The third annual Australia and New Zealand Air Law Moot (ANZALM) competition took place on September 3 and 4 in Auckland, hosted by the University of Auckland. The event was an immense success. A record number of teams participated in this year’s competition. The 6 teams were Auckland University of Technology, University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, University of Otago, University of Queensland, and the University of Waikato.

The moot problem involved a hypothetical scenario concerning the legality of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in international airspace, and the subsequent interception and destruction of a remotely piloted civilian aircraft on an international flight, that had allegedly breached the zone.

After each team engaged in three preliminary moots before distinguished judges, with the University of Auckland and the University of Queensland proceeding to the Grand Final, which was held at the High Court of New Zealand in Auckland.

The Grand Final Bench consisted of the His Honour Rt Hon. Sir Edmund Thomas (former Judge of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand and the Supreme Court of New Zealand), Mr John Blair (General Counsel of Air New Zealand) and Associate Professor Treasa Dunworth from the University of Auckland. After a nail-biting final, the University of Auckland won the overall team title. The University of Queensland team also won best applicant memorial, a prize it shared with the University of Otago.  Otago also won best applicant and respondent memorials. The University of Otago’s Ms Olivia Klinkum won the prize for Best Oralist in the general rounds.

This year’s ANZALM events also included a pre-moot seminar program designed to give attendees a feel for the variety of, and relevance of, air and space law in practise. This opportunity provided a rare chance for students to ask questions about all aspects of practise in these fields. It was also an opportunity for students to understand more about post graduate and practical educational opportunities. Steven Freeland from Western Sydney University, Chris Bowden and Marion Hiriart from Air New Zealand, Joseph Wheeler from IALPG, and Kim Murray from Lambton Chambers all volunteered their time to share their experiences.

This year’s ANZALM could not have been made possible without the generous support of the International Aerospace Law and Policy Group, Australian Federation of Air Pilots, Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, Australian Certified UAV Operators, McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law, and 2016’s gracious host, the University of Auckland.

Plans are already underway for 2017’s ANZALM, and it promises to be even bigger and better yet.  Watch this space for the announcement of the location!

This report was prepared by Matthew Tsai, University of Queensland.