Victory for Queen’s University Belfast in LGBT+ moot featuring law student competitors in drag

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More RuPaul references than you can shake a stick at

Law students Oscar Davies and Sarah Jane-Ewart pictured with Baroness Featherstone. Image credit: Selina Swift

Four budding lawyers from Queen’s University Belfast have proved victorious in this year’s LSE-Featherstone Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Moot, which included advocacy from one City Law School bar student who competed in drag.

Up for debate at the London School of Economics-hosted moot was a scenario written by Robin White, of Old Square Chambers, concerning a transgender woman called Iona Smith in the early stages of her transition. She sought to bring a discrimination claim against her employer, a university, for not permitting her to use women’s changing facilities at a university swimming pool.

This problem is topical given recent debate surrounding Kenwood Ladies’ Pond in Hampstead Heath, which was the subject of a Mail Online story headlined: ‘Our swimming pond is NOT gender fluid’.

The winners. Image credit: Selina Swift

In previous years, the LSE-Featherstone competition has covered refugee law and the headline-grabbing gay cake (due to be heard in the Supreme Court next month). LGBT+ campaigner Baroness Lynne Featherstone, who gave a speech at the event, said:

“It is timely that this year’s moot focuses on transgender rights, particularly as we seem to be regressing with transgender equality rights, rather than moving forward.”

Fifty-eight teams registered to take part in the annual two-day LGBT+ moot, which was judged by academics, barristers and solicitors from the likes of Doughty Street Chambers, Matrix Chambers and Leigh Day. It was won by Queen’s University Belfast students Ross Johnston, Christopher Monaghan, Morgan Hickman and Shea Glasgow, who were coached by former competitor Matthew Yardley. Oliver Small, Lucy Lodewyke, Cara Mcdonald-Parry and Helena Spector, from City, University of London made it to the final.

The 2018 Chambers Most List

Sam Russell from BPP University won the prize for best advocate in the preliminary rounds. Sarah Jane-Ewart and Oscar Davies from City won the spirit of the competition award, we’re sure at least in part thanks to Davies’ decision to compete in drag.

Oscar Davies. Image credit: Selina Swift

Drag was certainly on the mind at this moot. Not least did the moot finish with a party featuring a performance by drag artist Kitty Monroe, its Twitter account is jam-packed with more RuPaul’s Drag Race references than you can shake a stick at:

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Truly inspiring and empowering


Inspiring despair for the future maybe.

Corbyn. Sympathiser.

Bugger off.


I’m not sure this will assist their careers, frankly. In fact, were it to harm their prospects they would have no one to blame but themselves.

Lawyers should be invisible; their very purpose is to be the coherent, legally conversant version of their clients. They are a mouthpiece, and should be no more and no less. The attention should not be on them, but their clients. It is their ability only that matters.

I could not care less if my lawyer were male, female or otherwise, or indeed whether they are straight, gay, black, white or any other shade of the rainbow. What I care about, and what clients care about, is that their lawyer understands their case, the applicable law and can present it persuasively. They don’t want the attention to be on their lawyer, they want it to be on the merits of their case.

This activity is, I am afraid, simply drawing attention to the lawyers. It is the essence of poor judgement.

Harvey Specter



I highly suspect that these students hope to pursue careers as claimant public law barristers or equality and discrimination barristers.

Sets which spring to mind: Doughty Street, Garden Court, Cloisters, Old Square etc.


You don’t care about your lawyers’ identity and yet you consider it ‘poor judgment’ for lawyers to drag up… Sounds like you do care a little bit then!


It’s not poor judgment to drag up. It’s poor judgment to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.


Is there a chance that some of the individuals involved in this competition may not have any horse in the metaphorical race of the relevant case? They may just he representing their fictitious client to the best of their advocational and legal ability and in so doing developing their skill sets going forward?

Or do I misunderstand, do you have an issue with any and all mooting competitions, not specifically this one? Ultimately, young, aspiring barristers need to be able to demonstrate their ability and justify ‘why them’ in the increasingly competitive and hostile race for pupillage and subsequent tenancy. How do we expect the next generation to prove to existing lawyers that they are the best advocates if we don’t give them an opportunity to practice and display this? Should we just infer any talent that have from the name of the university and the classification printed on their certificate?

Name optional

Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with feeling the need to dress up for a moot, I wholeheartedly disagree with the I sunation that a barrister is ‘a mouthpiece’ for a client.

Read up on your ethics, dear heart, or at least get qualified.


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The ‘Spirit of the Competition Award’ is the equivalent of a certificate of participation.

At least they received a total non-award for making an effort.


What i find most concerning is both the references to Ru-Paul who had been shown time and again to be a transphobe and the fact someone was rewarded purely for coming in drag. Whilst a number of drag queens do go onto transition to assume that it’s supportive or even appropriate in a case about trans rights is confusing to say the least and makes me question the person’s understanding of the difference between drag and trans. A lot of drag queens are trans but not all are and not all trans are interested in drag


I was a judge at this competition and saw some really excellent teams, well done everyone.

One thing Robin (a trans woman) pointed out is that it is fantastic to have proper rational debate around trans issues, where nothing is predetermined on either side. I think this is something the transphobes who often post on this site could do well to consider along with their hated imaginary “SJWs”. Everyone is served well by debating these issues frankly and openly and without emotions like hatred and fear clouding one’s judgment.


Imaginary sjws? Fam, you need to get out more. They’re an epidemic


Don’t worry, when you grow up and get a job you might also obtain a sense of perspective.


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what a load of bs


G’wan Queens.


Maybe I am old fashioned and the world has changed, but I personally find it a bit disgusting.


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I certainly wouldn’t want my grandson mixing with these types.


Not in the spirit of these things of course, but Sarah-Jane Ewart is really very attractive.


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I’m really curious if those guys still have a competitiveness compared to the other applicants in terms of the pure ability to become solicitors even they discard all the advantages as an LGBT.

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