Coming soon to a court near you…

After many, many hours of prep, making the MSC our second home, and fielding practice questions from every direction, Moot Court is finally over.We argued a major beach access case from the State of Maine, which reached the State Supreme Court, Bell v. Town of Wells. We divided into two teams with the Town & State Government on one side, and the property owners on the other side.

I was surprised by how complex the case was; a huge component of this was trying to decide what the worth of the public’s right to enjoy the inter-tidal lands by the water, versus the right of a private property owner to keep others off their property. It was difficult to have to argue one side because both perspectives had their own merits. I ended up in “court” representing the land owners.

It was fun to see everything we’d been learning in Marine Policy up to this point come together, and act out a real life application of all the issues we’ve been discussing. I felt nervous representing the landowners, because I could completely understand where the townspeople were coming from, but that’s what makes these issues so exciting; they can easily go one way or the other, when faced with the facts and emotions at stake. By the end of court prep, I found my sympathies with the landowners! It amazed me how easily you might change your mind when you just give the other side a chance.

I loved watching my peers argue their cases, butting heads with each other, and at times, the judge (looking at you, Katy Hall!). But at the end of the day, we were relieved to throw off our suits and not worry if our roommate eavesdropped on the arguments we were practicing.

So, who won? The landowners reigned victorious once again…but there’s a chance to reclaim a victory for the town/state, F’15!

S15 Moot Court

Author: williamsmystic

A one semester interdisciplinary ocean and coastal studies program integrating marine science, maritime history, environmental policy, and literature of the sea.

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