The Isaac Moot
The Julius Alexander Isaac Moot ("The Isaac") is a competitive, for-credit moot, held at the Ontario Court of Appeal. It is named after the late Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal, Julius Alexander Isaac, who was the first Black judge to sit on the Federal Court of Canada. Every year since 2008, the Moot has focused on an area of law in which issues of equity and diversity arise.
BLSA Canada first held what was then known as the Annual Koskie Minsky Diversity Moot Competition in 2008. In 2012, the Moot was named after the late Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal, Julius Alexander Isaac, the first Black judge to sit on the Federal Court of Canada.
Since its inception, the unilingual moot has focused on an area of law in which issues of equity and diversity arise, often incorporating elements of critical race theory into the problem. The Black Law Student Association of Canada administers the Julius Alexander Isaac Moot in collaboration with law firms, law schools and community organizations. BLSA Canada has partnered with Joshua Sealy-Harrington to write the Moot problem for the upcoming year.
Legal luminary Julius Alexander Isaac was the first Black person to sit on the Federal Court of Canada. Born in Grenada, Isaac came to Canada to study at the University of Toronto. He practiced law in Ontario and Saskatchewan and served as a Crown prosecutor before becoming the assistant deputy Attorney-General of Canada.
Joining the bench of the Supreme Court of Ontario in 1989, he was appointed to the post of Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada on December 23, 1991 by then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, making Isaac the first Black person to be named to the position.
An Order of Canada recipient and Grenada silver jubilee award winner, Isaac co-founded the Grenada Association of Toronto 44 years ago, served as co-chair of the James Johnston Chair in Black Studies at Dalhousie University and was a member of the Negro Citizenship Committee, the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, Black Artists in Action and the Caribbean Cultural Committee. Dalhousie University, the University of Windsor and the University of the West Indies also conferred honourary doctorates on him.
The Honourable Julius A. Isaac passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on July 16, 2011.
The final round of the Moot features a panel of sitting judges. In the past, the final round has been judged by justices from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal.
The first-place winner is invited to compete at the National Convention of the American National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition (TMMCC). The competitors in the TMMCC come from all across the US, and must win regional competitions before moving on to the main event.
The Isaac Moot is held at the Ontario Court of Appeal, which is located in historic Osgoode Hall in the heart of downtown Toronto. In addition to hosting ONCA, Osgoode Hall has a storied history in Canada's legal community since it was built in the late 1800's, and is Canadian National Historic Monument.
The Moot provides an excellent opportunity for networking with peers at other law schools, with practicing lawyers, and even judges. Further, it is an opportunity to show off your skills in front of lawyers from some of the best law firms in Canada.