Regent University School of Law Ranked No. 6 for Best Moot Court Program

Regent's Moot Court Team.
Photo courtesy of Michael Hernandez.
Regent University's School of Law has been ranked as the nation's sixth best Moot Court program out of all American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools in the United States by the University of Houston Law Center's annual report.

Regent is ranked among schools such as George Washington School of Law, Columbia Law School, and Cornell University Law School.

On Saturday, March 8, law students Renee Knudsen '16, Palmer Horst '16 and Marie Dienhart '16 did their part, becoming one of four groups from of 191 competing teams to advance from the regional round of the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition in St. Louis, Missouri. The team also took home the third-best brief award.

Veteran moot court and School of Law professor Michael Hernandez coached the team.

"It's gratifying to see talented students reach their potential and represent Regent with excellence," said Hernandez. "Students who compete at moot court work very hard and it's a blessing to see that hard work rewarded."

Hernandez explained the vitality of these competitions for training future litigators to prepare for communicating well under pressure.

"Many employers look at moot court accomplishments as an important marker of success and ability," said Hernandez. "The experience students gain researching, writing and arguing complex legal issues are unsurpassed in law school. The skills they develop prepare them well for the practice of law, particularly in all forms of litigation."

The team will continue their arguments at the national round of the competition in Chicago during the month of April.

Learn more about Regent University School of Law.

By Brett Wilson | March 12, 2015

Regent University School of Law Hosts the Fourth-Annual Global Justice Symposium

Benjamin Nolot.
Just a few weeks ago, box offices around the globe hit shattering records with the release of a blockbuster film celebrating sex as a form of submission and entertainment.

But on Saturday, Feb. 21, Regent University's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law along with the Regent Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy, hosted the fourth annual Global Justice Symposium: Human Rights and the Sexualization of Culture.

The symposium featured panel discussions of leading experts who delved into the hyper-sexualized topics of the foundation of human rights; areas where there are certainly more than fifty shades of grey.

"It was incredibly relevant and timely content for the world today," said Ernie Walton '11 (School of Law), administrative director for the Center for Global Justice. "The world is talking about these issues, but not in the right way."

Walton explained that though these topics — such as pedophilia, and sexual slavery — are oftentimes taboo in the Christian sect, that shouldn't prohibit those with a biblical worldview from engaging in these important discussions.

"As soon as you change your sexual ethic and you have an 'anything goes' attitude toward sexuality, you don't know where the line is," said Walton. "We have to look at these issues from God's perspective."

Three panels explored topics in human rights: the sex as a business panel was led by Scott Alleman, assistant Commonwealth's attorney at the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office; and Laila Mickelwait, manager of Policy and Public Affairs for Exodus Cry.

The foundation of human rights panel was led by Matthew Franck, director of the Willam E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution; and Jeffery Ventrella, senior counsel/senior vice-president of strategic training for the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Finally, the children as property discussion was led by Naomi Cahn, professor at George Washington University Law School; Jim Dwyer, professor at William & Mary School of Law; Arina Grossu, director for the Center on Human Dignity; and Lynne Marie Kohm, professor at Regent's School of Law.

The highlight for Walton, however, was learning that all is not lost in the battle of sex-trafficking from speaker Benjamin Nolot, founder and president of Exodus Cry. Nolot's anti-trafficking organization is dedicated to abolishing modern-day slavery and assisting survivors through their acclimation to life after being rescued.

"My primary goal is about the students," said Walton. "As they sit there and listen to the same topics but from different speakers, they're able to think about these issues critically. We want them to realize our worldview and how we look at these issues matter. It's all interconnected."

The discussions brought forth from the panel illustrated that though there is still major work to be done in these fields, there's hope for the future.

"There is a lot of legal work to be done, but first and foremost the battles we face regarding sex in today's culture are spiritual battles," said Walton. "Certainly something that everyone can do is to start praying to create long-term change."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

By Brett Wilson | February 25, 2015

Regent University Students Win Second Place at GW Religious Freedom Competition

 Regent Moot Court Team at the GW School
 of Law Religious Freedom Moot Court
 competition.
 Photo courtesy of Tessa Dysart.
Regent University School of Law teams are continuing their victorious arguing streaks at various competitions in the United States.

