The University of Oxford's team had great success at the UK national round of the Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court, which took place from February 16th to 19th at Gray's Inn. The Jessup is a public international law moot court competition in which more than 500 universities participate world-wide. Oxford competed against fifteen other universities for the right to represent the United Kingdom at the international rounds in Washington, DC, which will take place from March 25th to April 1st.
After putting in a very strong performance in the preliminary rounds, Oxford earned a coveted spot in the elimination rounds. Having vanquished University College London and the University of Nottingham in the quarter-final and semi-final rounds, Oxford moved on to the Grand Final, in which it faced off against the London School of Economics.
Sadly, Oxford lost to LSE by a very narrow margin. The narrowness of this margin was reflected in the fact that Scott Tan (Queen's) was named Best Speaker in the final round, ahead of both members of the LSE team.
In addition to its success in the oral rounds, Oxford further distinguished itself by the excellence of its written pleadings. The team was awarded the prize for Best Memorial by the Respondent.
This year's team is composed of five second-year undergraduate law students: Leonie Amarasekara (Exeter), Oliver Capehorn (Jesus), Jamie Pang (Lincoln), Elton Tan (Exeter) and Scott Tan (Queen's).
The team's coach, Erik Labelle-Eastaugh (Keble), paid tribute to the students' hard work and dedication, noting that the team's success is a testament both to their oral advocacy skills and their ability to prepare sophisticated and thoroughly-researched written briefs dealing with highly complex legal questions. Special thanks must go to all members of the Faculty who supported the team.
As the UK runners-up, Oxford has now qualified for the international rounds in Washington DC, where it will compete for the Jessup World Championship.
The Jessup competition was established 51 years ago and is run by the International Law Students' Association. The case typically involves complex issues of public international law and calls on students to master a problem (known as the 'Compromis') in excess of thirty pages. This year's problem raises questions relating to the recognition of governments, the legality of the use of force, the doctrine of state immunity, and the protection of cultural property in times of armed conflict.