Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
The explosive Al Pacino scene in “And Justice For All” is definitely not what Dr Hilary Findlay, a professor in Brock’s Department of Sport Management, is trying to convey to her students. And based on this week’s experience in her innovative Sport Court experiential learning situation, they learned that winning a court case takes something much different than theatrics. It takes detailed preparation, careful weighing of the facts, and clear and logical argumentation. Dr Findlay, a practicing lawyer herself and a key player in Canada’s sport arbitration system, as she does each year, organized her Sport And The Law class into groups representing applicants and respondents. In these legal teams, they argued real-world sport arbitration cases in front of a tribunal of guest judges in a downtown St Catharines court setting.
And the students could not have had a better education in what happens when two parties, both believing they are right, have to step up to the plate and convince a tribunal to accept their point of view. The groups produced meticulously researched documents describing their versions of the facts and relevant case law, presented their oral arguments, answered tough questions from the tribunal judges, engaged in rebuttal to the opposing side’s arguments, and then heard the verdict in each case. The good news? Everybody won! Yes, there was a verdict rendered each time but whatever that verdict, the court room experience of each and every student was something they will not soon forget and from which they learned valuable lessons about due process and the value of research and argumentation. And no one was out of order at any time!