Earlier in February, two Regent Law Moot Court teams competed at the George Washington School of Law Religious Freedom Moot Court competition. Out of the 28 teams competing, both of Regent's School of Law teams continued to the semi-final rounds.

"I am very proud of both teams; the students put in an incredible amount of work to prepare for the competition," said Tessa Dysart, associate professor in the School of Law. "Clearly their hard work paid off."

Regent has entered this competition for three years running, earning several prestigious accolades along the way. This year, Danielle Bianculli '15, Paul Shakeshaft '15 and Josh Gamboa '16 represented "team one" while Sherilyn Baxter '16, Michael Aiello '16 and Matthew Dunckley '16 comprised "team two."

Shakeshaft was awarded the title of Best Oralist throughout the competition. Amy Vitale '12 (LAW) assisted with coaching the two teams.

And this is only the beginning of successful law student teams. Students in the School of Law also performed well at the Texas Young Lawyers association regional tournament in Washington, D.C., arguing their way to the semi-finals of the tournament.

Law students Kathryn Heyer '14, Leigh Budwell '14 and Joy Degenhart '15 attended the competition along with James Metcalfe, adjunct faculty in the School of Law.

Learn more about Regent University School of Law.

By Brett Wilson | February 24, 2015

Global Symposium to Open at Regent University Feb. 21

Fourth Annual Global Symposium
Inoculation occurs when an immunization enters the bloodstream. The heart pulses the antidote, fortifying the body against the disease.

What's true in today's medical culture also holds true in the current climate of sex in the media: Viewers bombarded with explicit images are less troubled by them.

Regent University's School of Law will explore this phenomenon in the context of Human Rights and the Sexualization of Culture during the fourth annual Global Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law symposium on Saturday, Feb. 21.

The event will explore the growing desensitization of sexual autonomy in today's culture, particularly regarding sex as a business and children as property.

"This symposium is important, because it calls forth discussion of topics that are at the forefront of culture but that many Christians are unwilling to talk about," said Ernie Walton, director of Regent's Center for Global Justice. "As Christians, we must be leaders in talking about difficult issues, bringing Christ and His truth to bear on all things."

The symposium will comprise three panels; the foundation of human rights, sex as business and children as property.

Several subject-matter experts will preside over the panels, including Arina Grossu, director of the Center for Human Dignity of the Family Research Council; Laila Mickelwait, manager of policy and public affairs for Exodus Cry; Scott Alleman, assistant Commonwealth's attorney; and Jeff Ventrella, senior counsel/senior vice-president of Strategic Training Alliance Defending Freedom.

Benjamin Nolot, founder and president of Exodus Cry, will share his perspective on human rights and the sexualization of culture during a special banquet event at the Founders Inn and Spa following the symposium.

Registration for the event is free and open to the community. Fees apply to attendees participating in the luncheon and banquet portions of the event.

Learn more about Regent University School of Law and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.

By Brett Wilson | January 29, 2015

Regent University Professor Elected to Virginia Bar Association Pro Bono Council


Michael Hernandez
This January, the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) announced the election of Regent University School of Law professor, Michael Hernandez, into the Inaugural Pro Bono Council.

The council will advance its efforts to provide voluntary legal aid to those in the Commonwealth of Virginia who are unable to afford it.

"A lot of times lawyers will agree to take a certain number of cases where they don't charge for it," said Hernandez. "You're essentially donating your time."

Among the council, Hernandez is the only representative who is a professor of law. As a result, he intends to concentrate his efforts as a member of the council to gain broader student participation in pro-bono work.

"I'll be more intentional about it," said Hernandez. "Mainly, I'll encourage third-year law students to get their practicing certificate and do some of it themselves."

Hernandez explained that Christ's mission to "care for the least of these" applies to protecting less-fortunate citizens in the court of law.

"That's essential for a Christian institution when it comes to serving Jesus," said Hernandez. "If we have the ability to assist them, we need to use that ability to further the common good."

In the future, Hernandez hopes to see his students become even more service-oriented when it comes to sharing their abilities and resources.

"It's a classic win-win scenario: Students will get experience by aiding the community," said Hernandez. "But they'll also have the general blessing of serving others, too."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Law.

