Auckland law students represented New Zealand at the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington in April. The team won all four of their moots in the preliminary rounds in Washington, including their moots against the high-ranking Paris Institute of Political Studies, the University of Oxford, and teams from Macau and Kuwait.
The Auckland team, comprising Nupur Upadhyay, Jeremy Wilson, Gretta Schumacher and Tim Condor (who did not travel with the team), was ranked third out of the 32 teams to go forward to the elimination rounds midway through their week in Washington, from among teams from more than 600 law schools in about 90 countries – making this the largest mooting competition in the world.
The team lost its run-off moot with China’s University of Wuhan in the elimination round, knocking it out of the competition, in which the Auckland Law School has represented New Zealand for five of the last six years. In the final results, the Auckland team was ranked in the top 10 for its written submissions, and all three orallists were placed in the top 100.
Coaches, Associate Professor Caroline Foster (International Law) and Isaac Hikaka (Advocacy) travelled with the team. “They performed very well in the competition and did credit to New Zealand,” Caroline says. “It was a pleasure to work with them and their teamwork was excellent – they have shown that New Zealand can hold its own on the world stage in this highly competitive competition.”
The team’s preparation was also assisted by Mark Tushingham and Benedict Tompkins, both successful participants from the 2012 Auckland team.
This year’s Jessup problem concerned the conflict between maritime development and conservation, criminal jurisdiction and maritime salvage rights. Teams first prepared written submissions, just as States do in the real International Court of Justice. These were graded and the points taken into account in working out whether they should win each of their moots in the various rounds in which they participated in Washington. The memorials were written and honed over December and the summer break to meet the January deadline, after which the team put in several months’ preparation for the oral rounds, which were the focus during the week in Washington.
“The team’s memorials were ranked highly, demonstrating that they were good on paper, as well as in person,” Caroline notes.
She says highlights of the competition included the very grand opening ceremony with a parade of nations and the Go-National costume ball, where the New Zealand team (including coaches) dressed as characters from the Lord of the Rings.
The Jessup Moot was won by the University of Queensland, bringing the final award to our corner of the world.
The team is very grateful for the New Zealand Law Foundation’s ongoing support enabling New Zealand’s participation in the Jessup moot, and for the contribution made by the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law. The team members also thank all members of the Faculty, the Bench, the profession, colleagues from other universities, and lawyers from government departments who helped and gave advice to the team in Auckland and Wellington during its rigorous training programme. They would also like to acknowledge the role of the International Law Students Association, responsible for organising the competition, and White and Case LLP, official sponsor of the White & Case Jessup International Rounds.