Bristol law students Charlie Coventry and Simon Gibb have beaten 46 of their peers to win the Hunt Cup Final - an intense 16-week debating competition held at Bristol University.
Re-established by commercial law firm Beachcroft Wansbroughs in 2004, the competition was founded by Beachcroft partner, Lord Hunt of Wirral who won the British Debating Championship for the Observer Mace in 1964-65 and is now Chairman of the English Speaking Union (ESU). Lord Hunt presented the prizes to the winners at a ceremony held at the University after the final.
The final saw four students - two proposition speakers and two opposition speakers - debate the motion 'This House believes that the House of Lords should be abolished'. Perhaps surprisingly, given the ages of the participants, the motion was roundly defeated in a robust session which demonstrated that formal debating is still alive and well in Bristol.
Ultimately, Charlie and Simon's forensic communication skills won the day, with Charlie convincing the judges that he was the overall winner and Simon taking the runner up prize. The Hunt Cup will be engraved and retained by Charlie for a year.
"In spite of the nature of the motion, I was able to remain impartial when judging the competitors," said Lord Hunt. "The quality of the debating was excellent from all four finalists, so it was a close call. In fact, we were so impressed that we have offered all of the finalists work experience at Beachcroft Wansbroughs.
"The Hunt Cup is an excellent way of testing the skills of our future lawyers and helps us to build upon the strong links we have with the university here in Bristol."
Lord Hunt is Chairman of the Financial Services Division of Beachcroft Wansbroughs and gave the cup to Bristol University 40 years ago. After winning the British Debating Competition he went on to represent British Universities on a debating tour of America.
Lord Hunt has used his debating skills extensively in politics taking on, and defeating, Enoch Powell in the 1970s, and most recently, had success in the House of Lords debating amendments proposed by him to the Compensation Bill.
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Notes to Editors:
Beachcroft Wansbroughs is one of the largest national commercial law firms in the UK. With over 1,300 employees, it provides legal advice and litigation services from seven locations in the UK (London, Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels, Leeds, Manchester, Winchester) and also in Brussels. From routine insurance claims management to 'trusted adviser' work for major national and international organisations, the firms delivers integrated legal services to clients in four main industry groups: health and public sector; real estate and construction; financial services (including the insurance industry); and technology, media and telecommunications.
Chambers UK 2005 recognised 56 Beachcroft Wansbroughs partners as leading lawyers, taking the firm into the top 20 of all UK law firms; the firm received 20 new entries in Legal 500 2005, a guide to the top 500 lawyers in the UK; in Legal Week's client satisfaction survey, the firm came second amongst all law firms in the UK; and Beachcroft Wansbroughs is one of the largest law firms in the country to obtain the 'Investors in People' award across all of its offices.
On 1 May 2006, Beachcroft Wansbroughs will become Beachcroft LLP, a move towards greater transparency and commercialisation of the firm. For further information, please visit: http://www.bwlaw.co.uk.