The Witness Examination Competition

Proud sponsors of WitEx for over 25 years

The WitEx Competition gives law students at universities around New Zealand a unique opportunity to practise their advocacy skills in a friendly environment that resembles a real courtroom hearing.  The competition is fun, rewarding and a great training experience for aspiring courtroom lawyers.

The preliminary rounds and finals are held in the first half of each year, and we have proudly sponsored this competition for more than 25 years.

Find out more about the competition, important dates and who to contact below.  We would love you to sign up!

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About the competition

What can you expect and how can you prepare to be an outstanding competitor?

WitEx involves you acting as counsel in a mock court hearing before a judge. You will either appear as counsel for the prosecution/plaintiff or for the defence/defendant.  In each round, you will present an opening and closing address to the court and call one witness to prove your set of facts and support your case.

At the heart of WitEx is your direct examination and cross-examination of the witnesses.  Most competitors have never done this before and relish trying something new.  You will learn a lot from the experience.

You won’t need much preparation time as the problem question will be given to you 90 minutes before the hearing.  It helps to have a general understanding of the law of evidence – 20/100 marks are allocated to how you deal with evidence law.  The most important skills to demonstrate are an ability to get the information you need from a witness and to present compelling arguments.

Winners from each regional competition have the opportunity to travel to Australia midyear to compete against the winners from each Australian university at the ALSA Conference.

WitEx is a rare opportunity to get a taste of what life is like as an advocate working in a courtroom, while at University.  It is a competition that you take a lot away from; whether that be in the form of some meaningful and constructive feedback, or in making some great new friends.  There is no better way to learn than by getting up there on your feet and giving it a go!

John Whitcombe, Canterbury WitEx Runner Up (2017)

Important details and dates

 University:  2018 dates:  To enter contact:
 Auckland
Entries open  TBA
Prelims  28 May
Final  30 May
AUT
Entries open  TBA
Prelims  TBA
Final  9 May
Canterbury
Entries open  20 February
Prelims  5 March
Final  7 March
Otago
Entries open  TBA
Prelims  TBA
Final  26 March
Waikato
Entries open  23 March
Prelims  9 & 10 April
Final  12 April
Wellington
Entries open  TBA
Prelims  TBA
Final  9 May

Useful resources

2018 WitEx Competition winners

The partners and staff at MinterEllisonRuddWatts congratulate the winners of each regional university WitEx Competition for 2018:

University:   Winner: Runner-up:
University of Auckland TBC TBC
AUT University Tessa Whale Olivia Skelton
University of Canterbury Thomas Bagnall Matthew Morrissey
University of Otago Robert McDonald George Mander
Victoria University of Wellington Harrison Cunningham Raphael Solomon
University of Waikato Tayla Afoa Kasey Dillon

2017 WitEx Competition winners

The partners and staff at MinterEllisonRuddWatts congratulate the winners of each regional university WitEx Competition for 2017:

University:   Winner: Runner-up:
University of Auckland Diana Qiu Linda Lim
AUT University Steven Mutch Wendy Prior
University of Canterbury George Mander John Whitcombe
University of Otago Jamie Parkinson-Wisely James McArthur
Victoria University of Wellington Harrison Cunningham Raphael Solomon
University of Waikato Talia Powell Laurie McMasters