Rules

1. (i) Each law school may enter one team consisting of two students. The students may be undergraduates taking a law degree programme which includes the core law subjects or postgraduate students who are undertaking full-time legal research or a CPE, LPC, BPTC, BCL, masters courses in substantive law or Diploma in Law course. No student may take part in the competition on more than one occasion.

(ii) Each team will receive a copy of the Assessment Criteria.

2. (i) Each client interviewing session may last for a maximum of 40 minutes. The first 30 minutes are to be devoted to the interview with the client, during which time the team is expected to elicit the relevant information, outline the problem and make suggestions for its resolution.

(ii) During the 10 minute post interview period, the team should discuss the interview, within the hearing of the judges, using the opportunity to assess the interview and discuss future strategies for dealing with the client's problems.

It is up to each team to decide how they will share the work. Their work plan is subject to judging, however, and the team may wish to use part of this post interview reflection to explain their work plan.

The judges may question the team at the end of this period and may use anything learned in this period to assist them in their judging.

(iii) After all the teams have finished their sessions, the judges in each group shall privately consult in order to evaluate the teams. The client may at this time be invited to participate in the consultation, but his/her opinion should not be determinative.

Each team will be awarded marks according to the marking schedule.

3. (i) A panel of three judges will judge each group. Each panel of judges should consist of two lawyers, at least one of whom is a practitioner, and one person with a strong background in counselling.

(ii) The judges will receive a copy of the Assessment Criteria before the competition.

(iii) The judges and the teams will agree the starting time for the interview. The team will be responsible for its own timekeeping during the interview. The judges will indicate when the 40 minutes are up at which point the session must be terminated.

4. (i) In order to preserve anonymity each team will be identified to the judges only by a number or letter which will be given to each team at registration.

(ii) Teams that have conducted their interviews in a particular group will be segregated from those who have not yet participated.

(iii) Observers may watch any interviews but may not return to the area where teams that have not competed are waiting or in any other way communicate with a team that has not yet participated in that round.

(iv) Team members may not observe any interview until after they have conducted their own interview.

(v) No team may exclude observers.

(vi) All entrants agree to their interviews being videotaped and used in tapes produced by the Client Interviewing Competition.

5. Where the number of teams entering the competition is sufficient in any year, the executive committee may decide that regional qualifying rounds will be held.

6. (i) Each competition will have as its subject matter a specific area of law to be decided annually by the executive committee.

(ii) In the week prior to any round in the competition each team will receive a memorandum indicating the general nature of the client's problems in that round.

(iii) In the event of a tie in a regional qualifying round for a place in the finals, the following tie break formula will apply:

·         Each judge will rank each team against the teams they have seen. This is to be solely determined by the scores given. The placement ranking scores for each team will be added together. The lower scoring team is the winner.

(iv) If this does not resolve the tie, the following will apply:

·         The highest and lowest of the marks each team has been awarded will be deducted and the remaining marks recalculated. The higher scoring team is the winner.

(v) If this does not resolve the tie, there will be a play-off interview.

(vi) where regional qualifying rounds are held, there shall be right of appeal for law schools against decisions made by judges but on procedural grounds only. Any appeals must be made in writing within 7 days of the date of the decision and should be sent to the President of the Competition who will have sole discretion in investigating and judging on those appeals.

8. (i) While the discussion of fees plays an important part of any first consultation, such discussion should not take up too much time in the competition. A uniform fee schedule will, therefore, apply for the purposes of the competition. This schedule will apply for all contestants and will not be subject for discussion with the judges. Where the client is not eligible for legal aid, the client will be told that the initial interview will be billed at a standard rate.

(ii) Teams will be expected to be aware of the 10 mandatory principles of the SRA's Code of Conduct (October 2011). Their attention is particularly drawn to the "1st section: You and Your client" and the client care outcomes.

9. When regional qualifying rounds are held and the previous year’s winning law school hosts the competition finals, that law school shall automatically have one place in those finals and shall not have to take part in any regional qualifying round. In the normal course of events, it is expected that the winning law school from the previous year will be required to host the competition finals.

(i) In the event of a tie for first place in the competition finals, both teams will be joint winners of the competition. However, only one team can be selected as representatives for the international competition. To choose that team, the following tie breaker will apply:

·         Each judge will rank each team against the teams they have seen. This is to be solely determined by the scores given. The placement ranking scores for each team will be added together. The lower scoring team is the winner.

If this does not resolve the tie, the following will apply:

·         The highest and lowest of the marks each team has been awarded will be deducted and the remaining marks recalculated. The higher scoring team is the winner.

If this does not resolve the tie, there will be a play-off interview.