By Brett Wilson | January 28, 2015

JGJPP - The Effect of South Africa’s Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation on the International Trafficking of Children



            The South African Bill of Rights[1]is foundational[2]in South African democracy, and clearly states, “No one may be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labour.”[3] The Bill of Rights also includes a special provision for children that includes, “Every child has the right . . . (f) not to be required or permitted to perform work or provide services that ­— (i) are inappropriate for a person of that child's age; or (ii) place at risk the child's well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development.”[4]The South African Constitution and Bill of Rights were adopted in 1996, thus making South Africa a relatively young democracy. Therefore, many of South Africa’s challenges are found in the tension between traditional customs and new law.
            In the United States Department of State’s 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report, South Africa is listed as a Tier 2[5]country, and thus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.[6]However, in July 2013, South Africa’s President signed into law the 2013 Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act (the Act).[7]Before the Act[8], “South Africa [did] not have a legal definition of human trafficking, either in the common law or in statute.”[9]
            “The absence of legislation specific to human trafficking limit[ed] prosecutors to dealing only with the perpetrator directly linked to the offences resulting from the trafficking of the victim, to the exclusion of the perpetrators behind the scenes, as this is often an organised crime activity.”[10]Furthermore, prosecutors had to rely on statutory[11] and common law[12]offenses, “which [did] not individually attract necessarily as heavy sentences as a specific trafficking in persons offence . . . impose[d].”[13]It is important to note that before the Act was implemented, the South African legislature did amend acts to include some coverage of human trafficking issues,[14]and created a ‘strategy’ to approach the issue.[15]
A.        Prosecution Examples of Traffickers
            Thus far, the government’s prosecutions have been “low-level cases,” and not “larger, international syndicates involving Nigerian, Russian, Bulgarian, Chinese, and Thai traffickers who dominate the sex trade in several South African cities.”[16] There have only been three trafficking convictions in the country’s history, one of which was overturned on appeal.[17]“The March 2010 Thai sex trafficking convictions were overturned on appeal because the court translator who was fearful for her safety had covered her face during the proceedings.”[18]
            Before the Act, trafficking prosecutions were often brought under the Sexual Offenses Act (SOA) or the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 (BCEA) which prohibits forced labor.[19]The Prevention of Organized Crime Act of 1998 was also used in combination with the SOA to add additional charges, “including money laundering, racketeering, and criminal gang activity[,]” and harsher penalties.[20]            
            The first child trafficking conviction occurred in 2008 in the Gauteng province.[21]  Aldina dos Santos “was charged under the Child Care Act for exposing a child to abuse,”[22] and was sentenced to life in prison in 2011.[23]Dos Santos trafficked three girls between the ages of fourteen- and seventeen-years-old from Mozambique, and ran a brothel in Moreleta Park where the girls were used as sex slaves.[24]
            In 2012, the Grahamstown High Court convicted a sex trafficker and sentenced him to ten years imprisonment for “procuring an 11-year old girl for an Eastern Cape man” [25] This case is another example of a statutory conviction, convicting the defendant of conspiracy under the Sexual Offenses Act.[26] The prosecution of a Mozambican woman and a South African businessman for the sex trafficking of five Mozambican girls was initiated in February 2013 in the Sabie Magistrate's Court.[27]
             With the Act in place, there should be more successful prosecutions of traffickers in the future.  In addition to clearly making trafficking in persons a criminal offense, the Act also created offenses such as “debt bondage; the possession, destruction, concealment of and tampering with travel documents; and using the services of victims of trafficking . . . .”[28] Notably, the Act outlines a procedure to avoid the prosecution of a trafficking victim for an offense “committed as a direct result of the person’s position as a victim of trafficking.”[29]The Act provides a legal framework to prevent trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and protect trafficking victims.
B.        Challenges in Law Enforcement   
            South Africa’s government faces the obstacles of collusion and a lack of intervention by the law enforcement sector.
            Research studies show police collusion “range from receiving money from the gang leader to having sex with the children . . . .”[30]According to Niole Fick, a Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) researcher, “[o]ur experience indicates that the highest levels of violence against sex workers come from the police and law enforcement sectors.”[31]Furthermore, SWEAT reports that “[t]hirty percent of sex workers who have made statements to SWEAT have been forced to have sex with police officers.”[32]
            There have also been reports of police involvement in child trafficking.[33] In 2010, Media 24 uncovered a trafficking ring that trafficked young girls between Mozambique and South Africa.[34] The girls were easily smuggled across the Lebombo border by “'friendly policemen.'”[35]Project Tsireledzani[36]indicates that the Lebombo border is not the only ‘friendly’ border, as children without proper documentation are allowed to cross the Bloemfontein/Maseru border with Lesotho if the child is accompanied by an adult.[37]It is also common for children to be brought into South Africa without documentation after “an adult . . . [came] into South Africa and register[ed] several children under his guardianship” with the help of collusion within government agencies.[38]
            Specific to the trafficking of children, “[a] police official to whom a report has been made . . .” is mandated by the Act to “deal with that child in terms of section 110(4)[39]of the Children’s Act . . . .”[40]Naturally, whether the police official fulfills his or her Act-mandated duties affects the prosecution of traffickers, and also the ability of supporting agencies to fulfill their duties. For example, the provincial department of social development is mandated to, “without delay, in the prescribed manner, assess whether the child . . . is a victim of trafficking, after taking into account the prescribed information obtained from the South African Police Service.”[41]Police intervention is thus crucial in the ability of supporting agencies to fulfill their duties. Therefore, effectiveness of the anti-human trafficking laws depends on the functionality of law enforcement authorities. Collusion within law enforcement authorities is impeding South Africa’s progress in providing children adequate protection from traffickers.




