This article is written by Karishma Ramchiary*, a 4th-year student of B.A. LL.B. from Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida. The article discusses the Insider insights of International Moots along with the requisite documentation & formalities.
There is no denial of the fact that participating in Moot Court Competitions is one important co-curricular activity for law students. As to what is Mooting and why should a student participates in it, you may look up to articles on the internet. I may refer you to the website of the University of Oxford that answers the question.
Mooting in India reflects competitive, individualistic and adversarial perspectives of the judicial side of law.1 Mooting culture in India that have been developed to a great extent. Every month at least two moot Court competitions happen in India. Students from Law Schools all over India prepare to participate in these competitions.
However, a National Moot Court Competition is in a way different from the International Moot Court Competition, right from the type of preparation to its presentation in front of the judge. Apart from the Memorial Drafting and Preparing for your oral arguments, International Moot Court Competition will require you to research the type of country you are visiting, raising funds to participate in case you are selected and several other important documentation such as passports and visas, etc. What goes on the preparation of the International Moot Court Competition is discussed in this article.
Subject Matter and Various Aspects of the International Moot Court Competition
International Moot Court Competitions are based on International Law. It is generally based on the specific branch of International Law or on a mixture of two or three branches of International Law. Some branches of International Law are International Criminal Law, International Environment Law, International Humanitarian Law, International Trade Law, etc.
The Moot Problem of the Competition is based on these topics or several issues connected with it. For example, International Criminal Court Moot Competition specifically deals with the International Criminal Law and the moot is organized yearly or Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition that specifically deals with International Environment law and is also organized yearly.
Each specific Moot Court Competition has its own rules and regulations. Therefore, any student interested in a particular Moot Competition should go through the Rules and Regulations before deciding to participate in it. It is also advisable to take inputs from other members of those who have participated in that competition before.
Mooting Competitions involve writing the memorandum and oral hearings based on the memorandum. Both writing the memorandum and oral hearings requires rigorous legal research and practice.
Cracking the Moot Problem of International Moot Court Competition need rigorous research and time. Therefore, moot teams in International Moot Competition are given three to six month for preparation, unlike National Moot Court Competitions which generally gives one to three months for preparation.
There are Moot Court Competitions based on International Law that are organized inside India. To mention some, 1) D.M Harish Memorial International Moot Court Competition, 2) Justice P.N. Bhagwati International Moot Court Competition, 3) NUALS International Maritime Law Arbitration Competition, 4) VIPS International Law Moot Court Competition, 5) NALSAR Public International Law Moot Court Competition.
Other International Law Moots generally involve National or Regional Rounds and International Rounds. Whereas, others involve the selection of memorials before participation in Oral Rounds, therefore, understanding the rules and regulations is important for every Moot Competition.
Top ten International Law Moot Court Competition
Phillips C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition
“The Jessup is one of those incredibly rare experiences that transcends law school and impacts your life for decades thereafter. It will undoubtedly provide you with the skills necessary to become a great lawyer, but it is the Jessup competition’s teaching of reason, civility, empathy, compromise and respect for others which will make you a better person and the world a better place.”- Mark Luz
I had the opportunity to participate in Jessups India’s Rounds- 2016 and I feel the above quotation fits perfectly with my Jessup experience. This Competition is known as the World Cup in Mooting.
It is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from roughly 700 law schools in 100 countries and jurisdictions.
An interesting fact about Jessups is that the topic of the Moot Problem is announced several months before (i.e., in the month of March- April) the actual moot problem is out. That makes it better to deal with the questions in the Moot Problem because you get to learn your basics beforehand. Participants may refer to the Guide to Philip Jessup Moot published by CIICJ for some guidance to prepare for this Competition.
Time Period of the moot
The Moot Problem releases by September and the Registration for the Moot ends by November.
To know more about this competition you can visit on its official web page.
Stetson International Environmental Competition
The World’s most prestigious moot on International Environmental Law Moot. This moot is organized by Stetson University, in India, it is sponsored by Surana & Surana International Attorneys and is hosted by Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, Haryana. The International Finals of this moot is held in Gulfport, Florida. A team from National Law School, Bangalore won this Competition last year.
Time Period of the moot
The registration for this moot ends in November. To know more about this Competition you can visit its official web page.
Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot
The goal of this moot is to foster the study of International Commercial Law and Arbitration for resolution of international business disputes through its application to a concrete problem of a client and to train law leaders of tomorrow in methods of alternative dispute resolution.
