A legal argument is rarely if ever short, but a couple of Thompson Rivers University law students will argue their case in 140 characters or less during a Twitter moot next month.
The World's 2nd Twitter Moot brings the time-honoured tradition of the moot court — otherwise known as a mock trial — into the online era Nov. 20.
James Michi and Chris Albinati, second year law students at TRU, will represent their fledgling faculty against established law schools like the University of Alberta, York University, University of Ottawa, and Dalhousie University.
"This is a novel, fun sort of moot in that happens over Twitter," said Michi, referring to the popular social media platform. "It starts at an official time, the judges start asking us questions, and we have to respond in 140 characters."
Five teams take part at once. One team takes on the plaintiff's role, another the defendant, and the remaining three teams represent interveners.
The non-profit group West Coast Environmental Law — which provides communities, governments and organizations with free legal advice, advocacy and research — hosted the first moot in February and will do so again next month.
Andrew Gage of West Coast Environmental Law said the moot is an attempt to draw more attention to the importance of environmental law without being boring or preachy.
The topic on Nov. 20 is whether Canadians have a right to a healthy atmosphere, he said. The event begins at 10 a.m. PST.
York won the first Twitter moot in February. Michi said TRU missed the sign-up deadline, but he followed along using the hashtag #twtmoot and thought the event was fun and informative.
The victor gets $500 and bragging rights. He thinks it will be great if a new law school like TRU wins the second moot.
"We want to win," said Michi.
Judges for the Twitter Moot are noted Internet lawyer, Michael Geist (@mgeist), U.K. Barrister and author, Polly Higgins (@pollyhiggins), and Ryerson Journalism Professor Lisa Taylor (@listen2lisa).