[1]S. Afr. Const., 1996, ch. 2.
[2] “This Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.” Id. § 7(1).
[3] Id. § 13.
[4] Id.§ 28.
[5] Tier 2 countries are “[c]ountries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s [Trafficking Victims Protection Act] minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.” Tier Placements, U.S. Dep’t of State,http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/210548.htm (last visited Nov. 11, 2014).
[6]  The Department of State “evaluates whether the government[s] fully compl[y] with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.” The Department also “considers whether their governments [have] made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.” Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment, U.S. Dep’t of State(Feb. 20, 2014), http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/reports/2014/221821.htm.
[7] Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013 (S. Afr.), available at http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/2013-007.pdf (last visited Nov. 11, 2014).
[8] “Technically, human trafficking in South Africa is not illegal because SA does not currently have a legal definition of human trafficking. . . . This does not mean that the traffickers cannot be prosecuted . . . . prosecutors . . . apply the existing legal framework. . . .” Frequently asked Questions, tsireledzani, http://www.tsireledzani.gov.za/Content.aspx?id=94 (last visited Sept. 5, 2014). 
[9]Human Trafficking Strategy, S. Afr. Gov’t Online, http://www.gov.za/aboutgovt/programmes/humantrafficking/strategy.htm (last visited Nov. 11, 2014) [hereinafter Human Trafficking Strategy]. The Act defines “[t]rafficking in persons” as
4. (1) Any person who delivers, recruits, transports, transfers, harbours, sells, exchanges, leases or receives another person within or across the borders of the Republic, by means of — (a) a threat of harm; (b) the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion; (c) the abuse of vulnerability; (d) fraud; (e) deception; (f) abduction; (g) kidnapping; (h) the abuse of power; (i) the direct or indirect giving or receiving of payments or benefits to obtain the consent of a person having control or authority over another person; or (j) the direct or indirect giving or receiving of payments, compensation, rewards, benefits or any other advantage, aimed at either the person or an immediate family member of that person or any other person in close relationship to that person, for the purpose of any form or manner of exploitation, is guilty of the offence of trafficking in persons.
Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013 § 4(1) (S. Afr.).
[10] Human Trafficking Strategy, supra note 9.
[11] "Statutory offences are provided for in the Sexual Offences Act, the Riotous Assemblies Act, the Immigration Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Intimidation Act, the Domestic Violence Act and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act." S. Afr. Law Reform Comm’n: Project 131 Trafficking in Persons 12 (Aug. 2008) (footnotes omitted).
[12] Under the common law, a person can be charged with kidnapping, common assault, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, attempted murder and murder, extortion, and slavery. Id. at 12–13.
[13] DN Swart, Problems Surrounding the Combating of Women and Child Trafficking in Southern and South Africa, 12(1) Child Abuse Res.: S. Afr. J. 26, 26 (2011).
[14] These additions include: Chapter 18 of the Children's Act [Children's Act 38 of 2005 §§ 281–291]; Section 50(A) of the Child Care Act [Child Care Act 74 of 1983 § 50(A) (S. Afr.)], and Chapter 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill [Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill, 2003, Bill 50-2003]. U.N.E.S.C.O., Policy PaperNo. 14.5(E): Human Trafficking in South Africa: Root Causes and Recommendations, at 45–48, U.N.E.S.C.O. Doc. SHS/CCT/2007/PI/H/6, (2007).
