High schoolers put debating to test in court

06 September 2021

CQUniversity's School of Business and Law has held a law debating competition in the Supreme Court at Rockhampton.

Four high schools from across the region participated in the competition including the Cathedral College' Heights College' Rockhampton Grammar School and Emmaus College.

CQU Head of Law Lance Rundle said the Cathedral College debated against Heights College on the 2021 reforms of the Youth Justices Act' while the Rockhampton Grammar School debated against Emmaus College on the role of the jury in criminal law trials.

"Students from the four schools were mentored by legal practitioners from Rockhampton who helped the students with research and debating skills'" Rundle said.

"The competition was adjudicated by Judge Clarke of the District Court' Magistrate Beckinsale of the Magistrates Court and myself."

The Cathedral College and Emmaus College won their respective rounds' whilst Emmaus College won the overall competition.

"In partnership with the Central Queensland Law Association' the School of Business and Law provided students with participation medals' prizes including book vouchers for the CQUni bookstore and trophies.

"The calibre of the students from all four schools was of very high quality in terms of knowledge' presentation' and persuasiveness of legal argument. The adjudicators noted there was very little difference between the schools impressive debating skills which made it difficult to pick the overall winning school."

Rundle and Paula Phelan' solicitor from the Central Queensland Law Association have organised the debating competitions in Rockhampton for some years now' in a bid to give local high school students the opportunity to work with solicitors who can mentor them to develop their research and advocacy skills.

"And to give students the chance to stand up in a real-life courtroom before members of the judiciary and debate."