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Team Manitoba left to right: Julien Bédard, coach (Justice Canada), Bradley Légaré (3L), Brent Tichon (2L), Nadine Plourde (2L), and Alexander Bastin (2L) [Missing from the photo is researcher, Samantha Pearce (2L)]

Team Manitoba left to right: Julien Bédard, coach (Justice Canada), Bradley Légaré (3L), Brent Tichon (2L), Nadine Plourde (2L), and Alexander Bastin (2L) [Missing from the photo is researcher, Samantha Pearce (2L)]

Moot Report 2024: Manitoba Team proudly represents at Bastarache Moot

Recognition as 4th best mooter in French-Language Moot

April 1, 2024 — 

The Bastarache Moot was recently held at the University of Ottawa from March 22 to March 24, 2024. This French-language moot recognizing the Honourable Michel Bastarache, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, has been held annually since 2019.

This year’s moot related to an appeal of a recent decision of the Quebec Superior Court regarding section 23 of the Charter (minority language educational rights). The participating teams came from across Canada – the University of Calgary, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Manitoba, the University of Ottawa (Common Law Section), McGill University, and l’Université de Moncton.

The University of Manitoba team consisted of Alexander Bastin (2L), Bradley Légaré (3L), Nadine Plourde (2L), Brent Tichon (2L) and researcher Samantha Pearce (2L). The team was coached by Julien Bédard of Justice Canada and Richard Goulet of Manitoba Hydro.

Brent Tichon (2L) was recognized as the 4th best mooter for his oral arguments during the competition (4e meilleur plaideur). Tichon was very positive about his experience at the Bastarache Moot, commenting: “I had a wonderful time at Bastarache. It was challenging but very rewarding to write a factum in my second language and then orally present it before lawyers and judges. My French has improved dramatically, and I was even lucky enough to win the prize for the 4th best mooter.”

Coach Julien Bédard who provided significant mentorship and support and travelled to Ottawa with the team observed, “The U of M team’s hard work paid off. Chief Justice Rivoalen was impressed by their factums and by their performance during the final practice, and their performance only got better at the competition in Ottawa, handling difficult legal questions with poise and confidence, all of it in their second language! I’m proud of them. The moot itself was a fantastic experience. There was a lot of camaraderie between the teams.”

The students from the University of Manitoba who participated in the Bastarache Moot are all students in the Faculty of Law’s Access to Justice in French Concentration, where students complete at least 26 credits of bilingual law courses. The University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law has for the past decade offered students the opportunity to pursue part of their legal education in French. Beginning in the Fall of 2022, the Faculty of Law introduced the Access to Justice in French Concentration thanks to generous support from Justice Canada’s Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Fund.

The students emphasized the wonderful learning experience that they had in preparing and participating in the Bastarache Moot. Nadine Plourde (2L) stated:

“I don’t know that I’ve had a more effective or more rapid improvement in my abilities to communicate in French and specifically in legal French in any other instance while at law school. The Bastarache Moot and our coach, Julien Bédard’s personal feedback and coaching has had a massive impact on my confidence in my abilities and communication skills.”

The Bastarache Moot was hands down the highlight of my experience in law school so far. Having an opportunity to compete in a moot entirely in French massively improved my language skills, and arguing in my second language has boosted my own confidence in both English and French.

 – Alexander Bastin (2L)

Alexander Bastin further commented, “The lessons I have learned as a result of participating in Bastarache have made me a better student, and I am certain that they will contribute to my success as a professional. I encourage any law student — no matter how nervous you are — to try out for Bastarache next year: if you receive even a fraction of the benefits that I did, you will be forever grateful for the experience.”

Samantha Pearce (2L), who provided important contributions as the team’s researcher, stated, “Researching for the Bastarache Moot was a wonderful experience. Even though I wasn’t a mooter, I feel as though my reading comprehension and oral comprehension in French have improved greatly. I’m so proud of my classmates and all of their hard work!”

I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to participate in the Bastarache Moot not only because it was another chance to learn and prove that I can be an effective French advocate, but also because I got the opportunity to represent the Franco-Manitoban community in a mock appeal that touched on a subject that is important to me. For me, the best part of the Bastarache Moot was the opportunity to be immersed in a totally French environment composed of people from communities similar to our own.

 – Bradley Légaré (3L)

Andrea Doyle, who was the faculty advisor for this moot and is the Coordinator of the Access to Justice in French Concentration, emphasized the importance of teamwork to successfully participate in a moot. She noted, “All of the students, whether a mooter or a researcher, worked very well together supporting each other. The team received invaluable support from their coaches, Julien Bédard and Richard Goulet, as well as members of l’Association des juristes d’expression française du Manitoba (AJEFM), including judges and lawyers who volunteered their time to provide helpful feedback to the team during their practices.”

Bradley Légaré (3L) expressed his appreciation to the team’s coaches, commenting, “I would like to thank my coaches for their patience and hard work to help us improve. Without people from the community like them, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate in these events and I wouldn’t have been able to keep my connection to the Franco-Manitoban community. Julien et Richard, gros merci pour tout votre travail et votre soutien. Je me sens vraiment chanceux d’avoir été enseigné par vous et j’espère pouvoir avoir le même impact positif sur un futur participant. Vous m’avez tous deux aidé à me sentir confiant dans mon avenir en tant qu’avocat et c’est la meilleure chose que j’aurais pu apprendre.”

In concluding his remarks about the Bastarache Moot, Brent Tichon (2L) stated, “Most of all, it was a wonderful experience to get to work with our amazing Manitoba team and our very supportive mentor, and the chance to meet the students from the other schools. This has been the highlight of my law school education, and I can’t recommend it enough.”

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