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“Constitutional Law and Litigation” Moot Court Teaching
Last Modified:  2013-05-31 16:25:26
On April 25th, 2013, the moot court commenced at 13:30 sharp at E204, serving as Prof. Zheng Yongliu’s teaching methodology for grade 2012 students’ “constitutional law and litigation” course. The persons who attended and participated therein included: Prof. Zheng Yongliu the keynote speaker, Dr. Yu Fei the teaching assistance and all students enrolled in this course.

Members of the moot court were played by students, including a presiding judge, two judges, a clerk, the plaintiff and the defendant, as well as their lawyers. Because it was held in the classroom for the specific purpose of moot court, the adoption of such place added solemnity to the trial.

The case of this moot court was the first case of age discrimination in civil servant recruitment which took place in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The plaintiff Liu Jiahai exceeded the age of 35, the upper age limit prescribed in the general regulation of Guangxi’s civil servant entrance examination, which rejected him in the recruiting unit’s review. He was unconvinced by the administrative act by the Autonomous Region’s personnel department and thus filed the lawsuit. The case involved the right to equality with regards to the protection citizens receive from the Constitution. Due to the lack of constitutional litigation in this country, the moot court introduced judicial review as a response thereto.

The moot court was mostly in compliance with formal trial procedure. After the clerk had read the court rules, the presiding judge declared the trial commenced, verified the identities of the two parties’, and read to them their rights and obligations. Next, the plaintiff read the complaint, which was followed by a brief reply from the defendant. And then the procedure arrived at the debating session, where each party launched its own opinion and reasoning, and where the lawyers engaged in heated argument. Finally, the agents of both parties delivered their closing statements. Afterwards, the presiding judge announced a ten-minute adjournment. In the reopened session, the presiding judge read out the decision that ruled that the general regulation according to which the recruitment was conducted was incompatible with the Constitution, thus null and void, and the administrative act that was based upon this regulation was to be revoked. With this the trial was concluded.

When the trial was closed, Prof. Yu Fei made a comment, affirming the effort made by all students who had participated in this moot court. To draw more students into this form of teaching, the moot court also provided a Q&A session for students to raise their questions to both parties, the plaintiff and defendant’s, about the application of law and jurisprudence. Many of the questions brought by the students had unique footings and were thus thought provoking; the issues fanned heated argument, which not only opened up thinking, but also brought students to a better understanding of jurisprudence. After the moot court was finished, Prof. Zheng Yongliu offered his comment and critique, affirming adopting moot court as teaching method while pinpointing the deficiencies showed through this maneuver.

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Group photo of the moot court members

The conduction of this moot court guided us to a deeper awareness that legal education was more than the passing of knowledge and academic cultivation, for it was more of a professional training. It is believed that such a way of teaching would also give us an edge in strengthening our belief in law, deepening understanding of legal theory, and improving attainment in law.

SHEN Chen, grade 2012, CESL
English transaltion by LIN Xi, grade 2012, CESL