The Laskin aims to provide a unique opportunity for law students, judges, law professors and practitioners from across Canada to meet and debate problems of current importance in the law. Its goals are to foster a better and deeper understanding of the law and to support and encourage legal education and bilingualism while at the same time promoting in the legal community a spirit of cooperation and understanding that transcends linguistic and provincial boundaries.
The Laskin is administered by a committee of volunteer judges and lawyers, and is hosted by a different Canadian law school each year.
The hypothetical fact problem upon which the competition is based is written by a judge, a law professor or a practicing lawyer, or a panel of such persons, and concerns a subject of timely interest within the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Canada. The Official Problem is delivered to all participating schools in both English and French. Both versions are equally authoritative.
Each year, approximately 19 of Canada’s 23 law schools participate in the Laskin. Each school sends a team of four student mooters, who argue in pairs — two students representing the appellant, and two representing the respondent. At least one of the four students must argue the case (and write the corresponding portion of the factum) in English, and at least one must do the same in French. All judges assessing the factums are bilingual, and all judges in oral rounds are proficient in the language(s) being used in that round. Questions from the bench to a mooter are posed in the language being used by that mooter. Simultaneous interpretation is available upon request for any mooter who needs that service in order to understand the submissions of his/her opponents.
The Laskin begins with a mandatory general meeting on a Thursday evening. Oral rounds take place all day Friday and on Saturday morning. Each pair of mooters will participate in two matches, and in each match the mooters appear before a panel of three judges. On Saturday afternoon, two final rounds take place — one featuring the best appellant pair from the preliminary rounds against the second-best respondent pair, and the other featuring the second-best appellant pair against the best respondent pair. Both final rounds take place before the same panel of five judges. Those judges select the best and second-best pairs from the four, and the two winning pairs are recognized by awards presented at the final banquet on Saturday night. Other awards recognize the top four factum scores (combining a school’s appellant and respondent factums), the top four oralists, and the top four schools overall.
The Laskin also emphasizes social interaction among all participants, including students, coaches, judges and organizers. There is a hospitality suite open on all three evenings, as well as a reception on Friday evening.
Many students who participate in the Laskin describe the experience as the most rewarding of their law school education. Each year, more than 90% of participants answer in post-competition surveys that they would recommend the Laskin to students for next year.
If you have any questions about the Laskin, please contact us.