The following motion was passed at Student Council on Wednesday 8th November
That all participants at moots wear the same gown
Student Council Notes:
1. Currently all Faculty moots require gowns to be worn
2. There are several moots each term, all law students have to moot once during their degree
3. Some moots have a financial reward
4. Not all scholars' gowns are linked to academic achievement
5. Viva regulations were changed last year so that all have to wear the same gown
Student Council Believes:
1. The judges, sometimes from leading law firms and chambers, may have unconscious bias based on the gowns worn.
2.This, as was acknowledged during the viva debate can lead to disadvantages for all involved with those in a commoners' gown seen as less able but also the judges may expect more from those in a scholars' gown.
3. This is especially problematic since not all scholars gowns denote getting a distinction e.g. choral or music scholars
Student Council Resolves:
1. Petition the Law Faculty to change their policy on wearing gowns so all participants wear the same gown
Catherine Canning, VP Access and Academic Affairs said
‘At Oxford SU we will be taking forward the Student Council mandate to the law faculty in order to address the concerns students have raised in relation to gown disparity. As with viva examinations the fact that you are judged in person in moots means that the gown worn may have more significance or lead to unconscious bias. This issue should be distinguished from scholars gowns in written exams where examiners do not see the candidate, where student council in 1st week voted to keep them, which also reflected the views of students in the all student consultation in Trinity Term 2017’