The Wilson Moot was founded in 1992 and cared for throughout the years by Melanie Aitken, the former Commissioner of Competition for Canada. It was conceived to honour the outstanding contribution to Canadian law made by the late Honourable Bertha Wilson and, in the spirit of this contribution, to promote justice for those disempowered within the legal system. The goal of The Wilson Moot is to explore legal issues concerning women and minorities, and thereby promote the education of students and the legal profession in these areas of pressing concern. It is the hope that such a moot constitutes an appropriate tribute to an esteemed jurist and addresses issues not otherwise raised in the traditional mooting curriculum.
Among the topics chosen for past Wilson Moots are the Charter implications of the taxation scheme for child support payments, freedom of religion in the context of state-funded education, a challenge to the anti-terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code and the Crown's obligation to provide programming to ameliorate the effects of a disability with respect to a specific group and a provision of the Alberta Human Rights Act that allows parents to opt their children out of sexual education classes. Last year’s problem focused on issues concerning the adoption of aboriginal children by non-aboriginal parents and the protection of the rights of aboriginal parents and children in private adoptions.
Every year, around 80 judges, lawyers and law students generously volunteer their time and make it a success year after year.
Where and When Does The Wilson Moot Take Place
The Wilson Moot takes place each year on a Friday and Saturday in late February at the Federal Court facility in Toronto. Several rounds take place each day with three judges on each panel. The final moot between the two top teams is held before a panel of judges on the Saturday afternoon with the winner announced at a dinner on Saturday evening.