This moot specifically focuses on transactions that are related to the sale or purchase of goods under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods and other international commercial law involving the element of arbitration of dispute under specified Arbitration Rules.
It is organized by the Association for the Organization and Promotion of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Verein zur Veranstaltung und Förderung des Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot) and is held in Vienna. A sister moot competition of this moot is the Vis moot (East) which is a different moot competition based on the same problem and is held in Hong Kong.
There is no National Rounds for this moot, however, the organizers of this moot also encourage participation in pre-moots. The list of the pre-moots is provided on its official website. Several pre moots are organized by different countries to give the teams an opportunity to practice for the moot.
In India, this year’s pre-moot is organized by O.P. Jindal Global University, India on 29 February – 1 March 2020. Participating in this moot may open up scholarship opportunities from universities.
Time Period of the moot
The moot problem releases by October and the Registration for this moot ends by November- December. For more information on this moot, you can visit its official web page.
International Criminal Court Competition
This moot is a replica of the proceedings of the International Criminal Court. The moot problem is specifically based on fundamental issues of substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law. It is organized by the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies and is held annually in May at the Hague, the Netherlands. The final round is expected to take place in an actual ICC courtroom with ICC judges adjudicating. The national rounds for India is organized by the National Law University of Delhi.
Time Period of the Moot
The registration of the moot begins by September and ends by November. To know more about this moot you can visit its official web page.
Henry Dunant Memorial Moot Court Competition
This moot aims to promote awareness and understanding of International Humanitarian Law among the law students and the law faculties in India. It was started in the year 2001, by the Indian Society of International Law. In 2005, this moot was expanded by organizing a regional competition in South Asia. Nowadays, this moot is organized by the Indian Society of International Law in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Competition is held at ISIL, Delhi in the month of October- November.
Time Period of the moot.
The Moot Problem of this moot releases and the registration starts in the month of June-July. Keep yourself updated about the moot on its official website.
Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot
The Foreign Direct Investment Arbitration Moot is organized by the Centre for International Legal Studies. This moot focuses on international investment, the proliferation of international investment treaties, domestic legislation, and international investment contracts.
The dispute involves arbitration between host states and foreign investors and refers to internationalized procedures (e.g. ICSID) for resolving related disputes. The regional rounds of South Asia are held in New Delhi. The Regional Rounds of this moot involves writing a skeleton brief on the case provided, unlike other moots that require writing a memorial. The writing of the memorandum phase in this moot is for the International Rounds. Teams participating in this moot can also take part in several pre-moots.
The Time Period of the moot.
The moot problem releases in the month of February and the registration starts from January. To know more about this moot you can visit its official web page.
Price Media Law Moot Court Competition
The aim of this moot is to foster and cultivate the freedom of expression issues and the role of the media and information technologies in societies around the world. It is hosted by Bonavero Institute of Human Rights in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford. Last year, the South Asian Rounds of the Competition was hosted by the Centre for Communication Governance at the National Law University, Delhi.
The regional rounds involve qualification on the basis of Memorial before the oral hearings. This moot claims for being more than just a moot as the organizers also host and conducts workshop on current topics concerning international media law.
The Time Period of the moot.
The moot problem releases by the month of May and the registration of the moot ends by the month of July. To know more about this moot you can visit its official web page.
Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition
The Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition is the world moot on human rights. It is co-organized by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, the Academy on Human Rights, Washington College of Law, American University and the United Nations Human Rights Council Branch (HRCB) at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is held in Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The case of the Competition involves issues on current human rights- ranging from human rights and artificial intelligence, over terrorism and mercenaries, right to not discriminate against on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The winners of this Competition are offered to participate in a fully-funded three-week summer program at the University of Lucerne.
The participants of this moot shall submit heads of arguments on the case provided that would be assessed by the experts. Based on the assessment, Top 50 teams would be selected to participate in the oral hearings of the competition.
Time period of the moot
The moot problem releases in the month of February and the registration of the moot ends by the month of April. To know more about this moot you can visit its official web page.
Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition
This moot is based on International Space Law. It is organized by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). The moot offers a unique experience on issues related to international space law. The World Finals competition takes place within the framework of the IISL’s annual Colloquium, which is a contained event in the International Astronautical Congress held on a different continent each year.
