions, we grew as individuals and forged a cohesive team ready to face any challenge.

The journey may be arduous, but the rewards are immeasurable—developing confidence, legal acumen, and lifelong friendships alongside the awards (which were awesome!). As we step into the moot competition arena, we are armed with the knowledge that our intensive preparation has prepared us for success.

The Actual Competition 

On Friday night, we received our results after a long wait. By all odds (Ms Paris included), we were the top team in the preliminary rounds with an impressive margin! We were excited to wake up the next day for our quarter finals. Our first round was very fast paced and our judges were quite tough. Later that day, we received the results that we had proceeded, but by a rather small margin. We had barely made it to the next stage….

Needless to say, we were concerned and determined to do better for our semifinals the next week. We constantly left school late after long practices, we woke up early for personal preparation, we put in all that we had before the semifinals on Friday the 16th of June. 

After we emerged the top team in the semifinal rounds, we were determined to bring the gold back home. The final competition was one long, strenuous and humbling hour. Neck to neck with Kabarak University Law School, we did our absolute best. The 1st runners up trophy therefore came with a bit of disappointment, but even in that moment we knew that our experience was something that could not be represented by a mere trophy. It was something much much more real and long lasting. 

We began this journey as amateurs, and we now finish it as slightly more knowledgeable amateurs. Now, we set our sights on instituting a Wakili wa Watoto Club in Strathmore to continue to apply all that we have learnt and truly impact our society. What a nice way to put into practice all that you learn in class! To fellow students of law, whenever possible, take part in a moot court competition. To everyone out there, try to watch a moot court competition at least once in your lifetime. You will love it! 


This article was written by Barongo Teya, Johny Kitheka, and Sheena Kuchio.

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu


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