The wizarding world of Harry Potter provided a magical backdrop as Brian Maher’s Constitutional Law class staged its first pre-mock trial of the semester today. The judges heard arguments from counsel representing Voldemort, the Ministry of Magic, the Hogwarts School, and others as the class explored issues of liability in the death of Cedric Diggory.
Cedric Diggory is a character in the Harry Potter series who plays a significant role in the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Cedric, a student at Hogwarts, is selected to compete in the Triwizard Tournament and ultimately meets his tragic end at the hands of Peter Pettigrew, who was acting on the orders of Lord Voldemort.
After an opening statement from The Estate of Cedric Diggory, each team of trial lawyers spoke about why their party should not be held liable in the death. In presenting their cases, the students had to consider a number of legal principles including assumption of risk, negligence, gross negligence, and premises liability.
The judges (teachers Brian Maher, Laura Kirschenbaum, and Zach Mazouat) asked questions of the lawyers before deliberating and presenting their verdict, which found the Ministry of Magic 100 percent liable for the death.
“The court's rationale behind the verdict was that although Hogwarts' campus was the site and venue of the competition, and that Hogwarts did owe a duty of care to its students to provide a safe environment for the their participation in the Triwizard Cup, it was the Ministries that ran the competition itself and were the ones that had the complete resources and ability to protect all participants, including the school, from any outside harms inflicted by the dark wizarding world,” wrote the Honorable Judge Maher. “It should further be noted that the Ministries had been made aware of the re-emergence of the Dark Lord on numerous occasions prior to the competition, and failed to act or heed to the warnings. Not to mention there were red flags raised throughout the competition from the very beginning, and the Ministries never provided additional personnel or resources to protect Hogwarts or the safety of the students.”
Great job by all of the students who presented today — Bridget Ewing ’24, Christopher Hauk ’24, Antonella Ortega ’24, Barra Shiffman ’24, Annabel Simon ’24, Marissa Spiteri ’24, Grayson Strauss ’24, Brendan Tartaglione ’24, Jonah Tinkelman ’24, Abigail Van Cleef ’24, and Jacqlyn Velikiy ’24.