The Asia-Pacific Regional Rounds of the Competition, this year shall be hosted by the Beijing Institute of Technology, China. Teams would be selected to compete in the oral Regional Rounds after the evaluation of their Written Submission.
Time Period of the moot.
The moot problem releases by the month of August and the registration ends by the month of January. To know more about this moot you can visit on its official website.
Leiden-Sarin Air Law Moot Court Competition
Teams interested in International Air Law should apply for this moot. This moot is organized by the International Institute of Air and Space Law of Leiden University and the co-founder of the competition, the Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation from India.
For this year, the organizers have collaborated with East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL), the Shanghai International Arbitration Center (SHIAC) and China Eastern. This year the moot will be held in Shanghai, China. The Indian Rounds of the competition will be held at the Army Institute of Law, Mohali on 1st February 2020.
The Time Period of the Moot
The moot problem releases in the month of September and the registration process of the moot ends by October. To know more on the Moot you can visit its official web page.
Challenges of International Moot Court Competition
While you prepare for your Competition, you may face several challenges. Problems such as the various things that need to be managed for the Competition and other related things required in this type of Competition are explained below. Handling such a competition is quite a balanced art. You will be required to do a lot of work right from administrative work (administration of the team) to research work for the competition.
Management during the Competition
In Moot Court Competition, the team will require to draft memorials and prepare for oral arguments. There are many sites that you may check on the internet on how to prepare for the Competition. You can communicate or may if so, with the past participants for their insight on the competition and the amount of work that the competition requires. It may clear your idea and help the team in planning for the competition.
While in the process of preparing for these, several things might come your way. Management of the competition with your team, your mentor or even with yourself is an important task.
With your Team
Generally teams comprised of three members or in some cases even more. As each individual different from the others, your working styles and techniques will vary. However, your goal is to draft one memorial from both sides as you will present your arguments as a team in the oral hearing. Therefore, realizing that only by working together, you will achieve the goal.
Communication with your team members clearly and efficiently on matters related to the process of the competition is important. Questions on how you will work towards your goal, Who will do which work? etc. needs to be discussed among the team members. Disputes are bound to arise while you work together. Settling the dispute or finding solutions to your problems amicably and logically is the only way to work forward.
With your Mentor
In International Moot Court Competitions, generally, a team is assigned with a mentor. The mentor may be anyone appointed by the College Administration. He/She may guide you in drafting memorials or in your preparation for oral hearings. Team members should maintain a cordial relationship as he/she will guide you throughout your work in the Competition. Mentors are restricted from drafting the memorial or in any case be directly involved in drafting the memorial. His/ Her role is to help and direct the team.
He/She is also the link between the team and the College Administration. The Team, therefore, should have efficient communication about the execution of their mooting work with the mentor, so that he/she can guide them in the best possible way.
Managing yourself and your own activities such as your course curriculum with the Moot Court Competition is another task. Sometimes, preparing for the Competition might take your whole day or week. The task is that you cannot leave behind your study and attach yourself only with the Competition, therefore you will have to dedicate your day both for your studies and Competition.
Another, Important thing for a law student is internships. Maintaining every aspect of your personal and professional life would be a real task to maintain. Therefore, to function, schedule your own task accordingly with the Competition.
With your exams
What will you do when the date of your exam and the day of the Competition collides?
Prevention is better than cure, therefore, it is most advisable that you don’t take up moot competition that is likely to clash with your exam dates or else you will have to choose between the two. It’s a tough decision because exams are important so that you do not leave behind in the course of your study.
And since you have worked hard on the competition, you might not want to leave it as well. While, in this situation, the team needs to be careful and analyze the situation at hand and decide on a consensus among the Team Members and the College Administration.
My team had faced such situations last year, where we got selected to participate in a competition to be held in Amsterdam. Our exam dates clashed with the day of the Competition. While the Competition was from 9-10th of May 2019, our semester exams started on the 11th of May, 2019. We decided to participate in the competition with the permission of the College Administration and not attend the first exam.
We resumed ourselves to attend the exam from the next one. From my experience, I can say that those were really hectic days.
In such situations, it is important to weigh both your exams and the moot and decide in the most logical way from where you will benefit your cause. ‘
Other Important Things for participating in the Competition
Participating in the Moot Court Competition is a unique experience where you can learn several skills right from legal research, memorial drafting, team management, time management, and several others. Your knowledge on the subject matter involved would broaden, you will able to identify contemporary issues as moot problems are generally based on new rising issues.
