On March 3 and 4, 2023, a massive endeavor was undertaken to run the first exclusive Tort Appellate Moot of its kind in the province of Ontario. This was a joint venture with the organizing Executive of the Tort Moot, members of the OBA Insurance Law Section Executive, and countless other volunteers, who worked tirelessly to virtually conduct and assist in the adjudication of an appeal of a highly interesting and controversial matter involving whether a duty of care exists for an unborn child in Florence v. Benzaquen, 2021 ONCA 523. This Moot ran completely virtually, with five separate law schools in Ontario participating: UOttawa, Lakehead, Osgoode, Toronto Metropolitan University, and Windsor. Each law school sent two teams to compete.
Commentary from the student teams was that the litigation experience, “felt so real." This was not surprising, because that was the very objective from the organizers all along. From the reading of the opening of the court address to the training of the registrars placed to provide the teams with an authentic court experience, each team was guaranteed to litigate their appeal before real judges of Ontario’s courts and highly experienced expert practitioners in the relevant area of law, in a procedurally-accurate simulated virtual courtroom environment.
Ten (10) judges from the Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice donated their time and wisdom for the furtherance of the profession while acting as adjudicators. Eighteen (18+) senior lawyers and specialists from the area of Tort Law and Civil Litigation participated as guest judges. In addition, members of the OBA Insurance Law Section Executive acted as coaches, practice judges, organizers, registrars and volunteers. There were also other students-at-law and junior lawyers from various reputable firms who acted as registrars, timers and courtroom CSOs for the operation of this moot.