LGBT moot: BPP Law School snatches victory from 2016 winners Oxford University

The competition was judged by some of the country’s leading human rights specialists

L-R: Sarah-Jane Ewart who won the Coram Chambers Special Prize for Advocacy; Holly Symonds, Andrew Brown and Donnchadh Greene (BPP); Baroness Featherstone; Elle Tait, Tom Lowenthal and Surabhi Shukla (Oxford)

Students on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at BPP Law School have won this year’s LSE-Featherstone LGBT+ moot.

The annual event saw BPP-ers Holly Symonds, Andrew Brown and Donnchadh Greene see off over 100 other students in the oral rounds of the competition and go on to defeat last year’s winners Oxford University in the final showdown. It was BPP and Oxford students who both made it to the final last year too, but on that occasion it was a team of Oxford post-grads which took the coveted crown.

This year’s moot focused on the legal issues surrounding gay asylum. The two teams battled it out courtroom-style both for the appellant, a gay man fearing his life is in danger if he’s sent back home, and the respondent, the Home Secretary. The moot highlighted the struggles sometimes faced by gay men and women applying for UK asylum, such as being asked personal questions about their sex lives. These injustices were explored at length by Oxford Brookes University graduate Jacky Cheng in a recent Legal Cheek Journal article.

Who better to judge a moot on this topic than some of the country’s leading barristers, lecturers and solicitors? These included QCs Brie Stevens-Hoare (Hardwicke) and Ben Jaffey (Blackstone). The moot’s closing party was hosted by drag artist Kitty Monroe.

One barrister and judging panellist, No5 Chambers’ S Chelvan, said:

Both teams displayed high quality research and preparation, strong advocacy skills, including the ability to address difficult questions from the mock bench. The BPP Law School team were unanimously held to be the overall winners, evidencing the added skills of flair and compassion, for one of the most vulnerable groups in our LGBT+ community, those seeking asylum.

It’s been an interesting year for LGBT law, and this was reflected in a range of workshops and talks that took place at the moot. One such was a workshop on sexual orientation discrimination and religious freedom, given by Sarah Crowther. Outer Temple barrister Crowther notably represented Ashers Bakery in the gay cake case, which was sparked after the cake-making business refused to design and sell a cake promoting gay marriage.

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Snide Prick

BPP? What a bunch of intelectually challenged apes. Oxford were probably too busy accepting their pupilages and MC TC’s to give a fuck HAHAHAH


The students from BPP were doing the BPTC, who knows (/who cares) where they went for undergrad. Also, grow up.


The Chambers and Law firms sure as hell will care when they have a disgusting non russell group on their CV.


They’ll care just as much knowing you handed a Russel group’s university ass to them in a moot.

Snide Prick

In a shitty little competetion? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAH.


They’re BPTC students. Read, comprehend and then engage brain.

Interesting to see another moot at which BPTC students beat undergraduates. The common link, being judged by members of the Bar not Law faculty.

Undergraduate mooting usually is usually taught by faculty who have great legal knowledge but no court experience. The ‘advocacy’ is usually terrible though the legal knowledge displayed is pretty good.


Actually the Oxford team in the final this year were all postgraduate students, so they weren’t undergraduates. One was actually doing a DPhil.


I used undergrad to distinguish between having had some formal advocacy training and not.

Much as we all crap on about the BPTC, it does change the style of your advocacy from reading out an essay to something more akin to what you seen in court.


Why is there a separate LGBT moot? Nothing against these guy, but why does absolutely everything these days have to evolve around identity and sexuality?

Pepe the Frog

Virtue signalling concern for the oppressed attention seekers of the LGBTBBQ spectrum is the past time par excellence of (very straight, very CIS) white middle class professionals


It’s to explore legal issues associated with sexuality. What’s wrong with that?


I think you may be confused, you don’t have to be LGBT to enter. It is a moot about a particularly interesting area of law…


This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Qadbury's Fruit and Nut Case

The post you cannot see has been removed because it breached LC’s vegetable , fruit and but policy


Surprised nobody has yet commented on the glaring typo in the title.


“The moot highlighted the struggles sometimes faced by gay men and women applying for UK asylum, such as being asked personal questions about their sex lives.”

*The majority, if not all.