[15] The government created a “Human Trafficking Desk within the Organised Crime Unit at the South African Police Service (SAPS).” Human Trafficking Strategy, supranote 9. Also, “[t]he presidential mandate of the SOCA [Sexual Offences and Community Affairs] Unit is to deal efficiently and effectively with sexual offences,” and as such, SOCA has been tasked with the “[e]stablishment of an inter-sectoral Task Team to commence a process of coordination and refinement of activities towards the development of a multi-sectoral and comprehensive strategy.” Id.  The following departments and agencies comprise the Task Team: SAPS (the Human Trafficking Desk, Organised Crime Unit; Ports of Entry Policing); Department of Justice & Constitutional Development (Legislative Directorate); Department of Home Affairs (International Affairs); International Organisation for Migration; Department of Social Development; Department of Labour; Molo Songololo; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “The Task Team identified six pillars of a national strategy to effectively address trafficking in persons, as an instance of organised crime: Information, Capacity-Building & Development, Victim Assistance & Integration, Policy & Legislation Development, Liaison & Consultation as well as Monitoring & Evaluation.” Id.
[16] U.S. Dep’t of State, Trafficking in Persons Report,335 (2013) [hereinafter Trafficking in Persons Report], available athttp://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/index.htm (last visited Nov. 30, 2014).
[17] Id.at 334–35.
[18] Id. at 335.
[19] See id. at 334.
[20] Id.
[21] Stop Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People, Ecpat,http://www.ecpat.net/sites/default/files/Factsheet_South_Africa.pdf (last visited Nov. 30, 2014). Moreleta Park is located in the Gauteng province.
[22] Id.
[23] Human Trafficker Gets Life Sentence, News24(July 20, 2011, 2:29 PM), http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Human-trafficker-gets-life-sentence-20110720.
[24] Id.
[25] Trafficking in Persons Report, supra note 16, at 335.
[26] Id.
[27] Id.
[28] Anti-Trafficking Bill Signed into Law in South Africa, Int'l Org. for Migration (Aug. 6, 2013), http://www.iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home/news-and-views/press-briefing-notes/pbn-2013/pbn-listing/anti-trafficking-bill-signed-int.html.
[29] Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013 § 22(1) (S. Afr.), available at www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/2013-007.pdf (last visited Nov. 11, 2014).
[30] Molo Songololo, The Trafficking of Children for Purposes of Sexual Exploitation – South Africa 59 (2000), available at http://issuu.com/molosongololo/docs/the-trafficking-of-children-for-the-purpose-of-sex?e=2837260/2661184.
[31] Swart, supra note 13, at 31.
[32] Id.
[33] Id.
[34] Id.
[35] Id.
[36] “[A] research project commissioned by the National Prosecuting Authority of South
Africa and by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa on the dimensions of
human trafficking in Southern Africa.” Id.
[37] Id. at 32.
[38] Id.
[39]          A police official to whom a report has been made . . . or who becomes aware of a child in need of care and protection must—(a) ensure the safety and well-being of the child concerned if the child’s safety or well-being is at risk; and (b) within 24 hours notify the provincial department of social development or a designated child protection organisation of the report and any steps that have been taken with regard to the child.

Children's Amendment Act 41 of 2007 § 110(4) (S. Afr), available at http://web.up.ac.za/sitefile/43ChildrenAmendment41.pdf (last visited Sept. 12, 2014).
[40] Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013 § 18(4)(b) (S. Afr.), available at www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/2013-007.pdf (last visited Sept. 12, 2014).
[41] Id. § 18(6).

Regent Law Secures Victory at 12th Annual Statewide Legal Food Frenzy for Third Year Running

Regent University School of Law students, faculty,  and staff contributed to the 1.5 million pounds of food collected by the local legal com...