Raising Funds may be tough, but it is one of the things you may learn in your International Moot Court Competition because it requires a large sum of money. Money for Registration, Travel, and Accommodation. Organizers generally provide accommodation for the duration of the moot competition. Through this process, you will learn about fundraising and project management.
Teams may have to raise funds on their registration or travel fees especially flight tickets. Each specific Moot Competition has different funding rules. Any team should be clear about this issue before their decision to participate in the competition. Otherwise, it may be a huge obstacle in your way.
To deal with this issue, your first step should be to look up the rules of the Fundraise in that particular competition. In some cases, the organizers may fund or at least help you find a way to fund yourself while some organizers may not.
The second step of the fundraising issue would be to seek out help from the institution itself. Talk to your college administration and request them to fund you. They may help you with the issue. In circumstances when both steps do not meet your goal of fundraising, other steps that you can take would be to seek out help from organizations or corporations that might help you.
For example, if your moot is based on International Humanitarian Law, the team may seek out fund help from the International Committee of the Red Cross; Arbitralwomen provide support to teams who participate in dispute resolution competition. To get support from any organizations or corporations your application file needs to be strong that it gets accepted from them. If your application is good enough, you may be lucky to find support from the organizations or corporations. The team may also reach out to people who may support them through crowdfunding. You may create a post on crowdfunding websites such as Milaap or ImpactGuru or Ketto etc.
Passport, Visa, Travel Insurance & Accommodation
Another most important thing for the travel is having a passport and visa.
Getting your passport in your hand may sometimes take a long time, therefore you will need to apply for a passport at least 6 months before your Competition. You can apply for a passport in the Passport Seva Website. Take note that it is really a rigid process and it may be hard to get a passport faster.
Last year, I went through a hectic process to get my passport. I did not had a passport and I applied for just 6 months before my Competition (My team was selected to participate in the International Migration and Refugee Law Moot held at Amsterdam). I had to go to the Ghaziabad Passport Seva Kendra at least 3 times and at two Police Stations for Police Verification (You generally need to get it verified by one Police Station but in my case, since I am a student from a different State and applied passport on my Present Address, therefore, I had two verifications, one from Home and the other from the Present Address). This can take time and therefore apply for it as soon as possible if you are participating in an International Moot Court Competition.
Visa is another documentation that you need for your travel. It may also take time. Before applying for visa, check about the visa policies of the country you are visiting for your competition as you may need to apply for a visa beforehand in most countries while, some may have the policy of visa-in-arrival. Giving a visa is a decision of the embassy or consulate, you have no control over that decision.
Therefore, make sure that you make no mistakes while applying for it. Get all your documents needed for the visa application, for example, a letter from the organization, details about your accommodation, flight tickets, etc. Apply for it as early as possible.
Travel Insurance is necessary for the time period of your stay in another country. You will also need to submit travel insurance for your visa application. Some websites that you may visit for your international travel insurance are- i). Bajaj Allianz Travel Insurance, ii) Apollo Munich Travel Insurance, iii) ICICI Lombard Travel Insurance, etc.
Accommodation for the number of days you stay is another necessary thing. While organizers may accommodate you for the days of the competition. In case they do not or in case you extend your stay to explore the places around, you need to book your stay early. Who knows it may get high on your budget if you don’t?
When your Competition is over, you can ponder over questions on How was your experience? What did you learn? How will you go ahead? etc. Regardless of whether you win or lose, the competition, Mooting experience will leave you with a vast source of knowledge on the subject you mooted and several skills such as advocacy skills, public speaking skills, etc. that you gathered while participating in the Competition. Competing in a Moot Court Competition is both a personal and professional experience.
You will gain new experience meeting new people with diverse backgrounds and cultures. Mooting is also a platform where you can meet the experts of the field you are interested in, as “Academicians”, “Lawyers” and “Judges” are the ones who are called to judge in the Competition. Several International Moot Court Competition also has scholarship policies and programmes for higher studies. In such a manner, your experience can create opportunities for you.
So grab these opportunities while it lasts.
All the Best!!
* The author has participated in International Migration and Refugee Law Moot Court Competition 2019 and will participate in Jean Pictet Competition 2020. She has also participated in National Rounds of Jessups Moot Court Competition 2018 and FDI Moot 2017 and has written this article on the basis of her Mooting experience.
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