Meredith Connell team reigns supreme among YRMLA mooters

Meredith Connell lawyers emerged victorious after months of intense preparation as Young RMLA finalists battled it out for the prized Judge Bollard Memorial Trophy at the Young RMLA’s 2015 Moot Competition.

A formidable two-woman team comprising Anna McConachy and Alice Balme from Meredith Connell, put forward a convincing performance against tough competition from Rowan Ashton (Stuart Ryan) and Alex Devine (Ellis Gould), during the Young RMLA Mooting Competition finals on Monday November 16, at the Auckland Environment Court.

Presiding over Monday night’s final, Judge Newhook noted that his had been a “difficult decision”. Both parties delivered a “flawless presentation of the facts”, with “persuasively developed arguments”. 

He remarked: “The standard of mooting this year was extremely high, and marking the two finalist teams on a competitive basis to arrive at a result was pleasurably difficult!”

While all contestants demonstrated “admirable composure under pressure”, Judge Newhook noted that Ms. McConachy and Mr. Ashton projected confidence and appeared comfortable in their courtroom surroundings.

Pitch, pace, volume and mannerisms are key to a compelling courtroom delivery. In this respect, Judge Newhook underscored the importance of juniors gaining exposure to the courtroom environment in order to cultivate the appropriate mannerisms and tone.

“I encourage employers to allow their younger professional staff to observe court practice by skilled seniors, and to steadily build their own involvement in the presentation in Court of parts of cases.  These are all means by which court-craft can be learned by young practitioners,” he stressed.

The Young RMLA Environment Court moot provides an excellent opportunity, both for participants to gain courtroom experience; and for senior practitioners sitting as Moot Judges to mentor young RMA lawyers. This year’s Moot challenge covered covered various scenarios including waivers for late appeals and late section 274 notices; strike out applications; applications for enforcement orders; and issues of scope. 

Seven participating teams vied for the prestigious title over a series of four mooting dates between 8 October to 16 November. The Moot Judges, all of whom are seasoned RMA practitioners, included Claire Kirman, Marija Batistich and James Hassall presiding over the first round; with Russell Bartlett QC and Derek Nolan presiding over the second round. 

Judge Newhook expressed his gratitude to those who lent their support to the event, the registry staff in particular, “for the huge effort they put into the organisation of the moots.” 

“I would like to encourage young practitioners and their employers to ensure participation of teams in the future”, he added.

The 2015 Young RMLA Mooting competition was an enormous success, attracting participants of a superb calibre.  This year’s participants included: 

  • Rowan Ashton (Stuart Ryan)
  • Alex Devine (Ellis Gould)
  • Rachel Ward (Brookfields)
  • Mianette Broekman (Brookfields)
  • Alice Balme (Meredith Connell)
  • Anna McConachy (Meredith Connell)
  • Heather Philip (BerrySimons)
  • Kate Mulcahy (BerrySimons)
  • Drew Stewart (Minter Ellison)
  • Luke Cutfield (Auckland Council)
  • Alex Godinet (Holland Beckett)
  • Dharmen Prasad (Holland Beckett)
  • Will Rutherford (Russell McVeagh)
  • George Willis (Russell McVeagh)


Winners:  Anna McConachy (Meredith Connell); Alice Balme (Meredith Connell).

Runners-up: Rowan Ashton (Stuart Ryan); Alex Devine (Ellis Gould).


For media enquiries, please contact:

Rikki Stancich

Communications and Sponsorship Manager

Tel – 022 369 9116 | E – rikki.stancich@rmla.org.nz

About RMLA

Founded in 1992, the Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) is a multi-disciplinary membership organisation Association with over 1100 members including lawyers, planners, environmental managers, scientists, engineers, architects, local authority and central government officers. The RMLA seeks to promote within New Zealand an understanding of resource management law and its implementation; excellence in resource management policy and practice; resource management processes which are legally sound, effective and efficient; and which produce high-quality environmental outcomes.