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« on: December 18, 2004, 01:01:03 AM »

Christian College Defeats Oxford in Moot Court Competition

by Jim Brown
December 14, 2004

(AgapePress) - A small Christian college in Virginia, known for its outreach to home-schooled students, has defeated Oxford University in an international competition, arguing British law in a mock contract case.

A team of law students from Patrick Henry College won the weekend exhibition against England's University of Oxford in the American school's first international moot court competition. Two teams from Patrick Henry College (PHC) competed against two undergraduate teams from Balliol College, one of the 39 colleges that make up the premier British university and the official hosts of the competition.

Founded in 2000, PHC is a classical Christian liberal arts college dedicated to training men and women who will lead their nation and shape their culture according to timeless biblical values and American ideals. Patrick Henry students Matt du Mee and Rayel Papke were declared the winners of the moot court competition based on several criteria, including presentation, argumentation, and courtroom demeanor. Also competing for PHC were David Shaw and Kyle Pousson.

The mock legal cases argued in the tournament at Balliol College were conducted according to the precedent-based British legal system and the complex principles of British contract law, which the PHC teams had to learn prior to their trip. The final round of the tournament was judged by two law lords of Britain's highest court.

PHC president Mike Farris says the hard-earned victory over the Balliol teams is a meaningful triumph. "Just being able to be there and go head to head with them says that we're able to compete against the best in the world, even when the territory's a little bit strange to us," he points out. "We were there in a different country using a different legal system on a contract law issue. As undergraduates, we never study contract law -- we do constitutional law."

Farris commends PHC's teams for a win that he says was the result of a great deal of hard work and preparation. "The adaptability of the students, the ability to learn new material, really says good things," he notes. "We take nothing away from Oxford; it's obviously a high, high academic quality place, but we were able to compete, and on this occasion we competed successfully."

During their visit to England, the PHC students attended a formal dinner as guests of the Younger Society, an organization of past and present Balliol lawyers. Next spring, Oxford teams will visit the United States to compete with Patrick Henry again, this time arguing cases using American law.

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