On the evening of 12 October 2020, mooters took to the screens for the Grand Finals of the B.A. Mallal Moot. Due to the pandemic, this year’s moot was held online for the very first time since it started in 1964. The moot started off with an introduction by Professor Alan Tan who brought us through the history of this moot. Bashir Ahmad Mallal, who the moot is named after, was a person that was not trained in the law but he had helped a lot of people through establishing the Malayan Law journals which had the reports of Singapore cases before Singapore had its own law reports. To recognise his contributions to the legal profession, NUS conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and created the B.A. Mallal Moot Prize which is the oldest and most prestigious domestic moot in the institution.
The B.A. Mallal Moot is sponsored by Allen and Gledhill LLP. The bench for this year’s moot comprised of the esteemed Justice Ang Cheng Hock, Mr. Jason Chan, SC, and Professor Alan Tan. Before the moot began, the Deans from the 3 law schools – Professor Simon Chesterman (NUS), Professor Goh Yihan (SMU) and Professor Leslie Chew (SUSS) gave their short opening remarks. They commended the student organisers, participants and emphasised the importance of mooting experience in one’s legal education.
The first pair of mooters were Kyna Chew for the Appellant and Melvinder Singh for the Respondent. This year’s moot problem is about a doctor, who against his patient’s explicit instructions, informed him of the adverse results of a genetic test for Huntington’s Disease. The doctor did so because he had reason to think that the patient’s 17-yearold daughter might already be suffering from the condition. The patient now knew he had Huntington’s and this knowledge caused him to suffer psychiatric harm. The lower court found in favour of the doctor.
The first participant was Kyna for the appellant who exuded confidence consistently throughout her moot. From her opening statement to her main arguments, she was clear and concise and effectively laid out her arguments within the short 16 minutes allotted. During the judges’ questioning, her skills were put to the test, but her strength shone through in her firm response and ability to smoothly build on the judges’ responses to further advance her claims.
Moving on to the respondent, Melvinder kept a good pace and was clear in his submissions. He maintained his cool when he received various questions from the bench. Furthermore, his strategic choice of picking a few selected points which he could handle and defend well was noticed and commended by Justice Ang at the end of the moot.
The next pair soon followed after a short 5 minute break. Representing the appellant was Naomi Lim and for the Respondent, Kevin Tang. Both mooters demonstrated excellent oral skills and maintained a cool and calm approach when faced with the torrent of questions from the bench.
Beginning with a clear roadmap, Naomi delivered her points in a concise and understandable manner. She was also able to answer the questions posed by the bench precisely although the judges did question her for bringing in additional supporting documents that was not in her bundle of authorities. Nevertheless, she was able to overcome that hiccup and wrapped up her submissions well.
As for Kevin, he demonstrated passion for his client’s position and made good concessions to the points raised by the bench. Similar to the other mooters, he was able to maintain a firm stance and raised strong arguments in his client’s favour. Specifically, he was commended by the bench after the moot for having good time management as he had succinctly dealt with the first issue and had moved to the second issue with a bit more time to spare as compared to the other mooters.
The audience then waited in anticipation for the results as the judges went into a separate breakout room to deliberate. After giving their comments on each mooter’s performance, the results were announced: Kyna Chew and Melvinder Singh came in as second runner ups, Naomi Lim in second place, and Kevin Tang as the winner! Phoon Yi Hao received the Best Memorial Prize.
Before wrapping up the event, the bench shared a few last words. Justice Ang shared his experience mooting in the B.A. Mallals back in 1992 and commended all the participants for their time and effort spent preparing for the moot. Mr Jason Chan highlighted the importance of maintaining your cool on Zoom. With a virtual set-up, everything has been amplified – your expressions, whether you are reading off a script and irritation or nervousness peeking through the façade. Professor Alan Tan then brought us through the history of the moot. With that, a screenshot of the Zoom call was taken and the event came to an end as everyone cheerfully waved goodbye at their webcams.
Overall, the Mallals this year was undoubtedly different. No prize presentation, no dinner reception and no physical audience present. However, the event was nonetheless a success and a very unique experience for all involved. Congratulations to all the prize winners of the B.A. Mallal Moot 2020!