Qabdury's Fruit and Nut Case

He who asserts must prove. So those who claim asylum on the ground of gayness must prove
1. They are gay (or are accused of the same)
2. They are being persecuted for being gay.
“I’m gay. Give me asylum” is often used as a magic words by economic migrants who like Ali Baba feel that Open Sesame is enough and so become outraged when asked to evince their gayness.


OK, pal, then how do you propose to distinguish between the genuine ones and the fakers who regard telling the authorities here that they’re gay as a golden ticket to asylum?


This was *literally* the moot problem.

Do: ask questions about identity – how an applicant grew to feel ‘different’, felt stigmatised or ashamed in their county of origin, and experienced harm.

Don’t: employ crude stereotypes and just ask sexually explicit ‘bedroom’ questions.

Lawrence Power

No, what he describes is how the immigration system operates. Nigeria must have more gay men per head than any other, based on the UK asylum claims

Freshfields Trainee

Agree with this. So many immigrants use the gay excuse to stay in London and live in million pound council houses in central London while poor trainees work their socks off and pay their taxes!!!


That is actually true. I am sick to death of having to give a huge portion of my earnings towards “welfare”. This is just incredibly unfair to people who are actually hard working and ambitious. The whole welfare state, along with the precious NHS, will fail HARD as both are simply unsustainable.

Qabdurees Fruit and Nut Case

And cry “Homophobe”!
As a back up magic word in an increasingly desperate and abusive struggle to avoid providing any evidence for their claim

Fashion Victim who loves LC for its razzle and dazzle celebrity hot gossip

Stop talking about law already, nut case. This site is about gossip , fashion and celebrity whoopsies.


In the late sixties we had a PDQ+ moot that was more or less the same thing…


This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.


You were quite right to remove it.

In the 60s it was spelt differently, so allow me to correct it.

“Pooves, Dykes and Queens”.

We were a little less PC in the 60s


It would be better if suggesting that x was a homophobe because they asserted that economic migrants lie about being homosexual to falsely claim asylum was only a makeweight point against x . It should be the final line of a litany of chronological homophobic slurs which x has made.

Unfortunately, the lack of intellectual rigour that pervades in a society racing to the bottom is that x’s plausible suggestion is the only evidence of x’s alleged homophobic prejudice up until that point. Yet this will not stop the slur against x being made.

I think one of the problems is, on our shallow demographic led democracy, there are votes (UKIP and some Tory on the lying economic migrant side – Labour and the Liberal Democrats on the homophobe side) and release of budget in one’s favour for taking either point of view.

In lawyer terms, we often get misled by our clients during our career. Against that backdrop a number of people in an economy lie to try to secure themselves a better position. Asylum seekers are not immune to the prevailing economic and social forces which may persuade a person to lie.


Interestingly, the biography of Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors, mentions that one of the band – no names on here – pretended to an army psychiatrist that he was developing homosexual tendencies in order to seek a discharge. He got the discharge and he and his girlfriend then went full tilt at getting Jim Morrison into shape to front the band.

I don’t think this musician roped a lawyer into the army proceedings, but it would have been easy for the lawyer to have been his mouthpiece, I suspect.

Kadbury's fruit and butt case

How does one test for gayness? This is the problem
It is not for the Home Office to prove the assertion with crude techniques like providing a rent boy at interview and challenging the gay to perform.
It is for the gay to provide evidence to support his claim.
Same for any claim. Why should gays be exempt?


So, given a significant proportion of the world’s nations persecute gay people, are we morally obliged to take them all?



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Qwadwuraby's Fruit and Nut Case

Are we legally obliged to accept all the persecuted gays of the world?
The common sense answer has to no, however it is arguable at law that we are.
In order to answer this one would need to examine what the drafters of the UN convention as to the status of refugees 1951, had in mind. As homosexuality was almost universally criminalised, or classed as a mental illness at that time, it is clear, homosexuals would have had a much higher bar to jump than they have today. So prosecution would not count as persecution, neither would incarceration in a lunatic asylum. Incarceration in extermination camps, or being subject to forced medical experiments etc would have met the criteria for persecution.
See Afou Daraz and El Ali v SSHD (UN intervening) circa 2003 CA for the construction of the convention using the travails preparateux.
So the short answer is we are still not obliged to grant asylum to every persecuted homosexual in the world. Daraz and El Ali were not gay BTW, but mutatis mutandis.

I do apologise sincerely to LC for posting some law. I trust you shall delete it when you arise.

Qwaddlebury's Fruit and Nut Case

Travaux préparatoires. Excusé moi


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