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The Crown would like to call Mr. Harry Potter to the stand

Law students host literary moot fundraiser for John Howard Society
February 10, 2017
Professor Alice Woolley played Hogwarts professor Minerva McGonagall during the literary moot Feb. 7. Photos by Adrian Shellard, for the Faculty of Law

Professor Alice Woolley played Hogwarts professor Minerva McGonagall during the literary moot Feb. 7. Photos by Adrian Shellard, for the Faculty of Law

Curtis Wilson, a UCalgary political science student, took on the role of Harry Potter during the mock trial, which raised funds for the John Howard Society’s Literacy and Learning Program.

Curtis Wilson, a UCalgary political science student, took on the role of Harry Potter during the mock trial, which raised funds for the John Howard Society’s Literacy and Learning Program.

Law students from the University of Calgary hosted a literary moot on Feb. 7 at the Plaza Theatre to raise money for the John Howard Society’s Literacy and Learning Program. The mock trial was based on the beloved Harry Potter series, examining the legal issue of whether Hogwarts, the wizarding school, could be sued for injuries during the Triwizard Tournament — the Olympics-style sporting event that saw different magical schools competing to see who had the most courageous and talented student.

“We were so excited to team up with the John Howard Society,” says Jesse Standing, a second-year student at the Faculty of Law. “The organization is devoted to promoting positive change through humane, just, and informed responses to crime and its effects, something that many law students have a strong passion for. It was a really great fit for the event.”

Moots let students hone legal skills

A moot is a mock trial that law students participate in to hone essential legal research and advocacy skills. In a literary moot, the trial is based on a popular work of fiction, and instead of practising important legal skills, the goal is to entertain, inspire laughter, and, in this case, raise money for a good cause. The evening was a combination of courtroom drama, improv comedy, and a popular work of fiction.

Witnesses featured characters from the books

The event was run like a real trial with a judge, lawyers, witnesses and a jury. Witnesses included Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter, and other contestants of the Triwizard Tournament.

“It was fun to see our favourite Harry Potter characters questioned by practicing lawyers,” says Standing. “The lawyers were exceptionally witty and really got into character, and everyone in attendance had a lot of fun.”

Event raised more than $7,000

Through sponsorships from law firms and tickets sold, the event raised more than $7,000 for the John Howard Society.

“It’s so great to see the entire legal community come together in a fun atmosphere to raise money for such a great cause,” says Standing.

Special thanks to McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Dentons Canada LLP, Gowling WLG, Stikeman Elliott LLP, and  Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP for their support of the moot, and to Alice Woolley, John Regush, Jordan Jenkins, and Judge Sean Dunnigan for their participation.

About the John Howard Society

The John Howard Society’s Literacy and Learning Program is a free service that gives individuals who have been affected by poverty, and who have become involved in criminal activity, the opportunity to improve their literacy skills as a way to develop confidence, knowledge and employability. 

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