This week, we held our Client Interviewing Competition to select the team that would represent Essex Law School at the regional competition to be held next month at London South Bank University. The competition involved students working in a team of two in a simulated law office, where they interviewed and advised a ‘client’ (a role-playing actor). This year’s topic was damage to property (Civil Law), including nuisance, negligence and trespass but excludes Landlord and Tenant Law.
Students were faced with a client called Patricia who had been on holiday to New Zealand and upon her return home had discovered a crack in their garden wall. Upon inspection, this crack had been caused by Japanese knotweed.
Patricia had spoken to her neighbours to see whether they knew anything about the invasive weed. She discovered that there was a possibility that when the neighbours gifted her some of their rare rose, the soil may have contained traces of rhizomes from Japanese knotweed. This is because the neighbours had brought these rare roses from their previous home in Southampton, where Japanese knotweed was professionally removed. Despite the invasive weed being professionally removed, they were told that rhizomes could still remain in the soil. Patricia was unaware of this when she received the roses and would not have planted them if she had known the possible consequences.
In addition to Patricia being worried about the weed and the effect it was having on her beautiful garden, she was told that it may decrease the valuation of her property.
Patricia was seeking advice on the removal of the Japanese knotweed as soon as possible to prevent further damage to her garden and property, and whether the neighbours could be charged for the removal of this invasive weed from her garden.
This year the judges were Colin Moore, Liz Fisher-Frank and Cat Gentry from the School of Law, who judged the students based on the following criteria:
- Establishing an effective professional relationship
- Obtaining information
- Learning the client’s goals, expectations and needs
- Problem analysis
- Legal analysis and giving advice
- Developing reasoned courses of action
- Assisting the client to make an informed choice
- Effectively conducting the interview
- Ethical behaviour
- Post interview reflection
In third place was Zara Abbas and Sofia Gomes De Oliveira Gama, and in second place was Oluwatomi Koleowo and Taona Mwanysia. The overall winners of the competition were Sean Walkden and Arthur Sutton!
Well done to all our students who took part. The winners, Sean and Arthur, will be attending the regional competition on Saturday 15th February at London South Bank University!